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Grow! by Paul Martin

Paul Martin's Articles

Advocace’s Motivation for Working with Christian Nonprofits

God has given me this great vision: Help Christian ministries and nonprofits reach their vision and take forward the Gospel. There could be no better way to spend my days than fulfilling this purpose.

Our team at Advocace shares this vision. We work with leaders of nonprofit organizations to ensure that more homeless people have a bed at night, more men and women receive education and grow into Christian leaders, and more families come to a point of reconciliation with one another.


From rescue missions to Christian universities, seminaries and K-12 schools to missions organizations and radio stations, my desire revolves around seeing these Christian ministries and nonprofits make much of Christ.

Maybe you have a vision that you would like to take to the next level. It would be my pleasure to talk with you about that—just give me a call or send me an email here.

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What High-Performing Stations Do That Others Don’t

Both the Station Manager, Jake and the Chairman of the Board, Micah wanted to do what was best for the radio station. But, when I spoke with them privately, the chasm between how the two individuals viewed the station’s success became clear. “My board just doesn’t understand radio,” Jake said as he began to justify his disobedience to their directives. “Why does Jake always bring money problems to the board?” Micah exclaimed as he started to justify replacing Jake with somebody else. The board, composed mostly of local business people and a pastor, understood economics. Jake understood programming and operations, but he could not articulate the economics of the radio station in a way the business people could understand. Unless the board and the manager started connecting on common business and organization issues, the board would likely disconnect the Jake from the radio station. Jake and the Economics of Christian Radio When Jake saw The Listener-Supported Radio Development Outlook, he quickly deeme ...

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Leaders Give You a Personal Vision

Tom Durfey (lower left), ORU campus radio  faculty advisor gave vision to his students that continues to impact lives 35 years later. Pictured also, Joe Miller (K-Love/EMF Broadcasting), Tim McDermott ( KSBJ/Houston) & Paul Martin (Advocace). Dr. Tom Durfey gave his students—including myself—a vision of the impact they could make. Tom owned a radio station but sold this thriving business to become a college professor at Oral Roberts University. As a hands-on business owner, his experiences were meaningful, memorable and motivational. You’ll see what I mean if you read to the end. Like all strong leaders, Tom gave me experience through his stories. Those experiences gave me direction as I encountered similar situations in the professional world. Leader’s Experience Became My Experience Tom once told a retailer to give the radio station the same budget given to the local newspaper. (The retailer placed expensive, weekl ...

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Three Steps to Prosperous Partnership Planning

For months, the couple looked forward to their first trip to New York City. They wanted to see two Broadway shows, a Yankees game, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. While they prepared for their visit, the couple discovered other destinations they desired to visit: The Met, The Cloisters and other museums. With their limited amount of time the couple had to take a few moments each morning to plan their daily activities. They wanted to save time (and money) by visiting places that were close together. When the couple returned from their trip, they had stories and experiences that they told throughout their life. The couple planned to have stories for a lifetime—and they succeeded. Stories of God’s Provision Success with major gifts begins with a simple three-step written plan. 1. Desired Outcome. Simply fill in the blank saying what you desire for the end of your campaign: “God has provided enough so we may ___________________.” 2. Financial Goals. Determine the amount and the date ...

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There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues?

Three ways to grow ministry income this summer Nonprofit fundraisers often agree with country artist Alan Jackson, legendary rockers The Who, The Beach Boys, and Blue Cheer. They all wail: There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues But there’s no cure needed—just a good summertime plan. Double the Time. Double Your Fun. I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler About a workin' all summer just to try to earn a dollar Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart wrote Summertime Blues and Cochran first released the song in 1958 when it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The songwriting duo could have easily wrote these lyrics about fundraising. Summer can take all the fun from fundraising—except for those who plan for persistence. Put simply, without persistence summer fundraising fails. When you plan your summer fundraising schedule, allow for all major donor or business development appointments to take twice as long to set. Still make the appointments—just allow a little extra time. Be e ...

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The Pain in Setting Goals

I’ll confess something to you: I have had a real problem with goals for a long time. I used to be gung-ho with goals—for years, I wrote them and I reviewed them almost every day. I can even point back to significant milestones in life were brought to reality because I prayed through goal-setting and goal-achieving every day. Reality, Aspirations and Goals But when our oldest daughter, Beth, was born, goals became so much harder to set.  Those of us with kids understand the disappointments of decisions and the powerlessness we feel.  Perhaps you are like me that before the child is born you have great aspirations for the girl’s (or boy’s) life.  Maybe she will be a physician who helps heal sick people.  Maybe she will be a great judge who settles matters in a wise and noble way.  Maybe she will carry the gospel to people who have never heard. These aspirations came into direct conflict with the reality of Beth’s birth—she was born without frontal lobes in her brain and is multiply ...

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Managing in Front of an Audience of 42,000 Screaming People

After watching the pitcher struggle through a couple of batters, the pitching coach knows it is time to walk to the mound. Forty-two thousand people in the stadium watch the pitching coach and hope his words help the pitcher make it through the inning without surrendering a run. So at a recent game, I asked my friend who was a professional baseball short-stop for eight years, “What does the pitching coach say to a struggling pitcher on the mound?” Jeff told me that the pitching coach watches the multi-gazillion dollar pitcher closely on every wind-up, every pitch and every follow-through.  The coach observes the pitcher’s posture, motion, release and eyes.  Every pitch,  Every game.  With each movement in his mental catalog of the pitcher, the coach sees the normal, the abnormal and the potentially disastrous. He knows when the pitcher is at his best and when…well, when something bad could happen. I interrupted Jeff, “So what does he say, in front of 42,000 tense fans, to get the pitc ...

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Weaknesses: God’s Strength at Work

People succeed not so much because of full utilization of their strengths but because of their not having significant shortcomings.  Bradford Smart “Your backhand can lose a game that your forehand won.” I remember my father telling me that after winning his tennis match one day.  Then at 80 years old, his decades of observing tennis offered a remarkably simple truth: Your strengths can put you ahead but your weaknesses can make you lose the game. Sure, sharpening your strengths is a good idea, but getting control of your weaknesses is key to high-impact performance. Acknowledging weaknesses is the first step to see God perform a mighty work.  That why the Apostle Paul wrote: I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:10 Mere acknowledgment of weaknesses, accompanied by a prayerful plan to smooth them down, allows your strengths to shine brighter. Never dwell on weaknesses, pray for discipline and God's provision t ...

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Leadership, Management and The Four Spiritual Laws: Do We Really Believe?

During a management retreat, the Christian owner of a business addressed his management team, “Managers, you’ve got to understand that your employees are out to screw you.”  I was stunned to hear it.  I knew he had deep disappointments from employee difficulties, but that statement seemed awfully harsh and broad brushed. But maybe he had a nugget of biblical truth that I didn’t want to recognize. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NIV) Going door to door in the hot Texas summer, I shared the Gospel using this little booklet.  The Four Spiritual Laws encapsulated a simple approach for those who want to seek God.  The little booklet used simple words and simple graphics, but I think I struggle with the implications of those four laws today more than ever. Law #2 is based on Romans 3:23 (above).  Simply put, we are so caught up in our selfish thoughts and deeds, we can’t co-exist with God.  True that.  After we receive God’s grace ...

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Fired: Performance Problems or People Problems?

In a society where performance is trumpeted, the cold truth is that people problems can be job fatal at most non-profits. Non-profits normally don't fire team members due to performance problems. Mostly, non-profits fire team members due to people problems. Today, emotional Intelligence (EI) is more important at non-profits than for profits (and it is becoming extremely important at for profit organizations). Why?  Non-profits are normally focused on on mission. Anything that distracts from that mission--like teammember conflict--is job fatal.  Non-profits are unique because they are often led and staffed with people who are so mission-minded that they lack EI. Not the Wrong Leader, Just Needs New Skills In my work with non-profits over the last 25 years, leaders and mid-managers are often hard-working, task-oriented people with discomfort when trying to guide employees with the small corrections that a coaching-leader uses.  Often, a task-oriented person works loyally and long ...

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