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The Tale of Three Boards

Some time ago I attended a leadership conference. Over lunch with a few colleagues, the topic moved to how we were relating to our respective Boards of Directors. We had known one another for some time and all knew that the things said would be treated with confidentiality and respect. This conversation reminded me of the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. One was “too cold,” another was “too hot,” but the last was “just right”. Too Cold I started the conversation by explaining what a difficult time I was having working with my board. There were several factions, each with a different agenda. Communication was difficult at best, and sometimes outright hostile. They were not just attempting to micro-manage me, several bypassed me to go directly to department heads with “suggestions for improvement”. Too Hot One friend then told us that he felt “really lucky”. Two family members and several long-time friends made up his board. They met over lunch twice a year to “keep things legal”. He sent them ...

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Truth for Christ and the Church

Founding Vision Not many people remember that Harvard University was founded to train young men as pastors. In accordance with that vision, Harvard's "Rules and Precepts," adopted in 1646, stated (original spelling and Scriptural references retained): Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoreticall observations of Language and Logick, and in practical and spiritual truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). Anyone’s Truth Today we have a hard time understanding the stiff language of the above paragraph. We also find it hard to imagine any student of Harvard University being expected to read the Scriptures two times daily. Much less to give account to his teacher of how the world worked under that kind of reference! Sadly, in the mid 1800’s, in order ...

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Building a Proactive Life Plan

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, not for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us thinking, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them. And that men will say, as they look upon them and the labor and wrought substance, “See! This our fathers did for us.” Audels Carpenters & Builders Guild, Vol. 1, 1923 Review the Blueprints Over the holidays, I saw a re-run of the PBS special “Building the Great Cathedrals”. This program focuses on the design and construction of several of the greatest Gothic and Medieval cathedrals in Europe. It also highlights the problems a few of them experience in maintaining structural integrity. Clearly these magnificent structures weren’t meant for temporary use or “present delight”. I happened to catch this program just as I was reflecting on the pa ...

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All About Grace

“In the all night café At a quarter past eleven, Same old man is sitting there on his own. Looking at the world Over the rim of his tea-cup. Each tea lasts an hour, Then he wanders home alone.” If your house is anything like mine, this time of year brings with it a cornucopia of mixed emotions. Getting everything on the list accomplished by the 25th is a daunting task. The commercialism of the season, that started the minute Halloween ended, chaps me. Under the weight of these emotions, I begin to lose perspective. This past Sunday our Pastor reminded us that the incredible gift Jesus brought to us was grace! Wow, let that sink in a minute. The Apostle John tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We don’t think about grace enough. We don’t extend grace to those around us often enough. Do you extend grace when you drive? Or to the woman with the crying baby that you’re st ...

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Proclamations of Thanksgiving

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” George Washington wrote those words on October 3, 1789 in New York City. He was not only establishing one day in November for the Nation to collectively give thanks. More than just that, he was setting the tone for a National way of living. More Than a Day, A Way of Living When my girls were in grade school, my wife started a family tradition that I am pleased to see them passing on to their children. Beginning the Sunday before Thanksgiving, s ...

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Outside Insight

As a kid, I loved the game of baseball. I played Little League, Jr. High and High School ball. My favorite player was Wally Moon with the LA Dodgers. All Star college player at Texas A & M, National League rookie of the year his first year in the Majors, three-time National League All Star, three-time World Series Winner—I knew all his stats. I believe I even bled a bit of Dodger Blue! You can imagine my delight as a college freshman to learn that Wally Moon was our University Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach. So I did the natural thing, I tried out for the baseball team as a walk-on. For two weeks I ran, threw, hit, fielded balls, and ran until I couldn’t run any more. One afternoon after practice Coach Moon put his arm around my shoulder as we walked to the field house. He said, “Jamie, I have watched you closely the past few days and you have more enthusiasm for this game that just about anyone I’ve ever met. But tomorrow they are having tryouts for the swim team, and I think you would do ...

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Slight in Fame, Huge in Game!

Merriam-Webster defines Hero: “(n) A person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” We all have our heroes – the superheroes of childhood, sports heroes, mentors that seemed larger than life to us. Some years ago I was hosting a call-in radio show in Northern California. I would conclude every interview with a well know celebrity by asking, “Who are your heroes?” I was often astounded at the responses. Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “Trever Huddleton, a simple priest from England, who served in the black township of Sophiatown and fearlessly stood against apartheid.” Tony Campalo said, “President Jimmy Carter, by doing more for people through Habitat for Humanity than he did as the most powerful man in the world.” But what about our professional heroes? Those we work with day-by-day that inspire us to push harder, show up more often, and bring our “A game” every day. The Quiet Inspiration Early in my career, I was privileged to get to know and work with Jon Campbell, who was President o ...

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Devil in the Details

“If we did all the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison As we anticipate the coming year, many organizations use the month of October to develop the action plans for 2015. So once again we take the leadership team off-site for a time to re-affirm the vision, mission, and goals, and attempt to map the path for the coming year. But how do you maintain that enthusiasm and energy throughout the year? You start with a strategic plan. But what exactly is that? While your vision and mission answers the questions “what” and “why,” an effective strategic plan weighs in on the “how” and the “when.” God of Amazing Details I would like to take exception with the common mantra, “the devil is in the details.” Actually, we serve a God of amazing details. We can see that by just taking a short look around us. If God pays attention to detail, how much more important is it for us to do so, especially in strategic planning. But you say “I’m a big picture guy, those t ...

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Connecting is a Choice

Your Development Director just handed you a list of names. A quick scan down the list makes you cringe. These are donors to your ministry that need to be contacted personally—by you. A few on the list have the potential to make significant contributions. But getting out of the office to meet folks is way out of your comfort zone. After all, you have an organization to run, right? There is a Jewish proverb that says “The wise do at once what the fool does at last.” John C. Maxwell points out some excellent principles in his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” From this book we can gather a few principles that he so aptly points out about "what effective people do differently." It is all about connecting. Connecting Is All About Others Before you make your call, ask yourself three questions—questions your friend will ask themselves about you. 1. Do you care for me? 2. Can you help me? 3. Can I trust you? During the conversation, focus on the benefits that t ...

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Soaring with Capital Campaigns

As your vision continues to grow you become more and more excited to you see new opportunities develop for your ministry. Then your financial team speaks aloud what you fear most: “This is going to require a lot of money.” (Or in other words, “You need to start a Capital Campaign.”) William E. Heller, the brilliant Sales Manager for General Motor’s Chevy division from 1933 to 1945, observed: “What the future holds for us depends on what we hold for the future. Hard working ‘todays’ make high winning ‘tomorrows.’” Now, let me pose a few questions. These questions will help guide you to a place where you view capital development as a valuable fulfillment of stewardship for your ministry and supporters. What have we done well in the past? “Count Your Blessings” was one of my daughter’s favorite bedtime songs when she was little. “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, we’ll see what God has done.” After singing the song we would recall our big and the small blessings befor ...

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    Maximize Ministry
    by Jamie Clark
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    About Jamie
    “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”

    As a life-long student of management principles, I enjoy finding those sparks that bring light to a dark situation. It is my hope that this “lampstand” will provide you a bit of light.

    With a diverse background in media, corporate communications, and public sector employee training, I assist ministries in keeping their operation true to their vision, mission and goals.

    You can find out how Advocace can assist your organization or contact me here.
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