Building your Singles Ministry/Personal Growth by Other Authors
I'm Confused By Cheryl Scanlan, C3Advantage Leaders Insights
"I'm confused" is a clear and simple indicator or diagnostic tool of a potential threat to employee engagement and productivity. When that phrase is used often, it indicates that leadership is ignoring a bigger issue within the organization that, without addressing it, will frustrate progress.
Language expressing confusion communicates a temporary stall in progress and is typically caused for one of the following:
Team members are not clear on their roles and/or responsibilities
Team members are not willing to engage in their roles for reasons such as:
Fear of failure
Fear of reprisal if they ask questions
Lack of commitment
Irritation with other team members and a sense of "holding out" until someone else gets their job done
Team members have developed a "group think" mentality creating their own culture of sluggishness. Once one person says, "I'm confused," it's not long before that mindset of helplessness is adopted by an entire team and from there can quickly move outward and into an entire organization.
Fortunately, "I'm confused" is an early indicator of a need to engage with the team member(s) vitally. Starting with hearing from the employee and having them own his/her confusion is the first step towards reconstructing the environment into a culture engaged in productivity (delete engaged culture).
First, ask," what are you confused about?" and listen. Don't say a word until you have heard them out. This first step let's them know you are listening, in which the lack thereof can become (delete being typically being) a typical catalyst for an organization spiraling into a culture of confusion.
Second, ask "what do they need to know that would remove the confusion?" Again, be quiet and listen. This second question empowers the employee to decide what is necessary and even more important, own their desire to re-engage.
Third, ask "what do you need from me to help you get there?" Again, be quiet and listen. By asking this question last, you have the employee own his/her confusion and their fix first. Anything shared now is less likely to be about blaming you and more about collaborating with you as they take steps towards re-engaging in their role.
Bottomline, resist rolling your eyes or raising your hands in exasperation when you hear "I'm confused." This is probably less about you explaining something for the 100th time and more about listening for the first time. Note: Although this article is geared towards the corporate environment, it can be used in ministry as well.
About the Author Cheryl Scanlan, MCC, CMCC, BCC is president of C3Advantage. She has worked with CEOs that are in Fortune 100 through next generation small business owners. Having also run a multi-million dollar firm in New York, Cheryl knows the importance of business goals and the impact of teams. Cheryl's thought partnering method helps leaders see clearly what is fuzzy, articulate what is currently unintelligible, and generate coherent and executable strategy.
The Difference Between Stolen and Persuaded Hearts by Nate Stevens
Which would you rather have—someone who stole your heart or someone who won your heart?
Of course, we are smitten with the romantic notion of someone sweeping us off our feet, of stealing our hearts away, of making us swoon uncontrollably. But isn’t that a bit unrealistic, careless, irresponsible, and indecisive? It seems a smarter option would be to have a choice in matters of the heart than to be manipulated beyond the point of defense against vulnerability. In case you’re wondering, yes, I am a die-hard romantic at heart. Snuggled within a few chapters of 2 Samuel, we find the definitive difference between stolen and persuaded hearts as well as the resulting outcomes.
Stolen Hearts Chapter 15 verse 6reveals, “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” A quick background on the story exposes his ulterior motives. After killing his half brother, then living in exile for three years, Absalom quietly returned to Jerusalem. Obviously, you don’t kill the king’s firstborn child, and primary heir to the throne, and go on like nothing significant happened. Yet it was another two years before King David finally granted him an audience and they (sort of) repaired their relationship.
However, shortly thereafter, Absalom began “stealing” the hearts of the common people. He was ruggedly handsome, with a gorgeous head of hair, and endowed with charismatic swagger. How could anyone not fall for him? And he used his good looks and charm to manipulate people at their vulnerable points. In dating terms, we could say he had a knack for saying exactly what lonely hearts wanted to hear. In reality, he was deceptively laying the framework to overthrow his father and become king.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for stolemeans to deceive, carry away, or obtain by stealth. There is an implied manipulation or coercion of vulnerable hearts. This is what happens to stolen hearts.
Persuaded Hearts Then, in chapter 19, verse 14, we find David “swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah.” Shortly after the decisive victory over Absalom, David persuaded or influenced the leaders of his own ancestry to actively participate in his triumphal return to Jerusalem. Although both men’s methods seem similar, there is a world of difference. The Hebrew word for swayedmeans to bow, incline, or persuade. It contains an implication of openly influencing or changing mindsets.
In any relationship, manipulation stands directly opposed to persuasion. Manipulation tricks while persuasion educates. Manipulation preys on vulnerability to force desired outcomes; persuasion informs and encourages an alternative or optimal outcome. From a dating perspective, a Manipulator is sneaky, lies on a dating profile, misleads during conversations, withholds critical information about the past, and has ulterior motives about how the evening will end. However, a Persuader is confident, open, honestly engaging about a variety of topics, informative about past mistakes and lessons learned, and may suggest further dates—but is okay if that doesn’t happen.
The Difference To look at this difference further, lets compare Satan and Jesus. As the father of all lies, deception, and counterfeit, Satan manipulates through temptation (“If you love me, you’ll let me”). He has no positive benefit and knows it so he misleads and misinforms. His ulterior motives include stealing hearts away to the bondage to sin, the burden of guilt and regret, lifelong unmet expectations and broken promises, and an eternity separated from God, in a place never intended for them.
Jesus, on the other hand, is the Truth, in whom there has never been any falsehood. He is the only positive outcome, He knows it, and offers Himself freely and openly to everyone. He coerces, forces, or manipulates no one—He respects each person’s freewill choice even if it means rejection. His ulterior motives involve persuading hearts to freedom from sin and its associated power, guilt, shame, and penalty, lifelong intimacy, fulfillment, and precious promises kept, and an eternity of glorious fellowship in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit surrounded with ecstatic multitudes expressing their love for Him as well as each other.
So, I ask again, which would you rather have—someone who steals your heart or someone who wins your heart?
About the author: As an author, Nate hopes to lead his readers to relatable “Aha” moments where convicting truth resonates with the personal decisions to improve. His desire is to encourage, educate, and transform his readers with new and renewed insights from personal experience and the treasure trove of God’s Word as applicable truth. https://natestevens.net/relatable-author/
Become the Healthiest Version of You You Can Be-The World Needs You by Cory Nickols, National Director of Strategic Partnerships, Destiny Rescue
The greatest gift you can offer the world is to become the healthiest version of you you can be. You are not an accident. You are not an afterthought. God intentionally created you. He formed you in your mother’s womb. He gave you your personality, your quirkiness, your eye color, skin tone and your talents. He made no mistake when He spoke you into existence. He even set you in the right family at this specific time in history. And He created you for a purpose. In order for us to reach our full potential and impact the world, our world, the way God wants us to, we need to mature as Christians and learn to be led by God. This is the only way we can truly become the healthiest version of ourselves we can be.
The scripture says, “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Romans 8-5-8 NLT
Again, as Christians, it is imperative that we learn how to be guided by the Holy Spirit, hear His still small voice and discern the difference between what our sinful nature is telling us to do, which is all about self-gratification and what God is leading us to do (Galatians 5:16-17). The Bible also teaches us that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor and will reveal truth to us. He wants to help us navigate difficulties, trials and challenges so that we can ultimately mature and become the incredible, life-giving people we were created to be. Here is the challenge. If we let our sinful nature dominate our thinking and actions, it brings death into our lives – death to relationships with family members, coworkers, friends and anyone else that comes across our path. And, it brings death to the dreams God has placed in our hearts.
I’ve experienced the damaging effects of living by my fleshly, sinful nature in my own life. One time in particular comes to mind. It had to do with my relationship with my younger brother when I was in high school. I didn’t like him hanging out with me or my friends. He was outgoing, funny and loud. He was the life of the party and I was jealous of him. Because of the insecurities in me and my selfish desire to not want him to steal my thunder, so to speak, I didn’t want him spending time with me or my friends. My mind was filled with carnal thinking that was destructive to my relationship with him. And it caused a real wedge in our friendship. In addition to this, there was another situation that involved him that continued to add fuel to the fire. In our family, there was an unwritten rule growing up that when my siblings and I rode in the car with one of my parents, the oldest sibling had the privilege of sitting in the front passenger seat. I had to allow my older brother to sit in the front seat and I expected my younger brother to show the same level of respect toward me when it was my turn. Yet, this was not the case. My younger brother would run quickly to the car and sit in the front seat. And worst of all, my parents let him do it! Thoughts of anger and frustration consumed me and I despised my brother all the more. Then one day, God spoke to me deep down on the inside, “Cory, I want you to show your brother unconditional love and value him as your brother and as a person made in My image. Give him preferential treatment. Extend him grace because I’ve extended it to you! Offer him the ‘front seat’ every time you get in the car with him.” I knew that I knew that I knew this was the right thing to do even though it stretched me to the max. So…with God’s help and grace, I invited my younger brother to start hanging out with me and my friends. I looked for ways to serve him and make him feel important, including giving him the front seat in the car! He stood amazed at the transformation in my heart toward him. He saw that I had actually changed, and because of the unconditional love and acceptance I showed him, he changed. He began respecting me simply because I showed him love and appreciation and valued him as a person. I stood amazed at what God did. When I finally let go of doing things my way and started letting God direct my thinking and actions, miracles began taking place and the broken, damaged relationships in my life healed. Many times in our relationships, we demand other people to conform to our wishes, but God is asking us to serve the people in our lives instead. It’s a better way; it’s God’s way. Jesus came to serve, not be served. He said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11 NLT). When God is at the center of our lives, He goes to work healing us of wrong mindsets and damaging ways of thinking that will keep us from experiencing the best life He has to offer. The byproduct of the Spirit-led life produces this kind of fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And here is the amazing part, God helps us become the healthiest version of ourselves we can be - cities on a hill…bright lights of hope for others to follow pointing the way to Christ. In the end, we will see all of our relationships, whether family, friends, dating, or marriage partners go to whole new levels. We will become the version of ourselves the world longs for and needs!
About the author: Cory’s ministry began with opportunities to write and speak of how God can restore lives from various forms of abuse after God took him through his own healing journey. He started a blog on different topics that soon garnered the attention of the largest Christian newspaper company in the US, The Good News. In the two years he spent writing for the Good News, he became more familiar with the issue of human trafficking and connected with Destiny Rescue.
Cory became the Senior Copy Writer for Destiny Rescue in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and eventually created the Media Department – becoming its Media Director. In this role, he traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia learning about the issues of child sexual slavery and how to be a voice for victims. He also worked as an undercover agent assisting with identifying victims in brothels and their rescue. He has seen victims come into the Destiny Rescue program as damaged individuals, and leave restored with a hope and a future. If you want to learn more about Destiny Rescue, please visit our website at www.destinyrescue.org