THIS BLOG HAS MOVED
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Today I started an online course with Jeff Goins. In our first lesson, we learned about the importance of having a tribe for a writer.
Jeff’s definition of tribe is “ . . . a specific group of individuals bound to one another around a common cause or idea.” He goes on to say, “A tribe is more than a niche or a target group” but rather a group of people that resonate with a worldview.
As a writer, I’ve determined my tribe over the years. After my first lesson today I started writing about my tribe (from a writer's perspective), as I know her.
“We are those disenfranchised with church but we still love her deeply. We are men and women who have a good deal of angst towards mediocrity. We are hard workers and we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty or take stones in the public square. We are stubborn and teachable at the same time. We aren’t afraid to fail. We often challenge traditional church methodologies but we respect where we’ve come from. We think change for the sake of change is wonderful and helpful in ministry contexts. We are creative. We have never been accused of being docile but that doesn’t mean we like to fight. We are willing to try new ideas . . . “
What I was reminded of as I was jotting this stuff down is that tribe is not only important for writers, it’s important for Quirky Leaders.
INSTEAD OF ASKING, “WHO DO WE WANT TO REACH?’ WE NEED TO ASK, “WHO ARE WE MOST LIKELY TO REACH?”
In my new book, Quirky Leadership I wrote, “It has been a popular practice in churches over the past decade or so to take a prompt from the business world and clearly define the “target audience.” Churches that define target audiences are usually asking questions about who they are catering to, who is in their neighborhood, and how they should tailor their programs and messages to meet the particular needs of that group. In many ways, this is how businesses approach sales.
At Westwinds, in relation to programs and The Cue, our approach is different in more ways than it is similar. We certainly would agree it is unwise to believe one model or device that works well in one demographic would work as well in another. Instead of asking, “Who is our target audience?” we ask a different question based on who we are, our personalities and culture, our backgrounds, and the kind of bona fide creativity and thought patterns that flow from within. We ask, “Who will most likely be attracted to Westwinds?”
There is great freedom that comes with knowing your tribe.
Knowing your tribe starts with knowing yourself. Constantly trying to adapt to whom you think you’re supposed to reach will leave you wanting and will ring inauthentic. Continuing to change your message and style to adapt to an audience someone else told you you’re supposed to speak to will only allow your voice to fly at half-mast.
Knowing the tribe you lead helps you weigh criticism. Not everyone will like your voice, your style, or your leadership decisions. But, being true to those very things will keep you on task and help you define what things are truly worth fighting for. You will not have the support or gain the trust of everyone, but you will have the support and trust of the ones who know what he or she signed up for.
Quirky leaders find this kind of freedom within their tribe as they remain as available and accessible as possible, talk like a real person, and give people the back lot tour of their lives.
People are eager to follow someone who looks, sounds, listens, and acts human. When Quirky Leaders know their tribe, they are given permission to speak in to that tribe. They are invited. Their leadership, instruction, voice and opinions are all anticipated.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
This is the third year of iCreate. It started with Westwinds' desire to partner with local schools in ways that encourage and give a platform to the creativity of children as we celebrate what it means to be human.
My aunt is a published poet. She used to sit with me and write poetry. She encouraged me. She celebrated with me as I put those words to melodies at her Kimball "Magic Chord" organ. That investment she made in me has paid off in my confidence, my skills, my art, and my desire to teach others. It was these memories that funded my dream of iCreate.
3 years ago we began inviting schools to participate in writing poetry based on the themes of perseverance and/or courage. This year we added the theme of hope. The local schools' staffs choose two winning poems from each grade in their school (3-8 grade). Those poems are submitted to the iCreate band made up of local musicians from Westwinds and throughout Jackson. On the night of March 6, the band will reveal songs written from the children's poetry in a multimedia concert extravaganza at the historic Michigan Theatre.
Students have an opportunity to win art scholarships, gift certificates, recognition in front of their family and peers, and (best of all for many of them) the chance to have their poetry turned into a song that will be written and performed by local musicians and songwriters. One Grand Prize winner will receive a brand new guitar and guitar lessons.
The evening of the performance, students will arrive and be escorted down a red carpet surrounded by screaming fans with cameras. Inside the historic theatre, guests will be treated to a video about the history of iCreate full of interviews with children and faculty of local schools. With no time to waste, the band will reveal song after song. Country, blues, bluegrass, rock, punk, reggae, folk . . . they've all been done before.
This is what local schools are saying:
"The iCreate" project has really created quite a stir at Bean Elementary. We had a large number of students participate last year, and expect even more to jump on board this year. This has given students a valuable opportunity to showcase their creative writing skills and to watch in amazement as their words are put to music. Watching kids light up at the realization that their words can move others is so rewarding and fun to see. We're excited to partner with our friends at Westwinds!”
–Mike Ykimoff, Principal, Bean Elementary School
"iCreate has motivated Paragon students to take their writing to the next level. When students see their poetry come alive thought music, their faces light up. We are grateful to be a part of an event that builds success in our school and community."
–Zack Perfitt, Principal, Paragon Charter Academy
Join us Wednesday, March 6 at 6:30 at the Michigan Theatre in downtown Jackson.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
- Whoever did the inviting should pay for lunch. This rule is the most important of all rules. It’s common sense and should win out in any situation where there is confusion. If you invite someone out and make it clear you will each pay for your own meal and “meet up” somewhere, that’s different. But, when you invite someone out, pay. If you were the person who was invited out, you might offer to pay for your portion of the lunch out of courtesy. However, if you are going out with someone you always hang out with, offer to pay for yourself even if they did the inviting.
- If you invite another to lunch by saying, “I need to talk to you” you should pay. The above rule applies here anyway but it is doubly important to pay when someone knows there are “things” to be discussed that may be a burden to you. It is common courtesy to pay for lunch if you are asking something of someone. Doesn’t matter if you want their advice, listening ear, or you want to complain to them; if you NEED to talk to them, buy their lunch. In those situations where you say, “I need to talk to you” and THEY suggest lunch, you should still pay. If you don’t want to pay, don’t agree to meet over lunch.
- If you are inviting your pastor to lunch you should pay. This is a hard one since I am a pastor and I know everyone reading this will think I’m asking for a free lunch. But, truth be told, it is courteous to pay for your pastor. This is true for anyone in a professional people-business field (teacher, city council, counselor, etc.). Professionals in the "people business" are rarely taken to lunch on a friend-to-friend basis. Usually someone wants something of him or her. Even if it is “to get to know them better” it is kind to pay for your pastor. If one pastor is inviting another pastor to lunch ask the questions: Did I do the inviting? Do I want something from them? In these cases, the first rule applies.
- If you take someone to lunch to reprimand him or her, you should pay. Seriously, if you take someone to lunch to give him or her a spanking and expect him or her to pay, you are a bit of a jerk. P.S., if that is the nature of your lunch, you should tell them beforehand with something like, “I want to talk about some things that need improvement. Can I please buy you lunch and talk them through?”
- If you invite a volunteer you oversee to lunch, pay for them. Period. Seriously. But, if they invite you to lunch, the first rule applies (invitee pays), though not strictly. If the volunteer invites you to lunch it may be appropriate to at least offer to pay for your own.
- If a boss invites someone to lunch, he or she should pay. If you are the boss, everyone will say, “yes” to you because they don’t want to say, “no” to the boss. However, if the boss and employee are friends outside of work, it’s okay for people to pay for themselves. Talk about the arrangement beforehand and keep the other rules in mind.
- If someone gives you free tickets to an event and invites you along, you should offer to pay for a meal while out. They can decline but it’s cool to offer. This can be tricky if THEY pick the restaurant you are going to that night and they pick an expensive one. In these cases, offer to pay for your own or simply be honest and say, “Hey, I’d like to pay for dinner but my budget is a little tight. Can we go somewhere more affordable?”
- If someone invites you to double-date pay for your own dinner. They are just saying they want your company. Double-date doesn’t mean they want to treat you.
- If you are interviewing someone for a job you should pay. If you don’t hire them, you want them to at least feel like it was worth their time and they aren’t out any money.
- If you agree to go to lunch with someone and expect they will be paying, have a backup plan for payment. I always make sure I can ay for myself even if it seems obvious to me they should be paying. When that check sits on the table forever or in those situations where they are trying to pawn the bill off on me, I speak up and say something like, “Let me make sure they put this on separate tickets.” This breaks the awkwardness and allows them to say they will cover the bill or, at least you know where you stand and you don’t get stuck with their bill.
- If you are “out and about” with someone and you pull your car into a restaurant for a coffee, you should offer to buy him or her something. They are in your car. You are in control. It’s not polite to drink coffee in front of someone without asking him or her.
- Be careful not to set up an expectation for a repeat offender. If I get invited to lunch because someone wants my counsel, I expect they will pay but I have my backup plan. If they invite me to lunch again, I expect I am going to have to pay for myself so I either say something like, “Why don’t we meet at my office?” and avoid having to buy my lunch or I say something like, “Just so I can plan ahead is this your treat?”
- If the server asks, “Is this on one or two bills?” and someone invited me to lunch, I let them answer. Then, I know where we stand right away.
- If a young student or an unemployed person asks you to lunch, you might offer to pay. Don’t assume the student knows the rules yet or that they have any money. Truth be told, they might assume you are paying since you are older and wiser and probably wealthier. Know this going in and don’t feel bad about paying for them if you agree to meet. It might even be nice to offer to pay for them buy saying, “I was a student once. Let me pick up the bill.”
- The unemployed person might not expect you to pay but it’s cool to offer. On some occasions, if the person is unemployed they may act a bit defensive because they are frustrated (and maybe a bit prideful). Still, take the weight off of them. Take the wondering out of the equation for them. Or, better yet, be honest from the start and say, “I know you’ve been out of work. I’d like to pay for this lunch.” They may refuse, but it’s nice to know someone cares.
- Honesty takes away the awkwardness. If I ever am in a situation where I am broke and someone asks me to lunch, I have no problem saying, “Hey, thanks. I’m totally broke. Can we meet somewhere else?” This way, I give them an opportunity to tell me it is their intention to pay or, I at least take myself off the hook. Whatever situation you are in, calling out the awkwardness makes it go away. Never be afraid to ask for clarity ahead of time. This works both ways. If you invite someone to lunch but don't expect to pay for them, tell them.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
- Most nights I can be found at home with my wife snacking and sipping wine. Then again, a camera on every phone combined with tagging photos has depicted me as a party animal. I may go to two gatherings a month but a hundred shared photos of me tell a different story.
- Bite-sized conversations make it seem like I have a ton of close friends but in reality I have only two or three friends I spend a lot of time with.
- On any given day I may have the same amount of online conversation with my best friend and a mere acquaintance—onlookers understandably perceive the relationships the same.
- Before Social Networking, a birthday wish, a comment about a photo, or giving a compliment usually required depth of intimacy and knowledge and/or physical proximity. Today, public bios, compliments, birthday wishes, and “liking” a status update are universal and add to the confusion of perceived intimacy.
- Years ago, we might have snail-mailed a close friend an event invitation. Today, SN platforms allow us to quickly invite everyone we know to every event we host or are interested in—all at the same volume without favor.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
- Not involved in ministry
- Do not volunteer anywhere
- Are barely interested in the church most of the time
- Have no idea how ministry works
- Maybe even go to another church
- Go to the church just enough to think they know how to do things better
- Are in a business they liken to ministry in some way
- Think their business/corporation/real job expertise gives them better insight to your small world problems
- Give money to the church and think that should buy them power
- Refer to you as “buddy” or “boss” or “champ”
- Have no idea their idea was something people did in the dark ages and it didn’t work then either
- Have a ton of advice from the church they used to go to and usually start their sentences with something like, “Back at Third Baptist they used to . . . “
So, here are a few words of advice to anyone who is considering offering ministry advice to anyone for any reason to save you from being appreciahated.
- Never use the money you give the church as leverage to offer your advice. You can never, ever start a sentence with anything remotely close to, “I’ve been giving to this church for a long time and . . . “
- Never begin your advice giving by handing someone a book, CD, DVD, etc. and suggest they watch/listen to it for insight. This subtle move communicates, “I know something you don’t know and you too will be enlightened when you see/hear this although you should already know it, punk.” It can also communicate, “I don’t know how to put my thoughts in to words but I still know better than you.” Loaning these items for feedback may be appropriate as long as you are really interested in feedback as opposed to building your case or spreading your propaganda.
- If you are a chronic advice giver, admit it to yourself. Listen to yourself talk when you are in conversation. Are you doing most of the talking? Chances are, they want you to do more listening and leave more pauses. They may even ask you for advice. Wouldn’t that be something?
- Double-check your credentials. Are you really that smart? Have you really gone through the same fire? Do you really have basis for your suggestions? Make sure.
- Ask permission before spewing. Try a simple, “Are you asking me for advice? I might have something that could help.” Let them say yes or no.
- Do not send unsolicited advice in a letter or email. This makes you look frightened and/or cocky and/or even more disconnected than you probably are.
- Own your idea. If the planets align, you’ve been given permission to speak, you are in good relationship with the person, and you believe you can actually help, own it. Don’t give someone else the idea and run. Never start with, “You know what you guys should do?” In most cases, nobody wants to do your idea. They have probably tried it before or have a good reason not to do it. If you own it, they may have opportunity to tell you why it doesn’t line up and thank you for your suggestion. Don’t drop it and run. Don’t become the flaming bag of doody on their doorstep they have to deal with. If you own it, they may hear you, and it may be just the thing they were hoping for.
- Ask yourself, “Do I have everyone’s best interest at heart or am I more concerned with being heard?” If we’re honest, for most of us, the selfless times are few and far between.
- Ask yourself, “Is it possible I don’t have all the information or history to offer the advice I have to offer?” Then ask, “Is it my job to find this stuff out or leave it alone?” If you decide it is your job to pursue more info and history ask yourself, “Am I the only one who believes this is my role or do others expect me to give insight?”
- Sit on it. Often times, an email will come across my desktop that offers the kind of advice I appreciahate. As a rule, I let it sit at least a day before responding. This works on the other side too. If you have a burning piece of advice to give, take a breather. Pour yourself some herb tea and relax. Pray. If it’s still there the next day, go back through number 1-9 on this list.