change

Are You Willing to Change?

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Proving Ground - Part 2

In order to reach the next level in your life, change is inevitable. We can't progress if we are stuck in our old ways. If you want to reach the next level, it's time that you implement some healthy habits into your routine.

We are picking up where we left off last week with our Proving Ground series. Here's a recap of the first two tests Kevin Gerald discusses in the book:

  1. The Test of Small Things - This test comes to prove a leader’s potential for greater opportunities.

  2. The Motivation Test - You could be doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, so this test challenges the why behind what you do.

Let's dive into the next two!

3. The Credibility Test

This test will prove that you maintain integrity, refusing to compromise ethics and morals in pressured circumstances.

Credibility is a combination of what you do, who you are, and how others view you. Gaining and maintaining credibility is what opens the door to a leader's next opportunity. Even Jesus had to build credibility.

Earning credibility requires competence, including the skills needed for the role you're playing as well as the appropriate knowledge and the right kind of habits. Competence is credibility based on what a leader can do today. So how can today's leaders maintain competence for tomorrow?

More than ever before, it is vital that today's leaders are good self-developers. You have to equip yourself so that you can remain competent. Yesterday's success may be applauded, respected, or honoured, but competence is credibility based on what you can do today. This credibility is earned by performance, not respect, love, honesty, courage, or other important virtues.

Leaders commonly fall into the negativity trap, seeing only problems and not solutions. In Proving Ground, Gerald lists six questions a leader can ask themselves to avoid negativity:

  1. What do I think about the most?

  2. How do I respond to problems or difficulties?

  3. What do I do when I hear negative feedback?

  4. How comfortable am I with failure or defeat?

  5. What kind of people do I get along well with?

  6. How do I respond to positive information?

Our sphere of influence is enlarged when we pass the credibility test.

4. The Wilderness Test

When you’re in a drought or dry season, this test will prove your potential to make the changes necessary to enter the level of maturity and prosperity in your life.

One strong characteristic of the wilderness is a lifestyle of routine. The way out of the wilderness requires change and breaking the status quo. Our tendency as leaders is to shrink back from making the necessary changes because it is easier to become comfortable with habits of routine.

We cannot have progress without change. Not all changes lead to progress, but all progress requires change. We have to push past the fear of change and learn to embrace change as a positive thing.

Just like a desert lacks the resources to provide life and vitality, a dry mind and spirit lack the ability to provide those things that bring growth. I have to personally worship God. I have to read the Bible to feed my faith. I have to pray and connect with God. I have to feed my mind with knowledge by reading books and listening to podcasts.

The church at Pentecost had to change in order to move forward. What motivated them was a strong faith in the future. In Philippians 3, Paul says, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

"Pressing on" is the key to getting out of the wilderness. Paul's motivation for pressing on was the prize of doing God's calling; the vision to bring Jesus to a hopeless world. To build His church. Because the church is the hope of the world and we have a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

We would highly encourage all of our listeners to purchase their own copy of Proving Ground as we discuss this book together. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find them here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Who Are Today's New Natives?

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Marching Off the Map - Part 2

Generation Y and Z are two very different groups of people. They have been influenced by different societies and, therefore, view things diversely. Today we are pulling apart the differences between Y and Z to determine how we can educate each generation effectively.

What began in academic circles as Generation Y has now been broken down into two separate groupings; Generation Y and Generation Z. Y individuals are those deemed "millennials," born between 1990 and 2010 and Z is the generation born after 9/11. Let's compare the two.

Generation Y

  • Grew up in a strong economy with high self-esteem.
  • Watches YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix.
  • Worried about growing their status and "likes" on social media.

Generation Z

  • Growing up in a time of recession, terrorism, racial violence, volatility, and complexity.
  • Doesn't want to be tracked so prefer Snapchat over Facebook because messages disappear.
  • Want to co-create, live stream and help make up the activity as they participate.
  • Worried about the economy and world ecology.

7 Shifts Between Generation Y and Z

Elmore discusses seven major shifts between Generation Y and Generation Z. Our challenge as pastors, parents, and educators is navigating these changes. Some of them are subtle while others are quite big. Regardless, it is vital that we as leaders make ourselves aware of them.

1. Confidence is morphing into caution.

People who grew up between 1990 and 2000 had very different childhoods than those who grew up between 2005 and 2015. The economy in the 90's was expanding whereas the past ten years have been marked with economic recession. The headlines have been constantly filled with terrorism and racial unrest since the fateful day of 9/11, nevermind the increase in gender confusion and other social debates.

2. Idealism is morphing into pragmatism.

Ten years ago, it was reportedly easy for Generation Y to get what they wanted. Today, money is a bit tighter and there's been an increase in multi-generational households. Many are forced to think practically and ahead, and optimism has shifted to cynicism.

3. From aggressively pursuing further education to hacking one.

Generation Z watched Generation Y become paralyzed with student loans and debt. So, instead of applying to multiple universities in search of a liberal art education, Generation Z has started to combine university classes with online certificates and real-world experience.

4. Spending money is morphing into saving money.

Generation Y has been known to spend money boldly and with few boundaries. In contrast, Generation Z's reality is forcing them to think ahead and prepare. This isn't necessarily bad though; it could help them in the future.

5. Consuming media is shifting to creating media.

Today, young teens prefer to create media posts as opposed to only consuming them. They desire interactive experiences where they can actually participate in their content's outcome.

6. Viral messages on social media are becoming vanishing messages.

Younger kids have witnessed the downsides of being tracked on social media by their parent's, teachers and future employers, now preferring messaging that evaporates, like Snapchat.

7. Standard text messages have now become icon messages.

Kids now choose to send emojis in place of words. They have strong filters and want content to be shared and understood rapidly.

Elmore's Suggestions for Connecting with Generation Z

Elmore suggests seven things we should do to connect with this upcoming generation. Here are a few that stood out to me.

  1. Keep it short. - Remember, Generation Z has a very short attention span. While they are capable of paying attention for long periods of time, the key is to engage them within 6-8 seconds.
  2. Feed their curiosity. - They want to discover new content and pass it on. So, we need to build a hunger for interesting facts and relay why the information is important to know.
  3. Give them ownership. - Students support what they help create. They'll value something they've discovered more than what's given to them without their effort.
  4. Offer them a cause. - Most kids want to do something important. They want to be a part of something meaningful, not hypothetical.

The deeper we dig into Elmore's book, the deeper we want to go in reaching this generation. This is not a "next year" thing nor a change in our vision, it's a reality check. Our move forward begins with our commitment. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world, and for every generation, we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

How Do You March Off a Map?

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Marching Off the Map - Part 1

The truth is, our modern school system simply isn't as effective as it could be. Students are disengaged and disinterested in learning. How can we as leaders, educators, pastors, and communicators better influence the generation we are trying to lead?

Welcome to the first episode of our Marching Off the Map series. For the next five weeks, Pastor Gene and I will be breaking down this insightful book written by Tim Elmore. We have found this book to be a much-needed roadmap for 21st-century educators, parents, coaches, and youth leaders. We would encourage all of our listeners to pick up a copy! You can order one here.

In Chapter 2, Elmore writes about three societies that anthropologist Margaret Mead describes in her works.

1. The Post-Figurative Society

Mead described this era as one that lasted for many centuries. Adults had already determined how life would be for their children, often deciding who they would marry, where they would work, what they would do and even how their children would continue the customs within their society.  This perpetuated the customs of the past resulting in very little change or innovation.

Careers were largely agriculturally based with many people farming crops or livestock. The critical element that differentiated you within this society was physical strength so the youth were heavily relied upon.

2. The Co-Figurative Society

This society was created during the Renaissance, otherwise known as the Age of Enlightenment. As a whole, society began to question its traditions, customs, and way of life. Reason ruled the day as opposed to physical strength. This levelled the playing field between the young and old.

Parents and their children were involved in making the decision of who the child would marry, where they would live, and what their career would be. Everyone had to adjust to change and new innovations, communications, and traditions.

The Renaissance birthed the Industrial Revolution during which new inventions were created to improve efficiency. Science and industry began to control society and access to machinery is what set people apart.

3. The Pre-Figurative Society

The Pre-Figurative Society is what Mead suggests we are living in now. Change is happening so rapidly that adults have almost nothing to offer the next generation in terms of how to deal with new realities. The youth often understand the changes sooner than most adults; they adapt to new technology and innovations far before we do. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for adults to lead the young and can cause leaders to feel irrelevant.

The critical element that differentiates individuals in our society is our minds. That's how most of us make our living and get things done. Mead wrote in her book People and Places: A Book for Young Readers, "In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people’s lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world.

Our Schooling System

In my opinion, we need a new system for educating our students. The evidence for this need is everywhere yet we as a society are too slow in making those changes.

Horace Mann developed the school system we base our current system off of, however, he did so in the 1830's! His design was meant to prepare children for their factory careers. For example, the stereotypical school bell that we have all listened to at some point was first created to mimic a bell meant for shift work in a factory. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a bell, it is a good illustration to show how archaic our education system presently is. Maybe we could look at redesigning the system to better prepare our students for today's world?

6 Radical Ideas for Redesign

At the end of the second chapter, Elmore suggests six radical ideas for redesigning the system:

  1. Experience instead of test scores.
  2. Homework during the day rather than at night.
  3. Open book tests.
  4. Use of images to help retention.
  5. Creativity over compliance.
  6. Teachers in the role of interpreter rather than informer.

These ideas allow us to think differently, to alter our methods by focusing on our results. What if we started with a clean slate and asked ourselves, "If Horace Mann was alive today, what would he do to revamp the current failing school system?"

This is not just an educational issue but a problem we have in churches as well. We are in the education and communication business and our message is the most important one that the world needs to hear.

The message never changes but the methods must be constantly evolving. It may be uncomfortable but it is a necessity in order to keep moving the church forward. Why? Because for every generation, we know that the church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

10 Characteristics of a Pioneer - Part 4

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Changing Our Methods and Finding the Right Team

Are you afraid to change the methods by which you reach people? Is your team committed to your vision? Learn how change and the right team are vital to being a pioneer.

Here we are with the last episode of our pioneering series. If you want to listen to the last three, click the "Inside MyVictory Podcasts" tab above. Here is a review of the previous characteristics:

  1. The pioneer is about risk. The settler is about routine.
  2. Pioneers often don't fit in.
  3. Pioneers are dreamers.
  4. Pioneers are willing to go where they have never been, to do what they have never done.
  5. Pioneers are willing to put up with what is less than ideal.
  6. Pioneers always want to go further.
  7. Pioneers are resilient, resourceful, and tenacious.
  8. Pioneers cultivate the tough land.

Alright, let's dive into the final two factors of a pioneer.

9. Pioneers are willing to fight for what they believe.

Hebrews 11:33 describes heroes of the faith as men and women "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions." Pioneers don't just roll over and play dead when adversity comes their way. In fact, they expect challenges. They know anything good is worth a fight.

I think many of us shrink back from a fight because we value peace over progress. Conflict isn't comfortable, but when we view all conflict as bad, we often don't move forward. Certain conflict is actually necessary and should be expected because, as pioneers, we are in uncharted territory.

We also have the tendency to refuse change. But we have to value the outcome more than our current practices and be willing to modify how we do things. Pioneering in today's ever-shifting culture requires courage and uncompromising commitment.

10. Pioneers are always others-oriented.

By definition, leadership must be others-oriented. Great leaders are noted for their ability to work with teams. To become others oriented, leaders must invest themselves in developing their team's personal and corporate growth.

Pioneers know that their vision is simply too big to accomplish on their own. They must recruit and train a team to help them. In order to recruit the right people, you must clearly define the problem that needs to be solved. Those willing to aid in solving that problem are worthy team members.

In my early ministry, I became focused on the outcome instead of the methods. When I discovered something that worked I stuck with it, and when it was no longer effective, I changed. I am still trying to change and adapt for the outcome. I need to see souls saved and lives changed, or what's the point? After all, the church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in learning more about pioneers, we would encourage you to grab a copy of Marching Off the Map by Tim Elmore. You can find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

5 Strategies for Effective Collaboration

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Have you ever spent time in seemingly unending meetings? Meetings where the collaboration among departments or team members felt limited to the opinion of the heavy hitters and usually prove little long-term value, but plenty of short-term frustration? When you end up frustrated because the “collaboration” is poorly facilitated, what can you do? These 5 Strategies for Effective Collaboration are a good place to start. 

1. Train Your Team for the Future

Not all those that begin as a part of a church plant team will remain for the entire process. However, those that do stick with you are the ones you should invest in the most. Train them in the culture, vision, mission, and best practices of your movement. Today's volunteers could very well be tomorrow's staff so treat them as such. Don't train them for today's problems but for those of the future.

[bctt tweet="Don’t train your staff for today’s problems, train them for those of the future." #leadership username="kellystickel"]

2. Create A Culture of Change

As the church grows, the systems that once worked become less and less effective. When this occurs, a change must be made. This could be removing people from their position or moving them into another position. If you create a culture of change, your leaders will embrace it and look forward to mixing things up. Don't train someone for just one role; train them to be a leader that could take on any role or department. We want leaders, not specialists. I have found that shifting leaders around can often have huge benefits for the organization as a whole. Fresh ideas are expressed and renewed energy breathes new life into that department.

[bctt tweet="Train leaders, not specialists." #leadership username="kellystickel"]

3. Establish a Clear Why

Sometimes organizations or churches try to coordinate an event for the common good of their community.  The players come together initially but further into the project, they back out or become distracted by their obligations at their home base. Sometimes, it ends with the event becoming a one-person show. Where did it go wrong?

In my opinion, it’s all about the “why” of the event. The stronger and clearer the why, the stronger the buy-in from those participating. There has to be a clear-cut benefit for the whole, not just for one or two participants. The why is often connected to the benefits and the benefits are most keenly understood by those who originally birthed the idea for the event. In the end, they are usually the ones committed to seeing it through. But if they have the ability to clearly communicate the benefits of the event to everyone involved, everyone is more likely to remain until completion.

4. Know Your Team Strengths

There are so many tools out there to help leaders find the right people for their team. I’d recommend personality tests like 16 Personalities (which is a Meyers-Briggs test), the Strengths Finder test or DISC tests to discover people’s natural tendencies. Without such tools, leaders are left with only their instincts to determine where best to place team member. But don't be afraid to experiment. If someone is not fit for a position, don’t be afraid to move them to a different one until you find their perfect spot—both for them and for the team as a whole.

5. Invest in Your Leaders

The collaboration of talents, experience and vision is vital to the mission of most organizations. We must follow the example of Jesus. He modelled it best for us. He both invested in His leaders, training the 12 intensely for three years, while at the same time remained true to the gospel by ministering to those who had need. I think we can do the same. We can best train our future leaders by involving them as participants in today’s ministry. We have to keep raising leaders and we have to stay true to the mandate of the gospel because the church is the hope of the world and we’re on a mission to reach every available person at every available time by every available means with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.