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Do Whatever It Takes

Leaders, regardless of their positions, need to carefully consider the promises they make. The key question is “Can I keep that promise?” Many factors impact whether leaders can make changes, and it’s not uncommon for those influences to be completely out of their control.

Leading successfully is a challenge not unlike climbing a snowcapped mountain. The higher you go, the thinner the air! Leaders make sincere promises but cannot keep them and feel as if they are climbing higher and higher without a support system. What, then, can leaders do to ensure the success of their work?

Here are several suggestions that can help you as you try to fulfill the promises you’ve made:

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Follow Their Example: Christian Workers Share Jesus with Muslims in Russia

I was spending the day with my grandmother not too long ago when she caught me with my nose in a book. She asked if I was reading for work or for pleasure. This particular book didn’t really qualify for either so I told her that I was reading it for my personal edification. She didn’t seem surprised. She knew that just like her, I love to read and learn new things. That’s why I so enjoy editing Missions Traveler, the International Mission Study magazine for adults and students, each year.

The mission study presents an opportunity to delve deep and learn the facts about and culture of a country, city, or people group. It also provides inspiration to pray for the featured Christian workers and their people group, give to support their work, and follow their example in reaching the lost wherever you are.

Growing as a Leader: Look Outside and Inside

As a teenager in a small Baptist church, I was often given opportunities to grow as a leader. I may not have had the deepest understanding of preschool development, but the church was desperate for someone to “teach the Beginners” in Church Training. I was willing. Advice from a wise longtime teacher encouraged me: “Joyce, act like you know what you’re doing with the children.” So I did. Both the Beginners and I survived.

“Act like” in this context means to assume the role. Call to mind a vision of a more experienced leader, and put yourself in her shoes. Do what you imagine Mrs. B would do.   

Since those early days of trying on various leadership roles, I’ve discovered that leadership can often be reduced—and more easily understood—in terms of a balance between inner and outer.

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6 Things to Celebrate on Orphan Sunday

Orphan—it’s a word with a decidedly sad connotation. The United Nations Children’s Fund and its global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost 1 or both parents to any cause of death. Nearly 140 million children around the world meet that definition. So what is there to celebrate on Orphan Sunday, November 12? Plenty.

1. Celebrate adoptive families in your church and community. Enlist 1 or 2 adoptive parents to share their story of how God used adoption to grow their family and their faith. Ask them to speak during a morning worship service or another churchwide event for this special emphasis, or record their stories and show the video during the service or post it, along with prayer requests, on the church’s Facebook page or website. Pray for these families as they seek to train up their children. Pray for those going through the adoption process as they wait to bring their children home. Ask about other ways your church can support these adoptive families financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 6? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

Change the World with WorldCrafts

Want to change the lives of poverty-stricken and exploited men and women around the world? There’s no better time to start than October, which is Fair Trade Month. And there’s no better way to start than by supporting WorldCrafts, a division of WMU.

WorldCrafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people worldwide. Its vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

WorldCrafts is committed to its in-country partners and artisan groups. It develops viable employment for poverty-stricken and exploited women and men.

WorldCrafts is holistic. Its artisan groups meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their workers. Men and women receive job training, comfort, camaraderie, and the promise of eternal hope.

Soup’s On! Time to Collect the Global Hunger Offering

The large soup kettle is in place. The congregation waits expectantly until the pastor invites everyone to come forward and place his or her global hunger offering into the kettle. Before long, several thousand dollars have been given. This scene occurs every year at Dorrisville Baptist Church. One might ask why this church, which is by no means the largest church in Illinois, gives so generously to global hunger. The answer is simple: church members’ eyes are opened regularly to the needs of people who are hungry (physically and spiritually) and they are encouraged to make a difference.

In the Midst of Busyness, Stop, Drop, and Roll

Since my retirement, I have come to understand how easy it is to slip into a cycle of busy activity. Much of this activity stems from the creativity and needs of others. Suddenly, I do not have the constraint of Monday through Friday employment to prevent my “yes” response. So, when I’m invited to participate—from luncheons to a ministry opportunity—I have no reason to decline. My calendar can quickly fill up!

Not everyone is retired. In fact, many women leaders strive to balance work outside the home and their family obligations. But I believe the principle of making choices about involvement holds true for the unemployed (or retired) as well as the working woman with or without family responsibilities.

How to choose? Perhaps there’s some guidance in an unlikely place. The fire safety technique taught to children—stop, drop, and roll—may help direct our decision-making.

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The Right Questions

I like to ask questions, sometimes to the dismay of my co-workers. I also like to have information as I make decisions, and questions help me secure the needed information.

Asking questions is another way of evaluating—something we should continually be doing. While we often evaluate at the completion of an event, the beginning of the church year is another great time to do so. Let’s Connect the Dots by asking the following questions:

Reporting: Share Your Heart

Reporting. It is a word that immediately conjures up negative thoughts in the minds of many. Reporting is often associated with endless facts and statistics, which can lead one to lose interest in the subject that is being reported. It doesn’t have to be that way!

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