How many licks to the center to a Tootsie Pop? No matter how hard various cartoon creatures have tried, they have all failed to slowly make to the candy center. Because it's the center—that tootsie roll (or bubble gum) core—that everyone loves. It's that core that makes a Tootsie Pop what it is. Otherwise, it's just another run-of-the-mill lollipop. Likewise, there are certain elements that make an effective team: diversity, trust, competence, empowerment, and dialogue.
One evening when our adult kids were home for Christmas, we entertained ourselves with Google translate by translating phrases back and forth to see how they might change. Communicating clearly and effectively is both important and challenging for church and ministry leaders. How often have you conveyed a key message and then been shocked at how it was misunderstood by others? Probably far more often than you would like.
This past summer, I led a group from Woodridge Church to go serve alongside IMB missionaries in Osaka, Japan. On this trip, I saw both the darkness in Japan as well as the hope that Christ offers the Japanese people. That's why I'm excited about an upcoming training for those interested in reaching Japanese people in Japan as well as in Houston. This free event is Friday, September 13th at the UBA offices from 10am-12pm.
One of the things I like about working at Union Baptist Association is the kingdom mentality. I have the privilege of serving outside our institutional boundaries on occasion to serve a broader community. UBA believes we are better together not only at the local level but also as we share the gospel and sow seeds for the Kingdom throughout the world. Here are just three of the many opportunities I have to make a kingdom impact in our city.
Every month, we feature people, events, and ministries we want our people to pray for. So, join us as we pray to and praise God for what He's done, because we're always better together.
When Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on our Texas coast, firefighters like me got a front-row seat to the damage and destruction 27 trillion gallons and 50 inches of rain can cause. We regularly have to deal with destruction. As Chaplain of the Houston Fire Department, I see the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual toll this work can cause. I cannot do this alone and neither can our firefighters. So, I am seeking local churches to work alongside me. Would you help?
I haven’t always been a big fan of teams. My perception of teams was what is commonly known as the 80/20 rule—20% of the people are doing 80% of the work. I generally equated “team” with “committee” and saw both as sterile ground for finding solutions and fertile forums for discord. It was not until I arrived at UBA in 1990 that I encountered a learning culture that differentiated between a group of people on task and a truly high performance team.
I was recently interviewed on a news program and was asked the question, “What is the best way to engage people in conversations that can lead to sharing the gospel?” Of course, there are hundreds of ways, because the Holy Spirit is unlimited and creative in how He can lead us when we are available and responsive. I've found that showing kindness is always a good place to start.
I was recently archiving some files and came across some info from 2005. That year, Hurricane Rita followed Hurricane Katrina by just a month to the day and devastated New Orleans. Many of our UBA churches—large and small—were heavily involved in helping those who had fled New Orleans. We’re deeply thankful for the action of churches when disaster strikes and proud of a legacy of innovative collaboration in our association. Join us as we reminisce and celebrate some ways we've been better together.
I have spent the last eighteen years going on mission and leading teams on mission through the local church. The Lord has used these years to hone the way I see and lead mission trips. Often, we miss out on the full potential of a mission trip because, though we have a Jesus-centered starting point, we fail to have Jesus-centered goals, measures, and expectations. Here are some things to think about as you plan.