The Leadership Training Event (LTE) 2014

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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matt 18:20 (ESV)

The Leadership Training Event (LTE) 2014 has come and gone and is already a memory of the past.

However, the comments shared by those who attended warm my heart as the impact of the experience continues. There is great joy in hearing from ministry leaders how something taught, shared, felt, experienced or participated in has had an effect on them and has stimulated thinking and self-reflection. Ministry involves connecting with people and in a world that outpaces our ability to keep up with everyday demands, I wonder just how effectively we are able to connect with others. At LTE our goal is to create space for leaders to connect with each other and through those connections, we pray leaders leave feeling encouraged, stimulated, loved, prayed over and cared for. Below are some reflections that leaders have shared. They are insightful comments and I pray they are helpful and a blessing to you.

“Hidden Rules of Poverty”

“The main emphasis of this workshop is that effective ministry across different social strata must be done via relationship.  There was a hand out grid/graph showing the way poor, middle class and upper economic classes view a variety of issues.  For example, the speakers said that while middle class values revolve around achievement, the lower class values typically revolve around relationships.”

“Hidden Rules of Poverty”

“He gave one example at the end that he wanted us to take away from the session.  Apparently the church was spending almost $40,000 a year in what he described as “air-dropped” aid for the poor of the community.  This was events where they would offer free meals or some other service through a planned event that the community was invited to attend.  When the church took a close look at this ministry, they found that over the course of a few years only three people had actually started attending the church through these efforts.

They made a change and started bringing food to the people’s homes (those in need).  While there, they prayed with them, built relationships and looked for underlying concerns.  Additional assistance/solutions were then offered in exchange for attending a class on something like budgeting.  At the class, relationships were encouraged along with the content and after a couple of years, they were spending only a fraction of the $40,000 in direct aid but that the church had about 100 new attendees.

“Hilarious Giving”

“The speaker of this class asserted that joy only comes from giving and most often suffering/sacrificial giving.  He spoke about the importance of finding our identity not in what we do, how we look, etc… but in Christ.

A story he shared that struck me:
The story was about a minister who had a larger number of Indians living around his church.  He was friendly with one particular family and invited them to his church multiple times but to no avail. Then he got some advice that changed things.  He was told ‘Stop praying for them and start praying with them.’  This turned out to be transformative.  The community felt accepted, valued and loved and several prayer groups were started within the community.  Sometime later he was able to baptize this family that he had been trying so hard to get to come to church.”

“Hidden Rules of Poverty”

“I thought that what we really needed to do was to consider how biblical our ‘hidden rules’ are.  My middle class values of being educated, independent and preparing for the future needs to be considered against scripture.  Do the values of strong relationships (held by people in poverty) trump my value of independence in the middle class?  I’m sure there are scriptures that support both, but I’m starting to realize that valuing relationships over independence seems to be a more biblically correct value.  Planning for my future seems like the right thing to do, but does it detract from my trust in God?

“Conversations Using a Coach instead of Advice Giving approach”

“I was reminded that when we are approached by someone who wants to talk about a problem or concern that we need to just listen and try not to fix it for them.  We so want to tell them how we would have taken care of it …when we participated in the exercise while at the training, I was the one who had to answer the questions from the coach and I felt that they really cared about what I was talking about (and about me).”

Thank you for attending LTE 2014! Our hope is that the Lord used something or someone to encourage and equip you in your Christian walk as a leader.

We pray that the Lord will fill you with wisdom, strength, love, hope, joy and mercy in this year. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him!

(Bernita Tuinenga, Co-Executive Director, Volunteers In Service)

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