Here at Send Me St. Louis, we have the unique opportunity to hear from local, regional, and national leaders about how they make deep, lasting connections happen in their respective areas. As our kids head back to school and start refreshing their lessons from last year, we thought it would be appropriate to review the big lessons we’ve learned, too.
Read on to see what ideas have changed us for the better – and share what ideas have changed you!
#1 – ‘Up and to the Right’
An expression we first heard at LifeServe 2011, this saying from Pastor Rick Rusaw of LifeBridge Christian Church has had us talking ever since.
Take a look at this graph. As people move up the X axis (in their depth of engagement) and to the right on the Y axis (in their frequency of engagement), the opportunity for transformation grows. Rick Ruwas attributed much of his ministry’s success to continually thinking how they can make experiences that move people up and to the right – that is to say, into deeper engagement with the people they serve, over a longer/more regular period of time.
As an example, rather than simply buying an animal through Heifer International, a church would also host a series on poverty in a country of their choosing, target their donations to that country, and begin looking for ways to come alongside churches in that part of the world. Rather than settling for an annual event based on money and things, the church would continually seek ways to build deeper connections around that issue.
#2: The Importance of Reflection
It’s very easy to charge ahead of ourselves, moving from one project or task to the next without pause. But as this information from Kent Sate University indicates, taking time to rest and reflect allows us to recognize and own the impact of our experiences.
While we’ve always encouraged reflection for volunteers, we’ve taken steps to incorporate regular reflection in our work here at Send Me. Three pieces of presentation paper hang in our office, reminding us to take note of where we saw the needle moving, where we saw God moving, and what we consider to be the “best of” each month. It’s increased our thankfulness and helped us keep abreast of great things going on around us – it’s made a great impression on our work environment, too!
#3: Keep things R.E.A.L.
A practice championed by our own Matthew Schultz, “keeping it REAL” reminds us to do all we can to make things Relational, Experiential, Applicable, and Learner-Based. This philosophy, pioneered by Church Volunteer Central, asks us to relate to people in ways that connect them with others, their experience, their everyday needs, and their desire to excel.
How do you keep things R.E.A.L with your church and/or volunteers? Where do you build in time for reflection? How do you gauge transformation in your church/program and people?
Let us know on facebook, and share what ideas made an impact on you in the past year!