When Do You Launch a New Nonprofit or a New Program?

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

It’s the new year, when people think about new habits, new programs, and maybe new nonprofits.

Yet some of the longest-running nonprofits I’ve come in contact with started with someone already doing the work. The founder jumped in because they saw a way to help people and started working with the people needing help. Their passion was contagious. Then, others started taking up the mantel and joined in. Those first volunteers, donors, and friends became board members. And those board members of long ago knew when the time was right to make it a nonprofit, and not a second too soon. From there, whether the founder was around or not, the work continued.

Whether the founder, staff, or board, it’s important for a group to know when it is appropriate to move and when to step back and watch the nonprofit and its program(s) grow on its own. Sometimes an organization will sprout into a new program before the original had a chance to show if it will thrive or not. That first program has to be ready to run itself before the nonprofit ventures into a new program. Know when your program is ripe.

Today’s verse shows the power of giving space for things to grow and not getting caught up in the details. This is an important lesson for board members or founders, who feel the rush of starting something new, whether that is a new nonprofit, a new program, or a new capital campaign. The important take-away is to know when it is time to harvest and time to plant; One program at a time.

Board members need to know when programs or policies are ripe, by watching what is occurring. That does not mean they are fertilizing the soil, transplanting, or otherwise getting involved in the process. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day duties and needs of the nonprofit. Boards exist to note when it is time to harvest or plant new seed. In other words, the board is there not as primary volunteers and definitely not staff, but as policy creators and strategy advisors for the executive team.

Whether your organization began small or big, consider these key take-aways:

  • Don’t move into a new program until your other programs are self-sustaining.
  • If you are a board member, be cautious in getting involved in the day-to-day unless there are no staff.
  • Be brave enough to focus on one movement at a time, then harvest the rewards.

Here’s the lingering question: When do you know the time is right to harvest? Share your thoughts and stories on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

One final tip–your personal core values can become a stabilizing factor when you are launching a new program. Join me for a a one-hour FREE webinar this Thursday on January 21 at 5:30 pm PT to find your Core Values Re-Imagined. Learn more and register here.

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Worth the Wait: How You Can Still Focus While Being Patient

Author’s Note: Thanks to Brian of Writing for Your Life, not only for publishing the blog post below, but also for his encouragement of spiritual authors. Be sure to check out the Writing for Your Life site. Below is an excerpt of the blog posted 12/30/20. You can read it in it’s entirety here.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Have you ever been in a situation like this? You are at home, sitting on the couch. Then you get up and look out the window. Then, back to the couch. Maybe you’ll try to read a book; Maybe not. Set down the book. Look out the window. Wonder if the clock is going backward. Wonder if you should call.

All to see the installation truck come 30 minutes later than anticipated.

Recently I waited for the person to come and install our internet. If you’ve gone without internet, you’ll agree it’s much harder than you think. The reason for the delay was legit, but it tested my patience. I hope I displayed more patience in that situation than in others. If I did have more patience, then it came from one activity: writing. Displaying patience while writing is like waiting for internet when you really need it.

Plenty of classes and seminars exist to help discover the publishing and writing industry (and most of the great ones are here on this site). Degrees exist to help hone the craft. Groups provide accountability and encouragement. But where is the lesson on how to be patient and not stalk publishers? I would like to see that checklist, please!

To be patient means to be active while waiting. I learned that from my mother who is a saint and my picture of perfect patience. She isn’t lazy, but she isn’t idle either. She builds, plans, shapes; And then she sees the flowers bloom, or the stew reach perfection, or the relationship strengthened.

I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of patience in other people, too. As a writer, many have gone before us with stories of rejections, years passing in waiting, and the forever string of edits and requests. And the conclusion of their story is the contract, the agent, the book. It is a picture of actively waiting.

Years ago, at a conference, I found out that the Hebrew language has several different words for waiting. For example, Psalms 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” The “wait” in this verse means, “to bind together (by twisting)” in Hebrew. That reminds me of my mom. Always busy, always patient; Creating a tapestry by twisting and building with focused energy. Patience pays off when idle hands are kept busy; And more than busy—focused on the goal. Actively waiting is biblical and necessary in patience, and in writing.

Another passage helped me understand the value of actively waiting and staying focused on my writing. Psalm 37:7a, which says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him….” This “wait” denotes whirling. It is a different word from Psalms 27 but still translated as “wait” in English. Both words lead us to think about spinning and creating. God’s proactive waiting takes work, time, and creativity.

And it’s not just patience that a writer needs to successfully wait. The element of focus must also be present.

Can I share with you how I know writing has increased my focused patience while I was waiting? It’s a ten-year long story….

Read the rest of this blog and my own personal story of patience here.

Photo by Juliet Furst on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

How to Overcome Burnout

Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God….And all the people gave a great should of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:9, 11b

Have you been overwhelmed? Burnt out?  Tired of being tired?

For me, I find myself in that state during the holidays. For those who work in nonprofits, Christmas is a busy season: fundraising before the calendar year closes, hosting extra parties, feeling compassion fatigue from the extra needs from clients during chilly weather and chilly relationships.

I remember one particularly crispy burned-out season. Yet again, I was tired, agitated, and emotional beyond what was “normal.” It’s the sign that I once again reached burnout. It was Thanksgiving, and all I could do was lie on the bed. And, to boot, I was on a mission trip. I couldn’t get out of bed. How embarrassing for a Christian not to serve on a day aimed to remind us of what we have to be thankful for!

That day, the last time I acknowledged my burnout, was also the turning point on my understanding of my calling. When someone phones-a-friend, and that friend is me, I have no problem saying “sure” in the attitude of servanthood. I had said “sure” to so many things that I was involved in nine different organizations, all doing amazing things and reaching for their missions. How can something so great make you so tired?

While I read today’s passage, Ezra struck me because he could have been burned out and tired before the end of chapter one! Rebuilding the temple is a big job and God handed it to the right person. But God didn’t hand it just to Ezra; He handed it to the Israelites.

Ezra shows us by example how to overcome burnout:

  • He had the backup of leadership (Cyrus)
  • He allowed people to self-select and opt-in on their own
  • He put supervisors into place and made sure they were of one mind and tribe—that they had a singular mission
  • He celebrated the bench marks along the way

Ezra inspires me to empower those on the team already, and to help find new volunteers who are excited to grow.

Burnout is real. That Thanksgiving so many years ago started me on a journey of understanding calling, burnout, and my mission better. I want to offer you two options to help you on your own journey:

  1. Read Burnout by Brad Hambrick. This short book is one of the few books in my life I’ve read more than once.
  2. Discover Your Why (or re-define your why) through a one-hour FREE webinar on January 7 at 5:30 pm PT. It will be a great way to kick off the new year and light your candle for the mission(s) you love.

In the meantime, who is on your team that can lighten the load by growing under your leadership? How will you celebrate the work you do together? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks: https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Who Do You Follow?

Author notes: This is a repost from earlier this year. It reminded me of a short fictional story I wrote and thought I would share with you, based on John 7:32-49. Enjoy!
——————————————————————————————————————–
He stood up. Oh no, I thought, this is going to be a disaster.

A Christmas Eve service is my favorite moment during the Christmas season. It’s the one time that it feels like Christ’s birth is recognized before I am once again covered in consumerism. The feeling is like being wrapped with a hastily bought pre-made bow meant to rouse the receiver to believing a greater value of a re-gift. In other words, the season, apart from the Christmas Eve service, feels like smoke-and-mirrors to me: a bad white elephant gift.

So when the man stood up in the middle of the calm, candle-lit serenade of “Silent Night,” I feared the Christmas magic of a treasured memory would vaporize into another smoke-and-mirrors illusion.

He was the rebel. We all knew it. My small group leader whispered to me earlier that he was from the south side. Someone else asked during last week’s prayer session that we pray for him because she thought he was possessed. I can’t blame them in that assumption. After all, he was socially uncouth, loud, and almost heretical in the claims he randomly declared “truths.” I had not verbalized my own concerns—that he was here to stay in our small congregation, showing up each week with a new odd question that would take too long to answer during Sunday School, veering us from the carefully crafted lesson plan.

When I saw him at the Christmas Eve service, I guided my family to the other side of the sanctuary. No one was going to destroy this one moment. I deserved a holy night.

He stood up. And loudly, over the sound of the piano, bright as the candle that was dripping wax on my cardboard protector, yelled, “I am the light of the world!”

The piano stopped. We all looked at the far corner. We looked at his face that wasn’t anything like the others around us. We looked at his unkempt manners, at his rebellion. We looked. And we stared.

He stood up, interrupted our Christmas Eve service, and now commanded that we acknowledge him as the light of the world. How dare he.

——————————————————————————————————————–
This fictional scene draws parallel to John 7:32-49. The Scripture tells us Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles. Each year, around October, the Jewish community gathered to watch the priest pour water on the altar, while the people chanted a prayer for God to send rains for the winter harvest. On the last day—“the greatest day”—the people walked around the temple seven times (like Jericho). It is this day that “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’” (John 7:37-38). It would be similar to someone standing up in the middle of “Silent Night” at a Christmas Eve service and proclaim themselves as the light of the world. Which, in fact, Jesus did in John 8:12. He declared himself as light of the world.

Meanwhile, “the Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him” (John 7:32) and were determining how to kick Jesus out of their club. Their conspiracies and overheard mumblings occurs before and after the feast.

And all the while, I wonder, how would I respond to such a rebel? If someone were to go against my traditions that were part of my religious routines, would I lay down those habits and follow his example, or would I shush him and ask him to sit? Am I a Pharisee or a Follower? When have I stood up?

I follow a rebel. Do you? Share your thoughts on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

How Should a Nonprofit Engage in Marketing?

When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.

Matthew 9:23-26

I shared with my friend about a nonprofit called Embrace Washington doing a lot of good for children in foster care. She immediately said, “Oh wow! That’s cool what they are doing, how can I get involved?” I was spreading the word just by being excited about this nonprofit’s programming and the outcomes they created.

Embrace Washington has real impact, and my excitement is enough to encourage others to get involved. I realized in that moment that the nonprofit had an excellent program and I had become a marketer on behalf of the organization.

If you work at a nonprofit, do you shudder when someone says, “marketing?” That word can bring up suspicious feelings. Some may think marketing as being untruthful by “putting spin” on a situation. They might remember someone yammering on about a nonprofit in a self-promoting way. Others remember an event that doesn’t hold substance and has 20 solicitations for money. In addition, some nonprofits tend to not employ marketers or consider their marketing plan as integral for them to reach their mission.

However, marketing is necessary and it can be done with integrity. Think of it this way: Marketing is influence (Kay & Shi). John Maxwell teaches that leadership is influence. Therefore, it is possible to view good marketing as good leadership. A bad leader (influencer) is memorable, and so is bad marketing (influence). Those that influence have an obligation to pursue their mission with consistency in all things at all times. If that seems overwhelming, think about how you talk about nonprofits you care about and how you keep on message about the mission. Staying focused on a positive message is good influence and good marketing.

How is it possible to be a good leader and a good marketer? The Bible shows how Jesus “marketed” the ministry in three steps:

  1. Jesus saw that the situation at hand as positive. Good marketing reveals the vision and mission at every turn.
  2. Jesus stayed on mission. He did what He was sent to do, no matter if people laughed at Him or not.
  3. Jesus continued the work. When your nonprofit has programs of excellence and a track record of consistent outcomes and real change in people’s lives, people notice. Good leadership and solid programing produce excellent marketing.

In the end, the best marketing is your strategic plan of how you will be a positive influence. If you continue to be a nonprofit on a mission, then you will have stellar programs with worthy leaders. Word will spread fast—and that is marketing at its finest.

How have you seen a nonprofit stay on mission and that became what everyone was talking about? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Three Questions to Define Your Passion

So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.

Ezekiel 33:22b

During a worship service, each member of the worship team gave their life verse and why they chose it. One woman clearly had a calling. She repeated Proverbs 31:8 which says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Her passion was to use her voice (and boy could she use it to sing!) Before she belted out an old hymn, she said, “Don’t be silent.”

That moment happened eight years ago. I don’t remember what others said, but I remember her because it was clear she could no longer be silent about her passion. It came from depths unknown and was so pure. Her song resonated with me, and started me on the journey to find my own passion.

When you see passion in someone else, it’s obvious and clear as a bird singing in the morning. It cuts through the other noise. How do you know when you’ve found your passion and your voice?

Think through these three questions to define your passion:

  1. When was the last time that you noticed your heart was beating fast because you knew you had to say something or do something? If you can’t remember, be on the lookout for the next time you just can’t stay silent.
  2. When was the last time that you heard someone speak and it stuck with you for years? We hear so much content and voices these days that when you remember a specific example, it’s worth paying attention to. In Becoming a Person of Influence, John Maxwell shares that “most people can recall only 50 percent of what they hear immediately after hearing it. And as time passes, their ability to remember continues to drop. By the next day, their retention is usually down to about 25 percent.” What you remember is critical to…well…remember.
  3. What have you heard in the silence? Sometimes it’s not what you hear, but what you don’t hear. Through prayer, you’ll be able to find the gap. Find where there is a place for you to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8).

When you have found your voice, you are responsible to use it well. When God opens your mouth, don’t be silent. Share your passion and use it to do good in the world for His name’s sake.

What is your passion? Share it on Facebook: facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

As we head into the new year, it’s a great time to massage your passion by Discovering Your Why. Join me for a one-hour webinar on January 7 at 5:30 pm PT. Learn more and register here.

Photo by Amy Tran on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

How to be the Smartest Person in the Room

Caption: Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly….When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the kings’ eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.” Esther 4:1, 4-5

Being the new person on the team is hard and uncomfortable. You don’t know the “norms” and what is acceptable. You want to appear to be smart and successful, so you may choose to cover embarrassing characteristics or history.

I’m experiencing that again as I join a new team. I was listening to a webinar from Dr. Ivan Misner, who said, “If you’re ‘always’ the most successful person in a room – you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms!” That convinced me I am in the “right” room with this new team. Even in my short time on the team, I’ve already said embarrassing things that had people laugh nervously. I’ve already tried to cover up, when instead I needed a new perspective and a new tactic on how to discover the “norms” of this team.

This desire to cover up what could be embarrassing or unwanted is seen in the book of Esther. When Queen Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, heard that everyone from his religious background was to die as part of a genocide, he put on quite a show. Esther heard about it and sent him clothes. She wanted to hide what she thought was wrong.

And then when Mordecai refused, Esther did something very wise. She asked a question. Instead of continuing to push Mordecai to cover up, she upped her curiosity.

To deploy this wisdom and become the smartest and most successful person in the room, do these things:

  • Get into rooms and circles where you are not the most successful or smartest.
  • Resist the initial desire to cover up or ignore the undesirable. Be honest in who you are and what you bring to the group.
  • Most importantly, ask questions.

Here is the challenge that I pass along to you: Spend a full day asking questions only. It’s harder than it may seem, but the growth and understanding will be infinitely more valuable than proving you are the most successful and smartest in the room.

And after you’ve spent a day asking questions, come back and tell me how it went on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com/how-to-be-the-smartest-person-in-the-room

Where Does Gratitude Come From?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

It’s that time of year where gratitude is a common focus. How many thanksgiving cards and greetings have you received? (And, “happy thanksgiving” counts when you see it in an email.) Could you tell what was more of a platitude and what was actual gratitude?

Most of us can detect honesty from obligation. This verse reminds me of how to produce true gratefulness. It begins with Jesus, evolves into peace, and expresses itself through thankfulness.

Like most things in life, what we believe affects our motives which becomes our actions. What I’m noticing is that being thankful comes after letting Christ be the Commander of my heart. Perhaps it is a cause and effect: Jesus brings thankfulness when He reveals what true peace looks like, feels like, and sounds like.

These days, I find if I am not writing I am not at peace. And from that peace I say in earnestness, thank you, dear readers, for your continued support. I’m grateful you are taking the journey with me and supporting the upcoming book.

If you have been in any way encouraged by these blogs, please do share this link with one of your friends in a direct message and ask them to subscribe. I’d be most grateful. 😊

What are you grateful for this season? Where have you found the connection between Jesus’ rule, His peace, and the abundance of gratitude? Let me know on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

How to Start a Nonprofit PART 2

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:23

Author’s Note: If you haven’t read Part 1, go back and take a look. Part 2 builds on the first few building blocks mentioned in Part 1.

The necessary steps required to start a nonprofit are found in the eighth chapter of Ezra. Each nonprofit has their own version of the steps, but generally, all these steps are included. Here are a few more of those steps to consider.

  • Ezra had savings (8:24-30). You can serve people in your target population without money, but you cannot sustain service without money. Ezra used those savings dedicated to the project on what was necessary for the project to continue. And, he was careful to recommend stewarding those funds well.

Today, building the savings would look like working with foundations and donors who see your good work and want to be part, but can’t do the work themselves. They entrust you with the dollars, and it is up to you to apply the funding well to advance the mission. Be careful with what you spend your money on as a startup. There are many shiny objects and glittery things you “need” and on occasion, you find out later they weren’t a need. As Ezra says, “Guard them carefully until you weight them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem…” (8:29).

  • Ezra rested (8:32). When you have accomplished a major hurdle, be certain to rest. Nonprofit work is hard and can be emotionally energizing and depleting. Managing your energy is healthy because compassion fatigue is a real condition.
  • Ezra celebrated (8:35). After resting, celebrating is in order! You may not have reached your mission, but you can pause to rejoice in the forward momentum. Celebrate in a way that is meaningful to the mission. For example, a nonprofit that focuses on child education may have a fun day at the zoo with educational presentations. A nonprofit that engages in medical relief may celebrate with a gourmet meal that highlights the correct nutrition for that particular demographic. A nonprofit who helps people escape homelessness may have a sleepover for the supporters in a fun location. Don’t party in the same way as other organizations because it’s expected. Feel free to get creative.
  • Ezra continued (8:36). When the people reached Jerusalem, they rested, celebrated, and then got right back at it. They reported to the initial investors (donors) and kept doing the work. “They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God.” If you share the stories of what was accomplished, you may find those same people giving to you again to continue the mission.

Other books that speak into maintaining a vision is the book of Nehemiah. A great contemporary resource is <a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=hopelesslyhop-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=159052456X&asins=159052456X&linkId=e6b1647299684c69daede1e28f96ef74&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff"> Andy Standley’s Visioneering, also based on the book of Nehemiah.

What other things do you find important when starting a new nonprofit (or project)? Tell me on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

How to Start a Nonprofit PART 1

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:23

As a nonprofit coach, many people ask about starting a new nonprofit. The passion they have for creating an organization that produces change has many steps. The eighth chapter of Ezra lays out a blueprint for the basic first few steps.

  • Ezra had a team of like-minded individuals (8:1-14). If you are looking at people standing next to you and find that they have the same passion, walk the journey together. On the other hand, if you are passionate about a particular cause and it feels like you are doing it all alone, it’s because you are. The best nonprofits I’ve seen start with people who were already walking the same road and decided to do it together. In modern nonprofits, these are the members of the founding board.
  • Ezra had the authorities approve the plan (7:13-26). Even though this happens first in the previous chapter, it’s important to make sure that you have thought about the ripples and impact on the community. Being in touch with local leaders as well as understanding the filing process is important. (And please contact an attorney for questions about filing, I’m not an expert on the law!) For Ezra to have approval on the plan means he had to have a plan first. As my friend @Christine Soule says frequently, “Be stubborn about the mission, be flexible about the plan.”
  • Ezra paused and reflected on the mission (8:15). Worship required Levites once they arrived in Jerusalem. Ezra paused for three days and during that time, he found this key in being ready to tackle the work to fulfill the mission. Keeping the mission the focus of what you and your team will do is critical in the beginning stages—and for the lifetime of the nonprofit.

What I find interesting is that this pause to reflect happened while the Jews were already on the road. In other words, they were already on a journey and stopped to double-check they were equipped for the mission. Many nonprofits plan and never do the service, or serve without a plan. Make sure you “start the journey” by serving your target population of clients or members right away and have a path of success for them already laid out in part.

  • Ezra hired specialists (8:16-20). When the gap in expertise was evident, Ezra found people who could help. They were already into the journey—already on a mission—when the need became evident. Be careful about hiring too early, but make sure you are aware of the weaknesses of the team.

Many more steps make up the journey, and not all of them were in chapter 8 of Ezra. However, the keys to building the right team, collecting community support, and building a plan kickstarted the journey. Of course, there are moments to pray throughout all these steps.

When have you reflected on your mission, as a nonprofit leader or as an individual? What was the key takeaway from that experience? Tell me on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.