Finish What You Started PART 3

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 

1 John 3:21-23

Have you ever felt compelled to do something because in your gut you knew it was the right thing? If that thing came from a motivation of love, I believe you are on the right track! (More about being motivated by love in Part 1.)

A handful of sentences has stuck with me the past few months. The gist of it was: “Don’t do things right. Instead, do the right thing. It will take you from running around in circles to forward motion” (Manager Tools, see also this article). It seems to me that’s what today’s verse is pointing out. If our hearts are motivated by love to do the right thing, we won’t be stuck in a Pharisee-mindset of doing things right. Don’t work and love out of obligation, but instead be motivated by love to do the right thing.

In the nonprofit sector, it’s easy to get wrapped up in following the rules laid out by others. Funders, regulators, and even volunteers will have a lot of opinions on what you should do and when. Usually, it’s wise to consider the idea, but pursuing good ideas cut off the possibilities of finishing great ideas.

Last week, I shared with you how I’m learning a lot about finishing from Jon Acuff’s book, Finish. Today, it’s the same song, second verse. I’ve been able to apply some of Acuff’s pointers and combined that with some great pointers from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. If you’re learning how to do the right thing, prioritization often comes as a first step. Here’s the steps I pulled from David Allen’s book that made a difference for me:

  • Write it all down. Literally write everything on your mind on paper (or digitally).
  • Organize those items into a system that you can take advantage of when you have spare moments.
  • In the end, “done beats perfect” (also a quote of @ShilaMorris from the John Maxwell Team).

As @DavidAllen says, “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.” Finish what God has asked you to do. Your heart will not condemn you. And if you feel your heart condemning you, then take the bold step to ask for a bold outcome for what you are working on in order to finish it.

What are you finishing this week? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

If what you are finishing is identifying your leadership style, join me for a free webinar this Thursday, April 1 at 5:30 pm PT. Together, we’ll Identify Your Leader Language. Register here.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

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.

Finish What You Started PART 2

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:19-20

Learning about yourself is fun. And edifying. And challenging. I’m a junkie for personality profiles, so when I heard that Patrick Licioni had discovered a pattern for work behaviors, I couldn’t resist. I won’t go into the details of that test called “Working Genius,” but would encourage you to take it yourself and discover more of what God created you to do.

I am, however, bringing up this resource because I learned I’m both a starter and a finisher. I found out that I am strong in Wonder and Tenacity. For me to be on a mission, I have to take on the challenge of how to not start everything today and then try to finish it tomorrow. I love to create the new systems and processes that help people get where they want to go—and then see them accomplish what they set out to do. It’s exhilarating. And exhausting.

These days, I’m learning a lot about finishing. And, I’ve finished a lot, too: a few projects at work, some overdue chores at home, and some books. Speaking of books, Jon Acuff’s book, Finish: Give Yourself The Gift of Done, was read in three days. It’s that good. And, it felt good to finish. I read Finish because I found myself vacillating between two scenarios and the extremes were growing further apart.

Perhaps you’ll recognize one of these two scenarios:

1) You get excited quickly. That new program, that new product, that new donor possibility. They are just waiting to be invited! There’s much to accomplish together, and the community benefits. What’s not to lose? Time, of course! So, you think, “Don’t lose another second! Invite that donor to the event (that hasn’t been planned yet), buy the software (that does what your current software already does), start that program (without getting board approval)! No time like the present to live life fully. Carpe diem!” I usually find myself saying these things when I have some spare hours, energy from the last cup (or it is pot?) of coffee, and a thought partner who ramps up creativity. It’s exciting.

2) You get overwhelmed quickly. That new program, that new product, that new donor possibility. They are all waiting on you. There’s so much to accomplish together, and the community benefits, so you continue to take steps forward. What’s not to lose? Time, of course. So, you think, “I don’t even have a second! I need to invite that donor to the event (that I still need to plan), I should buy the software (that maybe will make the current software better), and start the program (and I know I’ll be slowed by board approval)! There no time to live in the present. Forget carpe diem!” I usually find myself saying these things when I have no hours, no energy, and I’ve asked for no help. It’s draining.

(Spoiler alert ahead!) In either case, Finish helped to get things done and finished. For me, it was a one-two punch to stop rotating between the scenarios above.

  • Cut goals in half, and/or
  • Double the timeline.

Here’s the secret sauce: What made the biggest difference was spending time in the Word. I needed to rest in His presence, knowing that God would not condemn my heart if I didn’t get it all started…or accomplished. Set your heart in truth. Finish what God has asked you to do. Your heart will not condemn you, nor will I, and nor will God.

What goal are you going to change so that you can mark it as finished? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

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.

Who Will You Invite?

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

John 1:39

When the ride share driver dropped me off, he asked if he should wait until I’ve made my way inside. Outside the warehouse in Chicago, the gangs marked their territory. Inside, the women laughed, talked, worked. I had been invited to visit a newer nonprofit in the city called HHPLift, which help women through becoming their employer in the program called 1eleven. The women couldn’t get jobs, maybe because of a conviction, or being a single mom, or housing instability. No matter the reason, they were there, making soap and earning money.

As we walked around their stations, each woman proudly told us about their role. At the end, we got to package the soap with them and hear their stories. One of them told me about President Obama’s former home, which had just gone up for sale. Another spoke about her kiddos and a third chatted about the commute she has to get to the warehouse. I’ve enjoyed following the organization. None of this would have occurred without the invitation.

Today’s verse reminds us that some of the first disciples became disciples because of an invitation. Andrew and another were hanging out by the river when John the Baptist said, “look, y’all, the Son of God!” (my paraphrase). The two got up and asked a question, “Where are you staying?” To which Jesus responded, “Come and see.”

In nonprofit work, we know we do not do the work alone. Funders, volunteers, and board members help the nonprofit get closer to reaching its mission. It begins with an invitation. Sometimes people are courageous to ask, and sometimes the invitation needs to be extended.

In the years since that visit to 1eleven, operations have expanded to so much more and I encourage you to take a peek. Come and see.

Challenge: Who is the one person who would enjoy being connected to the nonprofit you care about? How can you introduce them to come and see? Take the challenge and let us know on Facebook how it went! https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Prayer: Jesus, you ask us to come and see. May we follow this example and show others what you are doing.

Go to the opportunities that align with your values. Want some practical tips on how to define (or refresh) your values? Join me this Thursday (2/4/21) for a FREE webinar, Core Values Re-Imagined at 5:30 PT/8:30 ET. Register here. (And consider inviting a friend.)

Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. 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.

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.