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February 10, 2020, 1:28 PM

Pastor's letter for February


The following paragraphs are taken from Transforming Relationships for High Performance by Jody Hoffer Gittell. This book describes the problem all organizations, marriages, families, churches, and companies face today.

“Organizations in virtually every industry are facing pressures to do more with less. Were all being held with a gun to our heads, that if you continue doing things the way we did things, we are going to be a nonentity . . . You cant continue lose people and survive . . . were frustrated . . . We dont get the interest from people that we once got . . . if you dont make the changes, youre going to be doing catering.” There are two ways to respond, low road strategies (pay cuts, increased workload, longer hours, general degradation of working conditions) or High road strategies (mutual gains, win-win, or integrative solutions).

High road strategies are fundamentally relational, powered by high-quality connections across key stakeholders. High-road strategies require stakeholders to create new value and share it fairly. To take the high road requires a different approach—a fundamental transformation of relationships among co-workers, between workers and their customers, and between workers and their leaders. In the pursuit of high road strategies human capital is only half the story—it is through social capital that human capital is combined and leveraged for maximum impact. Thus the primary focus in this book is on relational coordination: coordinating work through high-quality communication, supported by relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect.

An intense data collection effort found that the strength of relational coordination among all the team members demonstrated ….that workers who experience higher relational coordination report better outcomes, including greater job satisfaction, less burnout, more proactive behavior, greater engagement, and greater use of competence in their work. High levels of relational coordination also predict greater worker satisfaction among colleagues in lower-status positions.

 

Relational coordination is simply the patterns of communicating and relating through which workers integrate their tasks into a whole.

 

We are all highly educated, experienced and dedicated people, so Why is coordination such a challenge among people who were well-trained and, for the most part, highly committed to their professional goals?

  1. Lack of effective communication is a big problem. One impediment to effective communication is a perceived lack of respect: if you are not listening to me, I feel disrespected and will stop communicating with you over time. Even when it is safe to speak up, people may stop doing so over time if they feel that others are not listening.
  2. Another problem is a lack of shared goals: if my goal is to complete my functional tasks, rather than to achieve (a wider goal), lack of wider focus decreases my chance of communicating well. Another is a lack of shared knowledge: if I do not understand your work, I may not understand how dependent you are on a timely response from me, or even what constitutes a timely response for you.

3) In the traditional bureaucracy which we have inherited, coordination and communication is

exercised primarily at the level of top management, which keeps frontline workers divided

within their areas of expertise and unaware of the larger picture…. functional division of

responsibility tends to overshadow the sense that each participant is responsible for the whole.

The status hierarchy found in many industries means that people tend to look down on the work done by the colleagues who fall below them. Each participant operates in his or her own bubble, following directives from above without being adequately responsive to colleagues in other functions.

4) Insecurity. the new relationship patterns that are required often disrupt our sense of professional identity—even personal identity. This is particularly true when coordination is required between roles that in the past were not expected to coordinate.

Effective relational coordination requires sharing and integration of knowledge. Relational coordination depends on the recognition by each participant that his or her role is connected to and valued by the other participants. Relational coordination enables us, as workers, to see how our tasks connect to each others tasks. This systems perspective encourages a greater responsiveness to others, building operating capacity and adaptive capacity for organizations, as well as a more engaging way to work.

How to create relational coordination:

  1. Create a relational space—a space in which it is safe to admit what you dont know and to learn from others—(being present with, listening to each other and to God begins this process,) One question that is suggested for discussion is, What do you need from others in order to be your best self?” first in pairs, and then with another pair, and then with the whole group. Organizational change does not start with the adoption of new structures, as my previous work had argued. Rather, it starts with participants changing their patterns of relationships just as they change the way they do the work. Structures cannot be overlooked—indeed, they are essential for supporting and sustaining those new patterns. But by themselves they cannot create those new patterns. Sustainable change is likely to require relational and work process interventions, accompanied by structural interventions.

2) Develop a common vision If the leader is the only one with the vision, there is no vision.”1

Many organizations are now seeking leadership that goes beyond command and control, and

beyond the single heroic or charismatic leader, to achieve a broader, more inclusive process.

3) Work side by side. Relational coordination needs the full support of leaders who understand

and respect the complexity of the work that their employees carry out every day.

Leaders working with co-workers is conducive to building shared goals with them, and to

developing the legitimacy and knowledge needed to provide effective coaching and feedback.

  1. contrast, inside legacy bureaucratic structures leaders spent their limited time \.

communicating performance standards and measuring performance.”

4) Relational leadership creates influence by developing shared goals, shared knowledge, and

mutual respect with and among the members of the team. Workers must be supported by

leaders who practice relational leadership, developing reciprocal relationships of shared goals,

shared knowledge, and mutual respect throughout the organization.

 

The performance pressures we face today cannot be addressed by workers alone, even when they partner closely across functional, organizational, and sectoral boundaries. We also need to coordinate more closely with our customers. Customers are capable of doing important work, particularly with support from skilled workers. This is called coproduction, and we have seen evidence of this emerging trend in many industries.

When we fail to engage our customers and treat them instead as passive recipients of our expertise, we are missing an opportunity to create value and thus to respond to the very performance pressures we are facing. When we extend relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect to include our customers, we are engaging in relational coproduction.”

 

Where are these such principals found in the Bible? God’s interaction with Abraham, Job, the Israelites are great examples. As for the gospels, consider the first five chapters of the gospel of Luke; Jesus was baptized by John, faced temptation, healed people and then set about to proclaim the good news of God first by himself and then by calling, training and leading the 12. It’s all there!! We are meant to walk with God and play on His team, pursuing His vision as valued members of the Body of Christ.

 

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

 

 




December 3, 2019, 9:16 AM

December Letter from Pastor for December 2019


Sarah Young in Jesus Today writes of God:. I AM SOVEREIGN, AND I AM GOOD . THESE ARE essential truths about who I AM . When you are struggling with the brokenness of this world, it can be a challenge to believe both truths simultaneously. Because I am Sovereign, I am ultimately in control of everything that happens—to you and to others.

 

The creator God loves creation through His sprit and speaks the truth through His word. When he does life springs forth. God’s ability to bring life is more powerful than any entity that can take life. His love and truth are more powerful than any darkness and any chaos or catastrophe. God creates life by grace, alone. Life does not come from anyone’s merit. By grace God gave us life, by grace God earned eternal life for all who believe in Christ Jesus.

 

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

The season of Advent is a season of anticipation of the coming of the Christ. We hear the promise and eagerly wait in faith for the fulfillment of the promise. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah.

 

We are called to live every day of our lives in eager anticipation of the Sovereign Lord’s good promises. The life and the circumstances of our lives are all part of God’s faithful promises to us. We have been told in the Word all things work together for good because of God’s sovereign goodness and nothing can separate us from the love of God. When we remember His promises, we are moved to trust him more and walk with him more and more closely. The Word promises that if we abide in

Him we will bear much fruit…spiritual fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, faith, kindness, goodness, and self control. The fruit of the Spirit is formed by Him and our fruitfulness blesses others so that the light of life will dawn in their lives as it has in ours.

 

During Advent and Christmas, celebration is the order of the day. We celebrate wrongly if we celebrate anything but God’s sovereign goodness as revealed in the precious gift of the Messiah, our Savior.

 

I urge us all to fix our eyes on Christ during this season and receive with deep gratitude the gift of life that He alone gives.

 

 

Merry Christmas,

 

The Sharpe Family

 

 




October 9, 2019, 11:41 AM

Vision Newsletter for September 2019 from the Pastor


Welcome to fall! The somewhat more relaxed summer schedule is giving what to the renewed work of the fall. We should pause and give thanks for the summer season before looking with joy and anticipation to the blessings fall will bring.

Scripture calls is to rejoice in every circumstance because you rejoice in the Lord who is the author of all our circumstances. The Apostle Paul writes,

 

Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Rejoicing in the Lord means looking to God who made you, saved you and is with you always even when life is uncertain, hard, and painful. With God you have access to the eternal peace, love, and rest your soul needs to deal with whatever you face in life. God is with you and will show you the way to deal with life to his glory. He promises eternal life with him no matter how painful, embarrassing or humiliating your circumstances may be.

The ability to rejoice in the midst of suffering does not come from humanity, it comes only from God. The ability of a tree to stand the power of the storm does not rest in itself but in its connection to the ground in which its roots are deeply imbedded in the soil.

 

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

The best source of fullness for your soul is to rejoice in the Lord and live in a faithful yoked relationship with the only eternal source of filling for your soul.

When you seek God and rejoice in him you will be filled to overflowing with joy and peace says Paul. Jesus said that by abiding in him you will bear much fruit.

Delighting and rejoicing in God will improve every situation of your life. Every day is stressful. Stress tries to take life from you and drain your soul. Whenever your soul is empty you have nothing to give anyone else. Their despair joins with yours and drains you more and more.

In contrast by turning to the Lord you can delight and rejoice in Him in all situations so your soul is filled and your gentleness will be evident. Your life will bear fruit of love, joy, peace and all the fruit of the spirit. People around you will receive life and be less empty.

 

  1. life we crave, the life everyone craves deep in their souls comes only from God. By delighting in God first good things get even better and we get the ability to resist those things that are sinful and must be resisted. In order to have the life our souls crave we must go to God every day as individuals, as families and as his people, as we go to him now to delight in his love and be filled at his table.

 

 

May God richly bless your Fall season!

 

 

 

Jon




October 9, 2019, 11:00 AM

October 2019 Letter from the Pastor


Psa 424 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?

The psalmist recalls a time when ministry was vital, when he joined with the multitude, when he led the procession to the house of God. But at the time of this writing, his life and his ministry is the opposite of vital. The multitudes have disappeared and he is left alone with a downcast soul. Psalmist and downcast sheep have something important in common. One source defines a downcast sheep as “one that has laid down and can't get up because its center of gravity is off - sometimes because it's pregnant or simply because it has a full fleece. Once down, gasses start to build up in their abdomen and they can die in a matter of hours. If you get them back up on their feet, then they're fine.”

Downcast sheep can’t get themselves up; Other sheep can’t get them up; even the sheepdog can’t help them, only the shepherd can. If the shepherd gets there in time, the sheep he returns the sheep to life with the flock. It is able to return to vitality and fulfill the life giving purpose for which they were made.

Applying the concept of being downcast to people, a downcast person is filled with melancholy and despondency ; "downcast after his defeat"; "feeling discouraged and downhearted” How many tired, discouraged, downhearted downcast people are in our church or used to be? Downcast people are not vital in ministry and they will likely soon separate if they are not set right. How do people get downcast and separated from the flock? They simply try to carry loads that are too big for them over uneven ground. It may not look like it on the surface but aren’t we all downcast in some way at least some times? Where we are downcast we find ourselves alone, isolated, separated from fellowship. We have tried again and again to get up on our own but the floundering as made us exhausted.

  1. Christians who follow the good shepherd we need to be very concerned about what can be done for downcast hearts, downcast people. One thing is sure, they cannot just be left to die. Jesus the good shepherd does not let leave his heavily burdened downcast sheep to die. He comes to save them and out them upright. A great example of how the Lord sets the downcast upright and revitalizes their ministry happens on the Road to Emmaus.

 

Luke 24:13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.

 

The disciples on the road to emmaus were downcast from the stressful and heavy burdens they carried. The one in whom they had placed so much hope was violently taken from them. There seemed to be no point in staying with the other disciples, Instead of staying in Jerusalem with the others they walked to Emmaus, leaving behind the death of Jesus, the sealed tomb, the devastation of his loss. What was the purpose, the meaning of life now? What is the point of living at all?

  1. disciples had no ability to answer such questions for themselves, their faith in Christ was dead and needed to be resurrected. ir lives were downcast and perhaps even close to ending. Only the shepherd could save the. He came to them, joined on their walk with them, listened to them, preached to them and finally broke bread with them. Because of Christ and his presence their lives were reinvigorated, revitalized. In response to the Lord’s love and ministry, they returned to Jerusalem to reinvigorated the faith of the other disciples.
  2. and author and chancellor of Denver Seminary Gordon MacDonald wrote about the concept of the ministry of presence: “Presence describes the kind of engagement in which two or more human beings reach a level of heart-to-heart connection (koinonia, knowing and being known) that doesn't happen casually. It is a connection deep enough that each person is conscious that God is in our midst participating in the conversation. the Lord promised, "Where two or three come together, I am there in the midst of them."“I imagine a mother clutching her child to the breast. The child feels safe, at peace, nurtured, loved. This is presence, and the mother has made it happen. I visualize a shepherd tending his sheep. Because he is in the midst of them, the sheep feel calmed, protected in dangerous places, treated tenderly when there is disease or injury. This is also presence and it happens thanks to the shepherd. I think of a family physician with a patient. As he/she conducts an examination, the patient experiences a lowering of anxiety, a lessening of pain, the assurance of a healing process, a sense of hope that tomorrow will be better. This too is presence, and it is the manner of the doctor that makes it possible. Presence accomplishes things that usually do not happen through preaching or managing programs.
  1. have only recently been exposed to Chancellor MacDonald’s writing, but discovering him was a God thing because MacDonald succinctly states a lesson God has been teaching me for the last 10 years. The Lord has brought me into one on one relationships with people that met on the road of my life. They were lonely isolated, downcast and so was . But by the power of Spirit the Lord brought us together, taught us to listen to each others joy and pain. The Spirit teaches us both the power of the gospel as we seek to apply the good news to day to day life together. Through His ministry of presence we are becoming more vital and more able to engage in the ministry of presence with others.

On the road to Emmaus Jesus used the ministry of presence to turn downcast disciples who whose faith had all but died, into excited and vital ministers of the gospel. In the places our souls are downcast we are unable to participate in vital ministry, because we are tired, lonely and close to death. In order to return to vitality, we need to be heard, we need to hear the word of God and to connect in fellowship and others so that we can be set right. My prayer is that we as a congregation would become active practitioners of the ministry of presence so that new vitality will flow into our lives and ministries at home, at church, and at work.




August 3, 2019, 3:27 PM

August Letter from the Pastor


Do you consider yourself resilient? Do you take a licking and keep on ticking, like the old watch commercial? Or when stressed do you lose your joy, get angry, and even quit? When stressed do you stop caring about others in order to focus on solving your problems? When the problem is solved, when the work is done do you ever have to apologize to those around you for hurtful words or behaviors? Do you find yourself lonelier than you would like to be? If so then you need more resilience.

What is resilience? One definition is “when a person’s health and development tips toward positive outcomes — even when a heavy load of factors is stacked on the negative outcome side.” Everyone experiences mess, brokenness, pain, stress. Resilient people still find the strength and resolve to continue hope and work for positive outcomes.

According to Psychology today “Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make a person resilient, such as a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.” Resilient people do not minimize their faults and failures, they may be acutely aware of them, but they are patient with themselves and others as they work to address their faults and failures. Resilient people stay together in the midst of stress, they work as a team carrying each other’s burdens. Resilient people take the long term view. They demonstrate resolve, patience, hope, optimism which are all very constructive traits that help a person overcome adverse circumstances.

Jesus was resilient. at Gethsemane Jesus received courage to go to the extreme agony of cross by relying on God. Jesus was so resilient He was transformed from a man sweating blood to resolutely facing captors and his fate, all because of His faith in His Heavenly Father.

As Christians we are to be resilient for the same reason Jesus was resilient: because trust God who made paradise from dark chaos, who makes faithful people out of an old worn out idolaters, who makes fruitful disciples out of sinners.

In contrast to a resilient person, A non resilient person might see the glass half empty and would be very afraid of losing what they have. Fear drains hope and brings discouragement. The stresses of life persuade non resilient people to react in anger and even become destructive and murderous because things are so hard for them.

A non resilient person separates from others. They see others as the cause of their problems or at least contributing to them. Non resilient people separate from others and are therefore lonely. In Scripture, who was not resilient? Judas, the Pharisees and Jews that killed Jesus and the Apostle Paul before his conversion.

How can a person become resilient? Resilience like faith, like any relationship, has to be developed. Resilience gets deeper and multi dimensional as it grows, which means that resilience is maintained even in the face of stresses from many and different sources. A Harvard study says the single most common factor for resilience in children is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, friend, or other caregiver.

Development of resilience is also crucial for adults. We all need the support of the Holy Spirit as well as supportive parents, friends, loved ones and communities give us support in order to become can be resilient.

  1. relationships with people are vital to resilience, but deep eternal resilience does not come from human power because human resources are finite. The only one who can offer perfect and eternal support is the one true God. God is the ultimate source of resilience. God is constantly working to create life from nothing, to save sinners and give them new life. Who is more committed to you than the Creator who sent his son to save you and the Holy Spirit to encourage you?
  1. you and I are under stress our hearts demand tangible, visible reasons to have hope. We compare the size our tangible assets to the size of our problems, if the assets are greater than the problem then it’s a relatively easy day. Even a non resilient person can have hope in that case. But when the site of our problems are bigger than our resources or even about the same size, any claim to resilience goes away. But we profess faith in a God who brings blessing out of what is not seen, not tangible.

Heb. 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ……3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

When you trust this God, you have resilience because you know God is sovereign, all powerful; and loved you so much that he sent his son to die for your sins. He is Immanuel, God with us…there is no more stable and committed relationship than the one the eternal God has established through the work of Christ.

 


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