"While they were perplexed about this, behold two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, 'Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen!" ~ Luke 24:4-6
Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life, in Christ Jesus. WOW! Just think about that for a minute. What an incredible blessing. And this is the awesome gift of grace that we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday 2014!
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” ~ John 11:25-26
As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday 2014, we’re certainly mindful of the fact that Easter is the highest attended church service of the year! Many church members will bring guests to church with them, and many non-churched people will often choose Easter Sunday as the one day in the year they will attend a church service. Consequently, many churches have developed social media plans to encourage and invite others to participate in their Easter Week activities and services.
The following are some great ways social media is being used to share Resurrection Sunday 2014:
Praying You Have A Blessed Easter 2014!
Until next time,
Overcoming the Digital Divide
The Digital Divide (DD) can, basically, be described as the reality that the nation, as well as the world, is divided into two camps - people who have access to information and communications technology (ICT), and those who don't. This is important because, in today's digital world, access to ICT (including high speed internet, tablet computers, smart phones, etc.) is critical to economic success and personal development.
The Digital Divide (DD) exists between those in the cities and those in rural areas. For example a recent study showed the vast majority of Internet delivery was to the 20 largest cities. The DD also exists between the educated and the uneducated, between economic classes, and globally, between the more and less economically developed nations.
Individuals with access to internet connectivity, generally, have more opportunities to achieve enhanced social and cultural capital, as well as, higher levels of economic productivity gains. Therefore, access to information and communications technology (ICT) is critical to overcoming the DD.
Access to ICT is determined to a large extent by income. Studies show individuals at higher socio-economic levels have greater access to ICT than those at lower levels. One solution to overcoming the DD is to lower the costs of ICT. Another solution is to share access to ICT. One way to address the access problem is to provide public spaces where people can access computers, the Internet, and other digital technologies. Examples of this would be public libraries equipped with computers, school-based technology centers, community telecenters, etc.
An additional solution to help overcome DD is to develop strategies and policies to help raise more people out of poverty.
ICT access is not the only barrier to overcoming the DD, especially for economically disadvantaged and rural communities. Two additional obstacles are 1) inadequate infrastructure, and 2) the capacity of users to comprehend the information the internet provides. There is a new French term, 'illectronisme', which refers to electronic illiteracy. Thus, more focus is needed on building additional ICT infrastructure, and improving electronic literacy and computer skills. A greater awareness is, therefore, required to achieve, not only, increased ICT access and usage, but, also, more effective ICT access and usage.
Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and LinkedIn are both manifestations, and means by which to overcome the DD. These social media networks empower users from communities with less ICT access and literacy to increase their knowledge of digital terminology and technology, practice computer skills, and access and share information, services, and economic resources.
Finally, overcoming the DD would ensure the opportunity, not only, for effective ICT access and usage at the individual level, but also for effective access and usage at the community level, providing the means for more effective use of ICT for community betterment and empowerment, to include issues around access to and use of 'open data'.
For more information on overcoming the DD see the following links:
Comcast and Khan Academy Announce Multi-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Partnership to Help Close the Digital and Educational Divide - Comcast
Close The Gap - close-the-gap.org
The Digital Divide: Resource Roundup - Edutopia
The Digital Divide Will Ensure A Broadband Ghetto - gigaom.com
Mending the Breach - Overcoming the Digital Divide - Edutopia
Obama Announces Public and Private Investments for High-Speed Internet in Schools - Washington Post Online
Open Data Yields Apps For The Civic Minded - sfgate.com
Your City Needs These 7 Open Data Apps - Mashable
What suggestions or recommendations do you have for overcoming the DD (Digital Divide)?
Until next time,
Today, the term ‘inequality’ is everywhere - on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and more and frequently, online. But the area of ‘inequality’ that’s not getting enough attention is the ‘digital divide’!
The digital divide is an economic inequality between individuals and groups, in terms of who has access to, use of, and knowledge of information and communications technology (ICT). It refers to inequalities between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socioeconomic and other demographic levels.
Who has access to high speed internet, desktop computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets such as iPads, electronic book readers, MP3 players, and Xboxes or PlayStations? Studies show that individuals and groups at higher economic levels have far greater access to these ICT's (information and communication technologies) than those at lower economic levels. And this matters, a lot, because those with greater access have enhanced advantages and opportunities for acquiring information, education, economic resources, and services (including online medicine where patients at home will be able to speak with their doctors online, and thus get access to lower-cost, higher-quality of care). This all translates into enhanced advantages in achieving cultural and social capital, as well as mass economic gains due to greatly increased productivity.
One of the most important social, economic, and ethical questions facing us today is this: How can the incredible benefits of the internet and new information and communications technologies be made available to a broader range of individuals and groups, especially those in disadvantaged communities?
It’s, definitely, time to close this ‘digital divide’ (dd) so that everyone can benefit from the tremendous advantages and benefits offered by these rapidly evolving digital ICT's (information and communications technologies), which are so important to one’s ability to succeed in today’s digital world, and to the betterment of one's community.
Let’s make sure no one gets left behind!
For more information on the ‘digital divide’ and effective ways to address it see the following links:
'App Gap' Emerges Highlighting Savvy Mobile Children - gigaom.com
Close The Gap - close-the-gap.org
Comcast and Khan Academy Announce Partnership to Help Close Digital Divide - Comcast
Digital Divide - Wikipedia
Digital Divides and Bridges: Technology Use Among Youth - Pew Research Center
Falling Through the Net: A Survey of the "Have Nots" in Rural and Urban America - U. S. Dept. of Commerce
The Digital Divide Isn't Racial - It's Economic - Salon.com
The Digital Divide: Resource Roundup - Edutopia
The Digital Divide Will Ensure A Broadband Ghetto - gigaom.com
The Digital Divide: Where We Are - Edutopia
The New Digital Divide - New York Times Sunday Review
Obama Announces Public and Private Investments for High-Speed Internet in Schools - Washington Post
One Laptop Per Child - one.laptop.org
Has the digital divide affected you? What examples can you give, or suggestions can you make, to help close the digital divide?
Until next time,
A Tribute to Nelson Mandela
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9
Today, December 10, 2013, marks the Twentieth Anniversary of Nelson Mandela receiving the Noble Peace Prize in Norway's Oslo City Hall on December 10, 1993 (along with F.W. de Klerk).
In addition, today his family, world leaders, and the people of South Africa said goodbye to the extraordinary man, Nelson Mandela, who passed on Thursday night, December 5, 2013 at the age of 95. As was said at the passing of another great leader, Abraham Lincoln, now, Madiba "belongs to the Ages."
Nelson Mandela, a true inspiration to millions around the world, has been accorded many accolades: Father of Modern South Africa, Giant of History, Fearless Freedom Fighter, Lawyer, Defender of the Oppressed, Moral Compass, Greatest Leader of Our Age, Unifier, Colossus of World Leaders, Liberator, and Global Icon. Yet, the one I like best is 'Peacemaker', for Nelson Mandela personified the Peacemaker's true spirit with his tremendous strength of moral character in the face of South African apartheid, one of the world's most brutal regimes, and his enduring power to accept and forgive his oppressors. WOW! As has been famously said, "We will never see the like of Nelson Mandela again."
Defying all odds, Nelson Mandela, a young South African lawyer, endured harassment, apartheid, and political imprisonment, yet emerged with dignity, grace, and respect to embrace and forgive his former jailers, oppressors, and political enemies. In his moving autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote, on the last day of his 27-year imprisonment, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison." And his extraordinary ability to leave the bitterness and hatred behind, empowered Mandela to become one of the world's most truly beloved, influential, and transformational leaders.
In 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first elected black President. Instead of seeking revenge against those who had brutally oppressed the African majority, Mandela the Peacemaker, sought reconciliation. He spearheaded South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where victims of racist violence and torture could testify to what they had endured, and perpetrators could tell their stories, as well. The Commission granted former government officials and employees amnesty for their honesty about what they did. This process was a triumph of compassion and mercy that, most definitely, helped to begin the healing of the nation's deepest wounds. It was truly a giant step toward the establishment of a democratic, non-racial South African state.
In a recent piece in TIME, Bono, who considered Nelson Mandela a personal role model and mentor, relates that Mandela's vision went far beyond racial reconciliation, which in itself was huge. Mandela saw the fight against extreme poverty as part of the same struggle as the fight against apartheid and racial injustice. Mandela campaigned for economic justice and development, not only in South Africa, but for all of Sub-Saharan Africa, and throughout the entire under-developed world. Indeed, Mandela's tireless efforts have helped Africa experience its best decade of economic growth and poverty reduction.
Nelson Mandela was one of the most vocal leaders in the campaign against HIV/AIDS around the world, and especially in South Africa. He fought against corruption in governance in Africa, and across the planet. In addition, Nelson Mandela was a world leader for the dignity of, and assistance to those with disabilities and special needs. The Nelson Mandela Foundation carries on his remarkable work today.
Nelson Mandela, the Peacemaker, modeled Christ-like forgiveness for the world. He stated, "If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are roads that lead to their goal. Two of those roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness."
While Nelson Mandela's long walk to freedom is over, let us follow those roads, Goodness and Forgiveness, and continue to work for racial reconciliation, social justice, human dignity, an end to the hunger and grinding poverty that still ensnare so many around the world today, and reach out to those with disabilities and special needs.
Nelson 'Madiba' Mandela, May You Rest in Peace. God Bless.
Until next time,
Happy Thanksgiving 2013 to You and Your Family!
Thanksgiving 2013 is Thursday, the 28th of November! And I think most of us can honestly say that we have been truly blessed, and have so very much to be thankful for!
As we celebrate Thanksgiving 2013 let us, however, remember the less fortunate neighbors in our communities.
Below you will find a continuation of the list of Turkey Giveaways and free Thanksgiving Dinners that we began in last week's blog post, Happy Thanksgiving 2013!
Please feel free to add to this list any turkey giveaways or free Thanksgiving meals you may know of, so that everyone may enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving 2013!
Happy Thanksgiving 2013! May God Bless You Richly!
Free Thanksgiving Dinners and Giveaways in Flint on Tap for the Public This Week - Mlive.com
Free Thanksgiving Meals to be Served Up in Portage, Paw Paw and Elsewhere in Kalamazoo Area - Mlive
Free Thanksgiving Meals Available at South Side Locales - DNAinfo Chicago
Free Thanksgiving Meals Offered - Allentown City/ Lancaster County, PA - Examiner.com
Free Thanksgiving Meals in Myrtle Beach Area - activerain.com
Give Or Receive This Thanksgiving/ Muncie, Indiana - The Star Press
Grace Church Offering Thanksgiving Dinners/ Mt. Washington - South Pittsburg Reporter
Community Groups Set Table for Thanksgiving Cheer - Sentinel And Enterprise
Free Thanksgiving Dinners Offered Throughout Community - WCTV.TV
58th Annual Goodwill Industries Thanksgiving Dinner and Family Action Fair - HealthCare Access
Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner MD Events - Events.MDpennysaver.com
All Invited to Community Thanksgiving - Times-Herald.com
Free Thanksgiving Meals - Indystar.com
Thanksgiving Goal: Turkey @ Every Table - Capital Area Food Bank
DC Councilmember Jim Graham to Give Away Turkeys - WP Post Local
Happy Thanksgiving 2013!
Wishing You and Your Family a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving 2013!
The following is a list of Turkey Giveaways and free Thanksgiving meals for Thanksgiving 2013. Much Love & Appreciation to all the sponsors of Turkey Giveaways and free Thanksgiving dinners this year. You are The VERY BEST!
(Btw, please feel free to share information about any Turkey Giveways or free Thanksgiving dinners you may be aware of, so that everyone can enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving 2013! Be Blessed!)
Second Harvest Thanksgiving Dinner and Giveaway Date: November 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Location: Everbank Field, Parking lot E, Jacksonville, FL, Ticket Information: Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to residents of Duval County ONLY while supplies last. Meals will be distributed to Duval County residents Only that meet one of these criteria: 1) Income eligibility (If your household income is at or below the income level for the number of people in your household, you are eligible to receive food.); 2) You are eligible to receive food from TEFAP if your household meets the income guidelines or participates in any of the following programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid. For more information contact Second Harvest North Florida, Tel. 904-353-3663, contact@WeNourishHope.org.
2013 Turkey Give-Away! Join Dr. Willie O. Jones, 64th District Assemblyman, City of Compton, CA When: Monday, November 25, 2013, 10 AM - 1PM. Where: Urban Youth Baseball Academy (Compton College) 1111 E. Artesia Blvd., Compton, CA 90221. For more info. tel. 310-605-5662, email@example.com. (Recipients must be residents of the City of Compton, CA or the 64th Assembly District. Must have valid ID.) Only one (1) turkey per household.
Thanksgiving Turkey Give-A-Way & Health Fair. When: Thursday, November 21, 2013, 2 PM - 6 PM. Where: Advantage Health Care Systems, 214 West Colorado Blvd., Dallas, TX 75208. You must register to receive a free turkey. To register: 1) You must be a resident of the City of Dallas. 2) Not an employee of the City of Dallas. 3) Call 214-671-9791 and leave your name and number. You will be called back to confirm your address and that a turkey has been reserved for you. Calls will be returned in order received. Limit one (1) per household while supplies last.
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. Annual Turkey Giveaway. When: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 1 PM - 3 PM. Where: St. Louis County Div., 8960 Jennings Station Rd., Jennings, MO. Approx. 500 Turkey Baskets available. First come, first served while supplies last. You must bring the following to be eligible: 1) Picture ID, 2) Proof of income, 3) Proof residence, 4) Social security cards for household. Must meet HHS 200% Fed. Poverty Level Guidelines. Call Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. for more information.
The Young Black Professional Network of Charlottesville will giveaway 100 turkeys to families in need. When: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. Where: Jefferson School, African American Heritage Center, Charlottesville, VA. Contact the Young Black Professional Network for more information.
Save the Date: Nov. 23rd Turkey Giveaway, Grace Church, When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 10 AM - 12 NOON. Where: Dumfries Youth Center (DYC), 17889 Fraley Blvd., Commerce Center, Dumfries, VA. In order to receive a turkey recipient MUST fill out a registration slip and turn in. For more information tel. 703-445-1299, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiness Tabernacle Church Annual Turkey Giveaway. When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 10:00 a.m. Where: Holiness Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, 1440 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge, VA. Holiness Tabernacle Church is committed to providing a helping hand to those in need. For more information tel. 703-497-7928.
D. C. Council Member Jim Graham is distributing 650 turkeys to families in public housing in the District of Columbia. When: Friday, November 22, 2013. Where: Various District of Columbia Public Housing complexes. The turkey giveaway is sponsored by the District of Columbia Housing Authority, Harris Teeter, JBG Companies, and Career Path D.C. Contact the office of Council Member Jim Graham or the District of Columbia Housing Authority for more information.
The Capital Area Food Bank seeks to put a Turkey@Every Table for seniors wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal with family and friends in the D. C. Area. Seniors 55 and older eligible to participate, if enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps (SNAP), or Medicaid programs. For more information contact tel. 202-644-9800/ 703-541-3063/ capitalareafoodbank.org.
Please note: The above information is gathered from public information freely available on the Internet and other public sources. I take no personal responsibility for the accuracy of this information. Please check with the event sponsors for confirmation.
Facebook and Ministry
A number of people have posed the question, should a pastor or church be on Facebook?
While many view Facebook as either a source of temptation or a total waste of time, there are, in fact, a number of very good reasons for churches and ministries to be on Facebook.
There are currently over 1 billion people on Facebook today. Digital technology has empowered people to engage online, and they are doing so at an increasing pace. Online social interaction is growing so rapidly that it's difficult for demographers to even keep track of it. Facebook has emerged as the world's #1 social networking platform, and people are on it 24/7!
Having a presence on Facebook provides a great opportunity for pastors and churches to connect with the very people they are trying to reach. Chances are, many of their church members are already on FB - posting status updates, 'liking', commenting on posts, and generally engaging with others online.
Facebook is a great way for pastors to stay connected with their congregations beyond the sermon on Sunday. And since Facebook is interactive, it also gives members access to their pastors that they might not ordinarily have.
FB gives pastors a real opportunity to be 'online shepherds'. In addition, Facebook is a great way for pastors to introduce people to their churches and ministries. And in fact, for many people, Facebook has replaced the 'Yellow Pages' as their primary means of finding churches in new communities!
Outstanding examples of churches on Facebook include Bishop T. D. Jakes Ministries and The United Methodist Church.
In my recent book, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY Sharing the Gospel in the Digital Age (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes), I point out '100 Ways to Use Facebook to Help Grow a Ministry'.
Finally, having a positive presence on Facebook is a great way to help fulfill the Great Commission, Jesus' final instructions to the disciples while he was still physically here!
For more examples of how churches are using Facebook to share the gospel see the following:
List of Most Popular Facebook Pages of Churches and Ministries - djchuang.com
Stay on top of all things 'church social media' daily at SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS!
How is your church using Facebook to creatively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Until next time,
Share Jesus and Love People
In 1989, 'Do the Right Thing', Director Spike Lee's hit motion picture, came out. It was very commercially successful, and garnered numerous accolades and awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.
In today's hectic, fast-paced world there are so many uses to which we can put our valuable time and talents. So, of all the many things we could do daily, how do we determine how to do the right thing?
We want our actions, first of all, to be good and not bad. We want them to be constructive, not destructive; sound and not foolish. Doing what is good is one of the most basic definitions of doing the right thing. Doing what is good helps to lead us to a satisfying, fulfilling and successful life!
And sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others is one of the best things we can possibly do. As documented in Matthew 28:19-20, it is the last recorded, personal directive of Jesus to his disciples. Sharing the gospel with others is the 'Great Commission', not the 'Great Suggestion'! Putting our faith into action, is without a doubt, a model of doing the right thing.
The English poet, John Donne, famously wrote; "No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, part of the Main..." Like ripples from a pebble tossed into the sea, every action we take has an indelible impact on others: our families, our neighbors, the continent of humanity, the Main.
In Matthew 22:39 Jesus tells us to "Love your neighbor as yourself." He didn't say hate your neighbor, deceive your neighbor, nor rip your neighbor off. "Love your neighbor." And loving your neighbor involves doing an abundance of good for your fellow human being, just as you would do for yourself. Loving your neighbor, therefore, absolutely qualifies as another prime example of doing the right thing.
So, we can, in all good conscience, daily 1) share Jesus, and 2) love others - with the greatest confidence in knowing that we are doing the right thing!
Until next time,
Champion Winning Attitude
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Did you know there's a champion inside of you? Well, there is! And over the past year we've devoted our 'Championship Series' of blog posts to unleashing that immeasurable, hidden potential residing inside of you.
Today's final topic is one of the critical keys to releasing that dormant potential. It is a small thing that makes a huge difference. It is what gives a champion a decided advantage over the competition. It is a winning attitude!
It's so important for you to see yourself as the winner that you truly are. (See Jeremiah 29:11.) You have favor! However, it's up to you to receive it, in order to really begin to experience your true, full potential.
If you don't see yourself as a winner, you can't expect to perform as a winner, let alone perform as a champion. Champions see themselves as winners. They always expect to win. Champions visualize the victory long before it happens. Their attitude (and preparation) give them a supreme confidence that they can't lose. They believe it before they see it. (See 2 Corinthians 5:7.)
NFL Hall of Famer, Joe Namath, told the world his 18-point underdog, New York Jets football team would win Super Bowl III. And they did! In January 1969, the Jets won a stunning 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts! A winning attitude is indispensable for a champion.
There are many who possess the potential, the capabilities to win. But at the end of the day, only one will take home that gold medal. And that will be the person with the strongest mindset, the greatest desire and confidence to prevail, the one with the winning attitude.
Roger Bannister broke one of sports' seemingly impossible barriers when he ran the mile in under 4 minutes in 1954. He had put in months of excruciating physical practice. However, in order to shatter the 4 minute barrier Bannister had to visualize himself doing so. So, he imagined his entire run, every stride, every turn, every second from start to the finish. And on May 6, 1954 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, U.K., Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 min. 59.4 sec., shattering the previous record! He had that indispensable, championship confidence that he could do it. He had a winning attitude!
Legendary NBA Champion, Michael Jordan, stated that the ability to achieve starts in your mind. It was a fact that he learned at an early age. Your thinking, your attitude can restrain you, or propel you forward. People can sense and feel your attitude. If you don't like someone, it's virtually impossible to hide it. People pick up on the vibes! Champions know that if you don't have confidence in yourself, the world will know, and, more importantly, you won't be able to achieve your dreams.
Self-confidence is possibly the primary mental skill that championship athletes possess. It is a very strong belief in their ability to perform well at a high level. They see themselves as winners. Consequently, champions think, act and behave in very confident ways. Don't hate on the swag because they exude an energy of success, an expectancy that, yes, they will win! Champions plan to win, prepare to win, and, definitely, anticipate winning without a doubt. And more often than not, they are victorious!
Champions have an adaptive, positive, winning attitude. This attitude, associated with high achievement and success, is characterized by 1) setting high standards; 2) being well organized; 3) liking recognition; 4) low concern regarding mistakes; and 5) confidence in their ability to perform. It's an attitude that allows them to remain positive in the face of difficulties, and to rebound quickly when failures are experienced. It triggers enthusiasm, enhances creativity, and causes positive things to happen!
When they're competing, champions seem to be able to shift into another gear, to reach down and tap into a hidden reserve tank of energy that many find truly astonishing, especially their competitors! The Apostle Paul states, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) It is this connection with Christ, Paul tells us, that strengthens us by the power of His might and grace! We are empowered to overcome any barrier, and to perform extraordinarily, whatever task or burden we might face; not through our strength, but through His! Paul, truly, had a winning attitude!
So, we have come full circle, from the first post of our 'Championship Series'! We began twelve months ago with the Apostle Paul's admonition, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So, run to win." 1 Corinthians 9:24.
The race, of which Paul speaks, is an allusion to the Grecian, triennial Isthmian games, with which the Corinthians were well acquainted. These athletic games would be like the Olympic Games which we know today. The prize was a crown, fashioned of branches and leaves, which was held by the president, or judge, of the games and was awarded to the winner of the race. So, what is the moral of the story?
The race track is this world, or present life. The runners are Christians running the race of this life. The president, the Righteous Judge, is Jesus Christ, the forerunner, who has already, triumphantly, completed the course, and sits on a throne holding the crown. The crown is eternal life. The act of running is forward motion: the saints seeking to know the LORD; striving in holiness, faithfulness, service, and truth. While running the racers strive to keep their focus on the mark, Jesus Christ, the Righteous Judge. (Remember what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back?)
The end of the running is to obtain the prize, the incorruptible crown of eternal life. The runners strive to see who can do the most service for Jesus Christ; who can bring Him the most glory. This is what the race is all about.
As we persevere in running the race of this life, in the path of duty and obedience, we eagerly look forward, at the end, to stretching forth our hands and receiving the crown of eternal life! Champions, run your race the very best that you can. Run with an attitude - a winning attitude! Yes, run, indeed, to win!
Run the good race, fight the good fight, and lay hold on eternal life! 1 Timothy 6:12
You are a champion in Christ Jesus!
Until next time,
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Welcome to the latest in our ‘Championship Series’ of blog posts. Today’s topic is the key characteristic of teamwork. And every true champion understands on a very deep level the meaning of the concept, "teamwork, definitely, makes the dream work!"
Teamwork is work done by several associates with each doing a part, but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole in achieving a shared goal.
People on successful teams surrender ego in favor of altruism. Even though NBA legend Michael Jordan was the quintessential one-on-one player, he clearly understood that winning big required getting all his teammates involved in sharing a championship team vision. And not just sharing in the vision, but taking personal ownership of it!
Michael Jordan had that uncanny ability that champions possess of getting everyone of his teammates actively and emotionally involved in transforming the championship vision into reality.
In a couple of those championship seasons with the Chicago Bulls, it wasn't Jordan who hit the winning shot. Instead, it was Jordan who drew in the opponent's defense and passed the ball off to an open teammate who scored the winning basket. It was teamwork that made the Bulls' championship dream work!
Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson stated, “A great player can only do so much on his own, no matter how breathtaking his one-on-one moves. If he is out of sync psychologically with everyone else, the team will never achieve the harmony needed to win.”
Making the championship dream work through the vehicle of the team is essentially a social process, or more precisely ten (10) processes that fall into three (3) basic categories:
Transition processes [between periods of action] - 1) Mission analysis, 2) Goal specification, and 3) Strategy formulation.
Action processes [when the team attempts to accomplish its goals and objectives] - 4) Monitoring progress toward goals, 5) Systems monitoring, 6) Team monitoring and backup behavior, and 7) Coordination.
Interpersonal processes [present in both action periods and transition periods] - 8) Conflict management, 9) Motivation and confidence building, and 10) Affect management.
Studies have shown team training is key to promoting teamwork, and critical to enhancing team performance and success.
Champions are keenly aware of the following benefits and advantages of teamwork:
Problems solving – Two heads are better than one! Team members can bounce ideas off each other, offering their unique perspectives to arrive at the best possible solution.
Accomplish tasks faster – People working together can complete tasks faster by dividing up the work to people of different abilities, knowledge, and skill levels. A single person taking on multiple tasks just can’t keep pace with a high functioning team.
Healthy competition – Can motivate individuals and help the team excel.
Developing relationships – People continually working together develop an increased level of bonding and thereby prevent unnecessary conflicts.
Everyone has unique qualities – Every team member can offer their unique abilities and knowledge to improve the other team members. The sharing of these qualities through teamwork will help team members to be more effective in the future.
Helen Keller famously stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players, yet never win championships. The main reason this happens is because these players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. Ironically, it is their very unwillingness to sacrifice that makes achieving individual goals that much more elusive.
On a high performing, championship team each member has a specific role and responsibility. The Apostle Paul stated, “Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:20. Each member has its own form, place, powers, and assignment. Yet, all the members are useful and necessary to each other. Likewise, on a team there are many players, but only one team!
On high performing teams, close, strong bonds unite each member of the team to the whole. Team members check their egos at the door, practice selflessness, and depend on each other; confidently expecting and receiving help from the rest. The overall good of the whole is each team member’s top priority. That is how championship teams work the dream!
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said it best, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
How has teamwork helped you to achieve your goals?
Baker, David P.; Day, Rachel; Salas, Eduardo (2006). "Teamwork as an Essential Component of High-Reliability Organizations"
Larson, Carl E., and Frank M. LaFasto (1989). Teamwork: What Must Go Right, What Can Go Wrong
Hackman, J. Richard, ed. (1990). Groups That Work (and Those That Don't): Creating Conditions for Effective Teamwork
Until next time,
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!