Pioneer. Develop. Resource.

By: Dr. Verne Ward, Global Missions Director, Church of the Nazarene

“I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. He who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” – I Corinthians 3:5-9

Pioneer. Develop. Resource.

In the Church of the Nazarene, missionaries work in these three areas, leading the growth of the church from its embryonic state, through its development, to its maturity.

Over the course of their service, some missionaries will serve in all three roles: pioneering, developing, and resourcing. Other missionaries will serve in one or two of these roles. Often, missionaries fulfill several roles at once.

Missionaries may start out pioneering, then move into development before God calls them to another work. A pioneering missionary may team up with another missionary who will take responsibility for development. Yet another missionary may be sent to serve in resourcing. The Apostle Paul described this process in 1 Corinthians 3.

God calls some to serve for decades while calling others to fulfill a role for a few years. This is why we have changed our retirement eligibility from 20 to 15 years. We also recognize contributions of 5 years, 10 years, 20 and 25 years. We not only celebrate with those who obey the call to go but also those who obey God’s call to return to their home country when they have fulfilled their calling.

What do these roles look like in our church today?

Alonso and Alicia (names changed for security) are pioneering. They have moved to a nation in the Eurasia Region where the Church of the Nazarene previously had no presence. As they prayerfully develop relationships and discover their community’s needs, they have taken steps to meet those needs by partnering with a nursing home and an orphanage. Eventually, with God’s blessing, discipleship will lead to church planting.

As new believers grow in their faith and service, pioneering becomes developing, and others may join them in the work. Development includes discipling, modeling, and training believers so they have the skills to be the Body of Christ in their community and cultural context. They may also develop systems that sustain the church in the areas of theological education, literature creation, or financial management.

Missionaries in resource roles often hold responsibilities in areas such as strategy, communications or education, to support the ministry of local believers who are engaged in evangelism, discipleship, and compassion. Resource roles often involve helping to connect the local church with its larger global church family.

God calls people with a wide variety of skill sets and experiences as the church grows from a pioneer to a developing work and finally to a mature church.

 

 

4 Temptations That Leaders Face

By: Dan Reiland

It’s troubling to see a gifted and talented leader give up a lifetime of ministry for a moment of temptation. We all face temptation, and saying no is not always easy.

None of us as leaders will escape this challenge. But how you handle your temptation will determine, to a great degree, the effectiveness and longevity of your ministry.

James 4:7-8 helps us know what to do. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Let’s begin with three important questions:

What is your greatest temptation? If you know it, you can fight against it.

Do you have a safe friend or two with whom you can be honest? Confession is good for the soul and accountability helps keep you honest.

Do you know that God is on your side? God does not condemn you or me for our struggles, but He does want us to fight to live a holy life.

I’m not convinced all temptation is from the devil. I’m not certain it’s all spiritual warfare. Some of this is simply part of being human and imperfect, and we can take credit for it ourselves.

There is no need to start a theological debate. If you prefer to make temptation a wholly spiritual issue by asserting that we are spiritual beings, I’m good with that. If you choose to make it entirely a spiritual thing by taking it back to Genesis chapter 3, I can handle that too. My purpose here is to offer practical help.

Temptation seems to be naturally grouped into four categories for church leaders. If you know the potential temptation, you are more likely to see it coming and proactively resist what tempts you. That’s the goal here. Let’s name the temptations, own what is ours, and intentionally resist.

  1. Pressure Temptations

As your ministry grows, gains complexity and the demands increase, pressure rises. When pressure rises and your margin decreases, you can be an easy target for pressure temptations. Here are three common examples. Are any of these danger zones for you?

Loss of integrity. For example, you can be tempted to over-exaggerate something in a message you teach. Or perhaps you might bend under financial pressure to use monies designated for one thing for a completely different purpose.

Cut corners. Time pressures, for example, might cause you to knock out a sermon on Saturday night and show up on Sunday morning soundly unprepared.

Inappropriate anger. Pressure in your life can cause leaders to be impatient, harsh or even angry with others with no legitimate reason.

By learning how to use appropriate pressure relief tools such as exercise, a real day off, a good counselor, learning to say no, developing leaders to empower, etc., you can handle pressure in healthy ways.

2. Power Temptations

I’m happy to say that this temptation seems to be less common in the local church than perhaps twenty-some years ago. That’s a good thing, but it still lurks in the background and is a real possibility for any of us.

Here are three common examples. Are any of these traps for you?

Manipulate people. Using authority or position to control or take advantage of people rather than serve them. Essentially using people to build your ministry, rather than building people and let them build the ministry God gives them.

Live by different standards. Rising “above the law” so that the leader lives by a different set of rules than others are held accountable to.

Become a controlling person. All leaders exercise control for the good of the organization. This is very different than a leader becoming a controlling leader and holding people down rather than training and empowering them.

Leaning into genuine humility, owning a servant’s heart, and intentionally expressing your love for people is a great help to overcome temptations involving power.

3. Purity Temptations

It’s difficult to avoid the dominant presence of the internet and the temptations that lie within. Nearly anything is only a click away. This is a huge temptation. But not all purity temptations are online.

The following are three common examples. Do any of these temptations catch you?

Thought life not in check. Temptation begins in the mind. Scripture says to take every thought captive, but we know that is not always easy. Philippians 4:8 says: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Marital faithfulness in question. We all know stories of friends who have lost their marriages and in many cases lost their ministry too. It’s heartbreaking and can happen to anyone. This temptation is never worth it!

“Innocent” flirting. A wise counselor once said to a group of us pastors, “Young leaders, beware of innocent flirting, for there is no such thing.” How true! What starts innocently, even while working together in ministry, can end in disaster.

It’s best to make a conscious choice not to play with fire because it’s just too easy to end up burned. Get honest about your temptation and talk with a friend or leader you respect for accountability.

4. People Temptations

This last category is not often included within the topic of temptation. It is therefore overlooked, even though it is likely among the most common of temptations that a church leader will face. We work with and serve people every day, and these common temptations are always with us. Here are three common examples:

People pleasing. This often finds its origin in a genuine heart to serve others. But sometimes that can slowly slip into behavior that is less than genuine, and a performance-orientation can begin to take over, instead of being purpose driven.

Critical spirit. Even the most loving of pastors and volunteer church leaders can lose perspective under all the demands of ministry. Then instead of loving the heart becomes critical.

Lack of forgiveness. Leaders get hurt too. If you are hurt enough, your heart can become hardened, and forgiveness is hard to find.

An intentional effort to be yourself, look for the best in people, and be generous in giving grace will go a long way to help resist common people temptations.

The good news in all this is that we can resist!

The good news in all this is that we can resist! Though difficult, we can say no to temptation. We can receive wisdom and encouragement from a friend. And we can rest knowing that when we slip or make a mistake, our Father in heaven is for us, not against us! Each day is a new day and a fresh start.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

 

 

Dan Reiland is the Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.

© 2019 Dan Reiland | The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders

14-Point Check Up for Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Leadership (II)

In our previous post, we published the beginning of the article “14-Point Check-up for Mistakes that Will Hurt your Leadership” by Pastor Dan Reiland.  Today we will continue the checklist with the last important pointers for any leader or minister.

 

5. Starting but Not Finishing

I’ll let you in on a little secret, not finishing what you start frustrates the people you work with and lead. Being a self-starter and taking the initiative is good, but not if you don’t finish. If you do this often enough it can start to reflect on your character.

If you have too many unfinished projects, it’s better to prioritize them and let your team know which ones you are going to kill so that you can finish the most important ones.

  • What important unfinished project do you need to finish?

 

6. Forgetting Kindness

The longer I lead, the more I see the importance of consistency in kindness. Kindness in many ways represents the heart of God. Yes, leaders must be strong and decisive, but that doesn’t preclude treating people with a kind spirit. God delights in kindness (Jeremiah 9:24).

In another post dedicated to this topic, I wrote: “Kindness is an essential human quality that allows trust, connection, and genuine exchange to take place. Kindness brings peace and joy into pressure-filled situations. Kindness is not a new idea, but it’s often undeveloped as a leadership trait.”

  • Would people evaluate you as a kind leader?

 

7. Too Busy Not to Pray

I know you want to pray, and if you have a strong prayer life, great!

If your prayer life is not what you’d like it to be, start by asking yourself, what is preventing you from praying? Do your best to push through the blockage. The best remedy is to start small. Take action by praying a brief prayer each day and build up from there.

Don’t get discouraged or heap guilt on yourself, take joy in a few minutes of prayer a day and let the amount of time build. God doesn’t keep a scoreboard on you; He just wants time with you.

  • Are you satisfied with your prayer life?
  • What simplechange could you make so that prayer is more part of your life, rather than another thing on your to-do list?

 

8. Under-Prioritizing the Development of Leaders

Few things are more important than developing leaders in your church. In fact, next to the power of prayer and people being saved, I’m not sure anything is more important. Regardless of where you rank leadership development, I’m confident that you know it’s essential to realize the vision God has given you for your church.

  • Do you have a plan in action for developing new leaders?

 

9. Dreaming Big, But Executing Small

This does not refer to “all talk no action,” that’s not a common leadership mistake. However, communicating big dreams without creating commensurate plans and strategies is common. That always results in poor or limited execution. You don’t need to dumb down your dreams, but make sure you build plans that can accommodate your dreams.

  • Do you have a good strategic plan in place?

 

10. Leading With a Scarcity Mindset

The best leaders are generous leaders.

They are not afraid of “running out” they figure out how to “make more.”

This idea does not imply a careless model of stewardship. It recognizes both the ability to be smart with what you have as well as the ability for you and God together to deliver more. The scope is not limited to money or the material world but includes greater breadth from the fruit of the spirit to a selfless nature. At its core, it’s about a giving spirit.

  • Do you see yourself as leaning more toward a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?

 

11. Winging It (doing something without planning) Instead of Being Thoroughly Prepared

If we were in a room of church leaders and the speaker asked; “Who here has ever succumbed to ‘winging-it’ in a meeting or while giving a talk?” All hands would go up. It happens, but it’s an unwise thing to repeat and will catch up with you over time and hurt your leadership.

Preparation is one of those behind-the-scenes disciplines that is essential to great leadership. I honestly don’t know one great leader who has led well for decades, that does not consistently and diligently prepare for everything they do.

  • Would your colleagues see you as a leader who consistently prepares well?

 

12.  Judgmental, Resentful, or Holding Grudges

We know that judging, resentfulness, and grudges go against the core of the gospel, (grace and forgiveness), yet they still find their way into the hearts and lives even of some of the best leaders.

The most common paths are things like hurt, exhaustion, deep insecurity, jealousy, or a critical spirit. If you struggle here, this may require more than human resolve to change. Prayer and wisdom from a good counselor may be beneficial.

  • Under what circumstances are you most tempted to judge, resent or hold a grudge?
  • How do you best overcome that temptation?

 

13.  No Longer Learning

Leaders are learners; they are life-long learners. The quickest way to irrelevance as a leader is to stop learning.  My friend and mentor John Maxwell has been leading now for about fifty years and to this day is a ferocious student. Every time we text or talk, John mentions something he’s learning, a book he’s reading or a new idea he’s thinking about.

  • Are you a student at heart?
  • What have you recently learned?

 

14. Operating Without Margin (time not scheduled)

This is one of the mistakes on the checklist that I need to work on. Saying yes is apparently a spiritual gift for me, and I need to say no more often, create margin, and focus better on my most productive priorities. How about you?

I admire the leaders I know that are laser-focused, even when they say no to me. I don’t like their no, but I understand it. Margin is needed to take care of your soul, rest and enjoy life. Margin is required to be at your best and do your best.

  • What area of your life most needs some margin?

 

So, how did you do?

Are there two or three you need to work on over the next few months? Don’t make your list longer than that. Just tackle between one to three at a time.

 

Dan Reiland is the Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. 

© 2019 Dan Reiland | The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders

 

14-Point Check Up for Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Leadership

By: Dan Reiland

I just completed my annual physical.

Going through the process of a thorough check-up from head to toe is not much fun, but it’s a smart thing to do. My doctor is excellent and very thorough. He starts with my vital signs, does extensive blood work, and then checks for things that might indicate a health issue.

It’s a good idea to do the same thing as a leader. It’s best to focus on the positive things that will strengthen your leadership, but it’s also smart to check your habits against a list of things that could hurt you over the long-haul. 

Leadership isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors imaginable. Leadership is more art than science, more fluid than structured, and more messy than clean. Therefore, any help we can get for a quick check-up is helpful.

That’s what I’ve written for you here. I could probably list 25 things, but these 14 are at the top and a good place to start.

  • Which ones are you doing well?
  • Which ones need improvement?
  • How about the leader’s you coach?

You can take them through this as a developmental tool. Let them evaluate themselves, and then you ask questions that lead to offering insights and ideas to help them get better.

14-Point Leadership Check Up:

(These things will hurt your leadership if you do them repeatedly over time).

  1. Thinking Small

Negative thoughts, feeling hand-cuffed or unempowered, and avoiding risk are all forms of small thinking.  There are so many competing agendas, voices that must be heard, and seemingly non-negotiable expectations that when mixed with limited resources and finite energy it’s easy to fall prey to small thinking.

I sometimes catch myself praying big but then leading small, that only happens when I think small. The same can be true for you. Pray big, think big, lead large.

  • In what area or circumstance are you most tempted to think small?

 

2. Jumping to Conclusions

Fast is the new normal, and too fast can get you in trouble. There is always another side to the story. Always. Take time to get the facts. Sometimes just (literally) counting to five before you say something, or press send can keep you out of hot water. In other situations, a few days may be required.

If someone pushes your buttons, don’t over-react. Instead, when you feel your temperature rising, intentionally power down a notch. It’s much easier to respond with wisdom when your foot is not in your mouth. 

  • Do you consistently take the time to hear the other side of the story?
  • Can you resist speaking or reacting too quickly?
  • Do you find yourself interrupting others when they are talking?

 

3.  Resisting Change

You know that resisting change is a poor use of your time and energy both personally and professionally. If you don’t change, you can’t grow. And if you don’t innovate your ministries to keep up with the changes in culture, your ministry will get stuck.

 

  • What’s the last personal change you made and successfully adapted to?
  • What was your most recent change in how you operate a particular ministry?

 

4. Avoiding Risk

It is possible to avoid risk, but you can’t lead and escape risk at the same time. It’s impossible to cast vision and make progress without taking some risks. It might be a big project or a tough conversation. You don’t need to take a foolish blind leap of faith, but you’ll never fully know the future; therefore, risk is required. Pray, trust God, plan, and lead!

 

  • Is there any risk you are avoiding?
  • What is the current risk you’re taking?

 

*In our next post we will publish the second part of this article where Pastor Reiland will detail other important aspects that should be taken care of in relation to leadership.

The Top 7 Reasons Guests Return To Your Church

By: Dan Reiland

Recently we came across the following article and believe that it has some wonderfully practical suggestions to help any local church leader.  Although our readers will know that we bristle against vocabulary that refers to “church” as a place we go to or something that can be “attended,” we trust that the wisdom provided here will be gleaned in spite of such language.

The most common reason people check out your church is someone invited them. The most common reason people leave your church is they don’t feel connected.

But what are the most common reasons people return to your church after their first visit or two?

There’s lots of conversation about church attendance patterns these days, and that affects how we measure guest retention rate, and the length of time it takes for guests to connect with your church.

Here’s a new reality, new people connect more slowly than in the past and disconnect more quickly than we’ve previously experienced. It’s a double-edged sword. It takes longer for new people to connect because they don’t necessarily attend every week. And, they disconnect faster because the best “connection factors” are relationally based and therefore depend on attendance!

We can’t change current culture, or can we?

Here are two big reasons why people attend church less frequently (not in order):

  • Families are busier now than ever. From demands in their jobs (travel etc.) to sports for their kids on weekends, people are on the go nearly seven days a week.
  • People get bored faster than lightning. If guests attend your church and it gives off even a hint of being out of date, not fresh, “seen this before” or in some way behind or irrelevant, they are gone!

That’s difficult to compete with, so perhaps competing is not the answer. We might be wise to focus just a little less on why people don’t come, and invest more energy into why people do come. Focusing on what church does best is a smarter approach. Doing it the way your church does it best, is smarter still.

That takes us back to the top reasons guests return to your church. Put your energy here.

Top 7 Reasons Guests Return:

1) The Presence Of God Is Felt.

There is an unmistakable awareness of the presence and power of God at work. It may be inspirational and filled with emotion, or a more quiet and peaceful stirring within, but however it’s experienced, the presence of God is felt.

2) The Key Leaders Are Perceived As Trustworthy.

Guests come to your church at varying levels of “readiness” to trust the leaders they encounter. But it’s surprising how quickly they can discern if they trust you or not. Even from only a message or two, or brief connections in the lobby, they intuitively have decided if they can trust you. Your level of authenticity and clarity of communication make a huge difference in this process.

3) The Worship Service Is Positive, Relevant, Biblically Sound, And Executed With Heart And Excellence.

You don’t have to compete with the other churches near you. The important thing is to be the very best that you can. For example, if the worship team isn’t strong, select less challenging music, and do it with excellence. If the preaching isn’t strong, make the message shorter. In all cases, keep practicing, so you get better. Make sure the service is positive, clearly biblical, and upbeat and communicates faith in an atmosphere of grace.

4) The Volunteers And Congregation Express Authentic Love And Care.

Genuine love and attention are unmistakable and irresistible. When people encounter it, it’s truly transforming. The source is God’s love, but the expression and experience come from the people in your congregation, both from your volunteer leaders and regular attenders.

5) They Hear Current Stories Of Life Change.

Connected to brief and creative communication of your purpose or mission/vision are stories of life change every week. These stories need to be communicated in a variety of creative ways. That is hugely compelling and draws people back. Life change is inspiring, and it gives hope that they too can experience positive and spiritually oriented change.

6) There Are No “Glaring” Shortcomings.

There are no perfect churches, we all have flaws. But there should be nothing that is an immediate turn-off, or so grossly out of line that it makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable. For example, I’ve seen nurseries that were unclean and unsafe. I’ve listened to worship music that was painfully unrehearsed. Or it may be something as simple as the building is in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint or signage that is clear and helpful. If you are not sure, invite a church consultant to come in for one Sunday, that’s all it takes!

7) The Children’s Ministry Is Outstanding.

Each of your ministries matter, but children’s ministry is the one that receives the least grace from your guests. Parents are justifiably protective and want the best for their kids. They don’t yet know you or what happens when they drop off their children. Candidly, guests will give an “average” service another shot, but if their child has a bad experience, they will not likely return. Invest great effort and energy in your children’s ministry.

These are the elements that inspire guests to return. This gives you the opportunity to make the “deeper connections.”

The most common paths to deeper connection – (longer term, greater commitment, and ownership of the vision) are:

  • Small groups
  • Serving opportunities
  • Deeper friendships

Make your next steps simple and clear.

Leading a local church is complicated. But sometimes breaking it down like this helps you become more intentional and know where to invest your energy best.

 

The Relevant Church

By: Dan Reiland

Culture is changing, and it’s changing fast. More than ever before, the church has an incredible opportunity (and responsibility) to make a difference.

But let’s be honest, we can’t lead with cultural relevance from the back of the parade.  We can’t lead future generations if we don’t know what they want, how they experience life, and how God wants to engage them.

Keeping up is the baseline. Understanding how people perceive their world is essential. It’s best to be thinking ahead, seeing around the curve, anticipating, and staying relevant.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic.  It’s not a race; it’s about being deliberate in your leadership. Relevance is not about being cool, creative, and clever; it’s about the ability to connect.

Churches become irrelevant when they can no longer connect with the next generation.  The gospel is never irrelevant, but we have a responsibility to discover the best way for it to be received.

How do you assess if you are relevant? Who decides? This article gives you practical insights to frame a conversation for your leaders.

5 Insights For A Practical Grasp Of Ministry Relevance

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1) To Be Relevant, It Simply Means That It Matters.

Relevance means what you do matters. Relevance means that your ministry makes a difference, and people’s lives are changed.

True relevance would suggest that the surrounding community notices your presence and appreciates your ministry. Relevance is measured only in part by attendance, and perhaps a smaller part, it’s truly measured by the community’s opinion of the good you do.

The first step in your city perceiving your ministry as relevant begins by knowing that you care.

2) Don’t Confuse Relevance With Style Or Culture.

Relevance is not about your choice of worship songs or how casual you may or may not be; that is a matter of style, preference, and culture. Relevant isn’t about whether your shirt is tucked or un-tucked, or whether you preach 25 minutes or 45 minutes.

Ministry relevance is more about quality and effectiveness.

Pastors will ask me if I think choirs are still relevant in today’s culture. If the choir is really good, it is absolutely relevant. Bad choirs are irrelevant.

Regarding relevance, just ask the question, “Does it work?” If it works, it’s relevant. But you have to be honest about the answer to that question.

3) Don’t Answer Questions That No One Is Asking 

Have you ever played Trivial Pursuit? It’s a fun game, but beyond that, who really cares about those questions? If you weren’t trying to win the game, no one would care about the answers.

If we aren’t careful, we can answer questions as part of a local church ministry that no one is asking. That is irrelevant.

As a leader, I first learned this principle with my own children. When they were young, they asked hundreds of questions. By their teen years, the questions slowed to a near stop. I had to find where they were at, be patient, learn what their questions were, and parent from that perspective. Then I could use their questions to lead to timeless truth.

You don’t have to dumb down your theology to be relevant, but you do need to understand what people are asking to be a relevant leader, teacher, and pastor.

Start with their questions and then lead them to biblical truth.

4) Relevance Requires Asking What The Community Needs

Innovation that comes only from your boardroom is not likely to be relevant.

Talk to people who don’t attend church. Ask people who left your church. Ask people in your church who are under thirty years old. Learn how other churches are connecting. (Again, that doesn’t mean you need to do what they do, but you can get ideas and adapt to your context.)

One of the best ways to shut down relevance is to talk to the same people about the same issues, making a small tweak and end up doing the same things.

Relevance isn’t in competition with the culture; it’s about connecting with current culture. It’s not about surrendering truth; it’s about meeting people where they are at.

How’s your church doing with that?

5) Embrace Innovation And Change. 

You don’t have to do what other churches do, but you can’t do what you’ve always done.

The message remains the same, but our methods must change. Technology alone insists that you change your approach to ministry.

Technology changed positions we put together a ministry team, how we broadcast and share messages, and how we communicate with volunteers.

People used to carry their Bibles to church; now Bibles are in their smartphones.

Relevance matters.

What are you doing really well?

What is working?

What’s not working, and you need to change?

 

Dan Reiland is the Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. 

© 2019 Dan Reiland | The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders

 

Seeking Virtue In All

By: Scott Armstrong

A recent journey into social media caused me to end up pushing myself away from my laptop and cell phone, wide-eyed at the exaggerated self-promotion of so many voices proclaiming they are right and the other side (whoever that may be) is wrong.  It all reminded me of an excerpt from Stevenson Willis’ book, The Proverbs of Leadership, that I have found particularly insightful (pp. 134-136):

“No longer use the gift of your vision to focus on the flaws and frailties of another.  Search instead for the virtue within him and bring it to light for all the world to see.  Never pay attention to the whispers of gossip, nor allow your ears to hear words that slander or diminish.  When the idle or the agitators commence their hurtful chatter, always speak up for the one who is maligned and sing of their qualities to all whom will listen…

No longer must you view yourself as superior to any, for though prosperous or poor, will your bones not return unto the same pile of dust? Never walk so tall to think that you can never stumble nor esteem yourself as wise and incapable of error.  All forms of arrogance and conceit must be banished from your mirror, for such blinding self-deceptions distort your sense of worth.

Neither must you draw attention to your strengths nor boast of your talents that others might be awed.  From this day forth dedicate the usage of the gifts you’ve been given for one purpose only: to stir within others an awareness of their own.

The creator has endowed each soul with potential and asks of you to see it in whomever you shall meet.  With this simple truth the masses will receive you and the cause you’ve embraced.  Without it you will flounder, even with those whom you love.  From this day forth you must view every person in only one way: not as they have been or as they are, but as how they were created to be.

For when you view your fellow man through the eyes of our maker compassion and humility will flow from your heart. 

And many will draw near to discover the source”.