Sunday, December 18, 2011

I am a Rock - Are you going it alone?

A winter's day 

In a deep and dark December; 

I am alone, 
Gazing from my window to the streets below 
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. 
I am a rock, 

I am an island. 
"I Am A Rock", Simon and Garfunkel

Your passion for helping others is awesome, and I know you've got a desire to change the world and make it a better place.
 If you're like me, you've researched the best practices of your particular niche, are working on a plan for how to deliver those services or help, and you want to be the best at what you do.  

There is a danger, though, in thinking "I'm the best" that can isolate you from others that are doing similar things, working in the same regions, and serving the same people.  

Take a look around you at similar ministries and groups that are working in the same neighborhood.  What makes them unique?  Where is their niche?  Are they focused on a specific subset of your audience?

Let me introduce you to a great tool to help you.  Get ready to write this down and stick it on your computer monitor, bathroom mirror, or refrigerator.   Are you ready?

A cup of coffee.  Or a cup of tea, depending on where in the world you are.

Make a call to other ministries and invite them to sit down for 30 minutes over a cup and get to know each other.  Share your common experiences and what is working - and more importantly, what is not working, where you're struggling.  Talk about how you can work together to make more of an impact, maybe focusing on different class groups in a school or having a joint effort for a neighborhood festival.  Partner to bring attention to the cause.  Even introduce your donors to one another - people love to meet people and interact on things that each are passionate about.  And the result can quite likely be more funding, since they know that more can be done together than alone.

You can even create or join an alliance of ministries, go to a conference, and network with the attendees.  The Christian Alliance for Orphans has a wonderful event each year called Summit.  

The first time I went to Summit I was amazed that everyone in the room had the same passion for helping orphans that I did.  I met people that worked in Eastern Europe, and focused on some of the same orphanages that I did, but offered a different service or type of assistance.  I began some lasting friendships and partnerships around the world that continue to this day. I never ate alone, and shared a cup of coffee (or a tea or Diet Coke in my case) throughout the day just to connect with someone else.  Sometimes, I received great wisdom, and other times I encouraged someone who was feeling rather alone.

Sometimes, you will need a caring heart, a listening ear, or a word of wisdom from someone who knows what you're going through.  Sometimes, you will be called to be the one to offer the heart, ear, or wisdom.  And sometimes, you will need to take the other by the hand, and begin walking and working together.

It doesn't matter what your mission is - there is enough work out there for everyone to be busy.  There is so much need that we can accomplish so much more together.  Unite with others and coordinate your efforts so your true vision may be accomplished.

It isn't about you.  It's about your mission.

Don't do it alone.  

Don't be a rock.                     Don't be an island.

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