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Coaching in Partnerships

Posted September 23, 2011, 8:51 pm by Ellen

Whether you are a on-site partnership facilitator, or an agency partnership developer, or a missions pastor who is coordinating one or more partnerships, part of your role probably involves serving as a coach. For many of us, the role of coach is new. We’ve heard about coaching; we’ve heard others talk about having a coach; maybe we have even been the beneficiary of informal coaching. But we’re still not confident we know how to function as a good coach.

Our 2011 Interchange Conference has a series of sessions to help you develop your coaching skills. Visit our conference site and download the conference flier and save the date. The entire program with details about our SUPER speakers will be published soon! I think this is going to be one of the most practical Interchange conferences ever. Plan to join us in Philadelphia on December 6-7 to build not just your coaching skills, but also skills in training mentors, and in resolving conflict.

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Communication–Priceless!

Posted 6:49 pm by Ellen

If you’ve spent time in the US recently, you’ve seen the TV ad that lists the price of several items and then a final one that is “priceless.”

Communication is an absolutely “priceless” ingredient in any type of global partnership. A recent poll of missionary field leaders asked what they considered the primary problem in leadership, and–you guessed it–ineffective communication among leaders was at the very top of the list. Whenever I ask churches or field personnel to name the primary characteristics of a good partner, yep, there it is again, “the ability to communicate well.”

Content, Consistency, Candor, and Connection

Let’s face it–communication, good communication, isn’t easy.

I think there are four essential elements for effective partnership communication–content, consistency, candor, and connection.

1. Content. Field personnel need to comprehend what their linking partners (churches, prayer partners, donors) need to hear about.  They must start where partners are, with some understanding of what they don’t know and what they need to learn in order to be engaged mentally and emotionally.  This takes discipline and hard work to frame the story from the listeners’ point of view.

2. Consistency. What does consistency look like? Asking people to pray for a specific event or need and then reporting within a few days what has resulted. Establishing a regular, frequent schedule of communiques and sticking to it, even when you don’t feel like it. Responding to questions within 24 hours, whenever possible.

3. Candor. Honestly is crucial. Share the difficult and the discouraging, in balance with the victories and encouragements. People will feel more connected to you if you let them into your soul.

4. Connection. To connect with your audience effectively, you need to write and/or shoot well and use the vehicles your partners use. Good written or visual communication is more perspiration than inspiration, the ability to discipline yourself to spend the time to make the message clear. In today’s world, we must learn to use social media, blogs, emails, Skype, videos, and whatever will be available tomorrow!

What are you learning about good partner communication?

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Effective Coaching in a Partnership

Posted 5:30 pm by Ellen

Whether you are a on-site partnership facilitator, or an agency partnership developer, or a missions pastor who is coordinating one or more partnerships, part of your role probably involves serving as a coach. For many of us, the role of coach is new. We’ve heard about coaching; we’ve heard others talk about having a coach; maybe we have even been the beneficiary of informal coaching. But we’re still not confident we know how to function as a good coach.

Our 2011 Interchange Conference has a series of sessions to help you develop your coaching skills. Visit our conference site and download the conference flier and save the date. The entire program with details about our SUPER speakers will be published soon! I think this is going to be one of the most practical Interchange conferences ever. Plan to join us in Philadelphia on December 6-7 to build not just your coaching skills, but also skills in training mentors, and in resolving conflict.

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Blessing Your FOCUS Partners

Posted September 13, 2011, 3:40 pm by Ellen

One way to nurture the ministry in your FOCUS initiative is to refresh and refuel your on-site workers. Consider sponsoring an annual or semi-annual retreat for those workers, whether they are sent from your church, other expats, or nationals engaged in the task. You may want to make sponsoring such a treat a collaborative effort with other churches involved with your FOCUS.

1. Locate a conference or retreat center in a safe location. Choose a place that children and teens will also enjoy.

2. Work with your on-site personnel to determine the preferred date and length for the retreat, and clarify the purpose(s) and how best to achieve them.

3. Commit to cover all costs for travel and stay for all workers and their families. Invite but don’t require their participation.

4. Commit to sending staff to run the conference with excellence–children’s ministries team, leaders for a youth program, keynote speaker, worship leader/team, prayer team, and those who want to “love on” workers.

5. Include time for rest as well as for meetings. Give workers time for in-depth sharing about their ministry and spend significant time in prayer together.

6. Sometimes churches offer specialized training asked for by the workers (for example, discipling methods, homeschooling), seminars (marriage enrichment, parenting issues, computer), or massages, hair cuts, etc.

Has your church sponsored a refreshment conference for workers in your FOCUS? What recommendations would you have for other churches which want to offer such a retreat?

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How Not to Choose a Partnership

Posted September 12, 2011, 9:51 pm by Ellen

There are lots of acceptable ways to discover partners and develop a partnership. Here’s some bad ways to do so:

1. Just pick one. While some arranged marriages work, most of us want to select a spouse based on a relationship. Same for a partnership!

2. Choose a people group no one else is targeting. This sounds good, but if there are no on-the-ground workers and no agencies to help you, it is tough to get momentum going. Remember, you need partners for partnership.

3. Go where everyone else is going. Frankly, some locations are overrun with too many Western partners. There are plenty of great partnership opportunities; let’s not bunch up!

4. Choose a partnership based on the urging of one passionate church member. Wait for God to speak to multiple leaders about where He is calling you.This needs to be a group effort.

5. Select the easiest, closest , or safest place. Last time I checked, none of those criteria was listed as a guideline in how to fulfill the Great Commission. God may be calling you far away to a tough place with no guarantees of comfort or safety.

Do you have some other warnings about how NOT to choose a partnership?

 

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