August 14, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

     What turns you on? What floats your boat? What turns your crank? We ask the question using various colloquialisms, but each raises the same query: what are the outcomes of your efforts that give you the greatest satisfaction?

     How often does that come up, for me? At least weekly. I never have to "stop and think;" for me, it's a no-brainer. I'm stoked when I see a Christian leader more engaged in his/her calling than they are in their career. Still doing what pays the bills - and performing at an exemplary level - but making time to invest in the things that will still be valuable, 1000 years from now...

     It's all about power. Power? No question about it. It's a power play. Sitting in pews yesterday - across America - were people who have extraordinary power Monday-Friday, but check their guns at the door when they get to church. Powerless; unengaged; underutilized; unexploited; passive. Pick your descriptive; among the high-capacity Christians in the best of churches, we've got a serious power shortage...

     How do they get in the game? What does it take to get 'em out of the bleachers, off the bench, into the game, throwing touchdowns like they were made to do? Here's an acrostic that is my prescription:

     Paradigm: we need a new perspective. During the Reformation, the concept of a "professional clergy" was scrapped in favor of the biblical concept, the "priesthood of all believers." Net that out: every Christian has a ministry under their control. Too many have "buried it" and diverted attention to other things (that's the third steward of Matthew 25 - a "wicked and lazy servant"). In God's view, you are the CEO of a personal ministry: how's it going? What results do you have to report?

     Ownership: employees operate differently than owners. With ownership comes control; without it, there is a lack of initiative that is natural. Employees leave at quitting-time; owners stay until the job is done. Employees resist accountability; owners have their security on-the-line. Many churches are referred to as sole-proprietorships - "I go to Joe Hotshot's church" - and ownership is so noted. For you, today: where do you operate as if you had equity in the enterprise?

     Work: significant engagement is not an arms-length exercise. A big difference between Buffett and Gates: Buffett invested in the work of others by investing in companies, while Gates worked to build Microsoft through his own expertise, applied. Peter put it succinctly: everyone has talents; and they should be used to serve God's purposes. The Kingdom isn't a "hands-off" enterprise; you can't "send a check" and then devote yourself to leisure and indulgence. The old trilogy still applies: it's time, talent and treasure...

     Encouragement: discouragement is one of the strategies the Evil One uses to dissuade Christians from significant involvement. Courage is a critical additive to the giftedness that comes from God: He supplies the unique capacities, but what about the courage? It comes from human sources: it's either self-generated, or it comes in the form of infusion. Satan saps it through discouragement; friends re-supply it through encouragement. What kind of friend would do that? One that shares the same, extraordinary Paradigm, Ownership and Work, that's who. Colleagues are the greatest human source of Encouragement, and the re-supply works best when it is reciprocal: the supplier is encouraged, too!

     Release: when a high-capacity Christian has a new Paradigm, a sense of Ownership, a meaningful Work assignment, and an ongoing supply of Encouragement... Release is the reasonable next step. What is Release? It's the freedom to pursue one's Calling, graduated from the preparational environment (often, their home church) that readied them for their significant assignment. Release...

     The world is wondering where the power is going to come from when we run out of oil. In Kingdom terms, power is infinitely available... when the right formula comes together. What's your power position? POWER is what it's all about: get connected... and get movin'!!

Bob Shank

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