January 22, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend, 

     "This is the year that..." I don't know how many times I've heard that already, in conversation with very busy people, in the last three weeks. "Busy" usually involves continuation; it smacks of maintenance rather than breakthrough. Busy can take your imagination out of play, and put your creativity into coma status. Busy doesn't inspire...
     This is the year that... what, for you? You've got a relatively clean calendar lying open before you; what is the story you're going to write into 2007 that will create an inflection point in your life line? How will you open up a new story - inject an incredible plot-twist - introduce some new star characters - in this next chapter of your autobiography? Hillary has invited us all to watch as she sets out to become a "first in history" player in the story of America; what are you going to announce, signaling the start of a new act for you? Are you going to surprise us all... and, are you going to be "in to win?"
     What are your possibilities this year? Let me argue for some strong possibilities in your Kingdom life. I use that "Kingdom" term very often, and very intentionally. What is that about, anyway?
     Jesus started it. He talked often about "it." Many of his parables began with, "The Kingdom of heaven is like..." and took form from there. He wasn't talking about a faraway place; he was introducing the launch of a worldwide enterprise that would involve his followers - the "citizens of the Kingdom," to use the Bible-language term - involved in day-to-day assignments that represented his interests, producing spiritual value that would ultimately be measured in the timeframe of Eternity. His Kingdom includes what happens at church... but that's just the beginning. Church can be so "Sunday;" Kingdom is 24/7. Church can be in an auditorium on a corner; Kingdom is on every corner where a Kingdom player is actively pursuing engagement on behalf of the King. How do you stake out a Kingdom assignment?
     Three thoughts for your '07 innovation, relative to the Kingdom: found something; find something... or, fund something. Found; find; fund; take your pick.
     Jim and Debby used to sit at church; they were "lay-people." They started to get more involved: Debby found MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) where she mentored young moms; Jim found himself at the elder table. Elder; then, Chairman; then, Executive Administrator of the church. Served through some really challenging church times; distinguished himself as a layman who became a "virtual" pastor. Today, Jim and Debby have taken their experience from their church leadership and founded a ministry to strengthen pastoral couples who are on the front-lines of the church wars. Their Colorado ranch has become a place of ministry for the folks who provide ministry the rest of the year. One couple at a time, they're being refreshed and renewed... by a couple who said in 2000, "This is the year, that we're going to start a ministry to pastors and their wives..."
     Brett was a business owner; his business offered consulting. He got his MBA... and his TMP... and he found himself consulting with ministries as well as businesses. One thing led to another... and his consulting relationship with a startup ministry led to an invitation to join the team, at the top. Like Steve Ballmer is to Bill Gates, Brett has moved in alongside a ministry founder to "run the organization." For Brett, 2006 was the year to find his next Kingdom assignment...
     Eric found himself in a Latin American country with an international ministry that provides micro-enterprise funding for emerging "entrepreneurs," who need some funding (usually less than $1,000) to get them established. As a ministry, micro-enterprise is a powerful force for community impact. He was so impressed that he made an extraordinary financial commitment to the micro-enterprise capital account. For him, 2007 is already different: "This is the year that..."
     Jim and Debby founded a ministry. Bret set out to find a ministry. Eric decided to fund a ministry. These TMP’ers lives are different than before. Is 2007 going to be different, for you? Found something; find something; fund something. Do something!

Bob Shank

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