While listening to Dr. Alfred Kalembo share in the video interview for the Phase 4 discussion, I was impacted by his statement regarding the importance that national leaders be given the opportunity to make decisions, even make mistakes, regarding the future of the ministry in the country. A Facilitator M in these types of situations can and should do a great deal of work behind the scenes (aside from the critical work of praying and trusting in the Holy Spirit), but I wanted to begin a specific discussion about two potential areas of work that could significantly assist national leadership in the process of making healthy decisions.
The first, and I will admit that I oftentimes overlook this step (Tiffany actually had to remind me to include it in this post), is to build in a method of evaluating decisions and especially results of those decisions. Decisions without healthy evaluative measures regarding the results of the decision would be akin to putting a car into drive and hitting the accelerator without taking a look at the speedometer, out the windows as you speed along, or even checking to see if you arrived at your destination. This practice is not only unhelpful; it can oftentimes be unhealthy and can lead to some negative consequences.
I think that it is important for national leadership, in conjunction with Facilitator Ms, to create a habit of setting results-oriented decisions with specific evaluation points. That way, the leaders have both articulated the goal and set in place a method of seeing whether or not they have achieved it, and maybe even looking at some of the intended or unintended byproducts of the decision. This will open the door the second area of work for a Facilitator M, namely, “what do you do when your evaluation shows that the decision ended badly?”
I recently listened to an evocative TED Talk podcast where educator and activist Brittany Packnett talked about building personal confidence and sparking confidence in others. At one point in the talk, Packnett spoke of a time in her professional career when a large-scale event she had planned ended terribly. In debriefing the event with her manager, rather than examining what went wrong, the manager asked the powerful question, “what was your intention?” Packnett described how this question invited her to learn from her mistakes rather than damaging her confidence.
Our goal as Facilitators is to strengthen the local leaders on the various fields to become stronger, more confident, and better equipped leaders in the life and work of the Church in their local contexts and on the national/district levels. One of the greatest environments in achieving these goals is to guide the leaders in dealing with mistakes and/or lack of achieving goals in a healthy way that invites further ingenuity and venture. However, lack of clear intentionality in utilizing these opportunities afforded by failure can result in these same leaders either continuing to make the same mistakes or becoming immobilized in an effort to avoid future failure.
What would it look like for us as Facilitator Missionaries to have in our toolbox a list of questions, like the one above, that invite reflection:
- What was your strategy?
- How did this event/incident intersect with past experiences?
- Which of your values were you trying to honor?
- What opportunities are arising out of this?
Dr. Tom Steffen, in the Zoom call, talked about how we can influence through dynamic questions, guiding a discussion without really inserting any of our own opinions or ideas. This skill is critical in these areas of setting evaluation criteria and then dealing with the results of the decision. So the question is, “what Questions do you have in your toolbelt?” It might sound contrived to have questions prepared ahead of time, but I believe that the Holy Spirit works through our preparation in all situations, especially in ones as critical as assisting national leaders in making healthy decisions.
Note: for the content of Brittany Packnett’s TED Talk, click HERE.