Monday, December 20, 2010


As Christmas approaches we have an opportunity to reflect on the “year that was”, as well as the coming Christmas season.

At Willow Creek Australia we have cause to be thankful for the many lives that have been impacted and influenced through attendance at WCA events, or engagement in any of the other WCA resources or programs. We are hugely grateful and indebted to all of the volunteers who help these events run so smoothly.

As we look forward to another Christmas season, I pray that all of us who know Jesus will reflect something of His love for us to the people who are a part of our lives. May our lives bear witness to our relationship with Jesus, not necessarily by what we say, but by who we are because of that relationship. Let’s pray that all we say and do, and the people we serve this Christmas will be influenced because of our love for Jesus.

Finally, I have very much enjoyed my 6 months at Willow in my role as interim CEO. It’s been great to work with all of the staff, and also with the volunteers I have met or spoken with on the phone. I am very excited by Andrew McCafferty’s (Australia) appointment and the contribution he will make to the continuing ministry of WCA.

May God bless you and your families this Christmas,

Arthur Conomos
Interim CEO (Australia)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Power of Delegation

A good leader knows that to delegate is to multiply their effectiveness exponentially.  Effectiveness results from building teams and releasing others into ministry.  This means that the leader is self secure and is content to see others flourish. 

Humility is at the heart of a true leader.  A really good leader is so gripped by the vision and interested in developing people that they will gather around them a team made up of people who can do things much better than they can do them.  Greater is the one who multiplies the workers than the one who does the work!

All great leaders have learnt the art of delegation.  If not, at least three very negative things result.  First, they will limit the amount of work and responsibility they can handle, thus limiting their own growth.  Secondly, they will inhibit the growth of others, thus limiting the growth of the whole organisation.  Thirdly, the quality people in the organisation will leave to find a place where they are appreciated and can make a difference.

Delegation is not passing the buck.  It recognises that the task is so big that it can only be done by recruiting and empowering others.  It also means that the key leader must be free to allow others to do things differently from how the leader might do them!  Where there is a will there is a way and where there is a team there is more than one way!

The parameters for delegation depend on the competencies and experience of the delegatee.  If the person is highly skilled, has experience in the task, is mature as a leader, etc, then they can be trusted to get on with the task with little interference from the leader.  On the other hand, the delegatee might have little experience, and have minimal competence, so that the leader would need to meet regularly with them to check how they are going, what resources they need, etc.
In the first case the person might only require encouragement and personal support/recognition, while in the second case the person would require regular contact and clear direction from the leader especially in the early days.  These are two extremes, and there would be many instances of delegatees sitting somewhere in between.  Frequently leaders overlook this.  Also competency varies from one task to another.  A person who needs little supervision on one delegated task, may require much tighter supervision on a different task.

In delegating tasks it is important to make clear what is expected of the person in terms of the task itself, its outcomes, its time lines, etc.  It also should be clear what support they will receive and what reporting relationships are established. Absolute clear communication is the basis for fruitful delegation.

When should a leader delegate?  It is paramount for leaders to ask key leadership questions of themselves:  What must I do that no one else can do?  What do I do that results in the greatest outcome for the organisation?  What is the best use of my strengths?  Almost anything else can be delegated, thus empowering people and releasing latent potential.

Dean Brookes
Uniting Church Minister
Leadership Development | Coach and Mentor

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beyond Our Shores

The countdown is on... Less then a week until I board a plane destined for a far off exotic land. I am soon to embark on a short- term mission trip and with only five days until we leave the excitement in our team is palpable.

I have visited the travel doctor who jabbed me with three too many needles for my liking, I have scoured the stores for culturally appropriate clothing (much harder then you would think) and have exchanged my cash to the (previously) almighty US dollar.

Each year there are hundreds of thousands of people, just like me, who take part and serve on a short-term mission trip in nearly every earthly location imaginable.  Yet I have to admit, even as I stuff my mosquito net into my backpack, there is a small part of me wondering if the rapid rise of popularity for these short-term ventures are for many little more then a noble way to spend their holidays.

This adventure of going to a country for a few weeks to check out God's work around the world is a relatively new, somewhat post-modern phenomenon. Today we can practically traverse the globe in relative affordability and comfort. Yet in past times, the words 'short' and 'mission' rarely appeared together.

Those in by-gone eras, called by God to share the message of Jesus with other cultures, were known to pack all their belongings, not into a suitcase but rather a coffin, their coffin, with no guarantee that they would ever return to their homeland. Theirs was a life-long mission, one of language learning, culture, living and sharing with people.

Today, some would say that the landscape of mission has changed forever, that long-term cross-cultural mission (where people spend at least seven years in a country) is gradually falling into extinction.

Our attention spans have grown too short and our careers too important. And yet it is clear that truly effective cross-cultural mission is based on a foundation of strong relationships, a common language and discipleship, all of which take years.

Despite the downward trend, there are still many who are raising their hands to serve overseas long-term as they follow God’s call to be witnesses for Him in all the world. These people who are willing to go the long haul, to spend years learning the culture of the people and sharing Jesus as they go about every day life are certainly not relics of the past.  Rather they are the key to the future of Jesus’ life changing message reaching all corners of the globe.

So with this in mind, what role does short-term mission have to play? Not long ago, I was sitting in a seminar exploring this very topic. And while there were a number of opinions bandied around, there was one wise man who described these taste-and-see visits as an ‘investment of hope’.

An investment of hope not so much for the unreached people, but for us.

Short-term mission, when done with a focus on cultural learning and reflection can change us, open our eyes to see how God is moving in and through people and culture to bring them back into relationship with Him.

Through short-term mission our world becomes bigger and God’s love even greater and if we allow it, the few weeks that we spend in someone else’s land can forever move us.

Haylee Freudigmann
National Young Adults Consultant