Monday, November 29, 2004

Mini-Retreats, Coaching & Mentoring 15 Nov-03

NOTE: I wrote this last week, but because of technical reasons, couldn't getit sent out.

Dear Team,

We want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving this week and remind you that we'rethankful for you. God has really blessed us in so many ways, but Ispecifically wanted to write and thank you for giving to the Great CommissionFund, which enables us to be here! Thank you!

Field Retreat Report

We just returned last night from a three and a half day "mini-retreat" in
Bitola, Macedonia. Our speaker for the weekend was Dr. Rick Mann, the Provost of
Crown College in Minnesota. His topic was coaching and mentoring and it was good stuff stuff. Dr. Mann led us through three pretty intense days of thinking about coaching, mentoring and leadership development. I've been looking back through my notes trying to pick out something that would both give you a sense of what we learned and also offer something worthwhile your own growth and edification.
Let me give you this one thing on levels of leadership.
We all start and develop from the level of "personal self-development and/or family leadership." That is, the fundamental level of leadership is
leading our selves and later, our families. If we never lead another thing in our lives, we will always lead ourselves. It is largely up to us to determine the kind of person we will become. It is what Stephen Covey calls "personal mastery." Here are some questions that point to this

  • Are you developing the capacities in your life that will lead you where you want to go?
  • Are the foundations of character, discipline and integrity well-founded in your life
  • Are you practicing good spiritual self-care?
  • Can you complete what you start to do?
  • Can you follow through on the commitments you make?

These are some of the characteristics of personal mastery and
self-leadership. Dr. Mann said that through our lives many of us have the
opportunities to rise to different levels of leadership. Being involved in
volunteer leadership, like leading a Bible study or working with a community
group demands additional leadership skills. If we leave college and enter
the work force there are issues of professional leadership to attend to.
In our 30's we may have additional opportunities (to be honest, I can't read my
handwriting on the notes I took, hence the ?? ;) ) Finally we may be in
position to influence change on a regional or national level.

Here's the point though. Our ability to influence others rests on a foundation of personal mastery, or character and integrity. People can still rise to various levels of leadership, but the more gaps and weaknesses in our base of "personal leadership" the weaker we are. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York led a traumatized city through September 11. But

later the judge in his divorce trial ruled that he wasn't fit to have custody of his children.
There were some gaps in the base of his pyramid.

I want a strong pyramid base in my life and I was challenged this weekend to

continue building that base by practicing the disciplines in my spiritual,
emotional and physical life.

Center Renovation Report

While we were gone in Macedonia, things were moving forward with our center
renovations. It is exciting to start picking out tile and paint!
Please pray for our worker, Ragip. Ragip has just returned to Kosova from
Germany where he has been for the last eight years. He has three children,
two of which were born in Germany and speak better German than they do Albanian.
In fact, this is a common issue among ex-pat Albanians and their children. Often
they've been forced to return to Kosova, but the mother-tongue of their children
is not Albanian! Pray for him and his family. We're hoping that this
relationship would develop into a significant one spiritually.

Ragip has been a real blessing so far. I don't think any of the wallsin our building are square, but he's been doing a great job laying the tile out beautifully.

Early last week he re-plastered and painted the basement. This will be our therapy and computer lap space (and temporary home for the church, until more
renovations are completed. Ultimately, our church will meet here, but I've got enough picture on this page already!

National Church Meeting Report

Last week we asked for your prayers about a meeting that was to be held today. Yesterday some of the national churches in Kosova made another attempt to form a unified national church. For years the national church has tried and failed to come together in a unified manner. But now the government is about to pass new laws for the governance of religious
organizations. The new law requires each "official" religion to have at
least 500 members, among other things. Guess what? No single
evangelical church here has that many members. As a result, the local
churches are being forced to work together in ways that previously were

Initially I was about as interested in attending this meeting as in watching

a train-wreck, but I had been praying and asking you to pray as well. I
have to report that there was a very healthy spirit of cooperation and respect
at the meeting, and a lot of laughter, which is often a good sign. In the
end we agreed to form a working group to come up with the structures of a new
national church organization and meet again in the near future. Praise God
for this first step towards a unified Body here in Kosovo.

Thanks for your prayers and your gifts! We see evidence of both every

day...and we're thankful.

Jeff & Melissa

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