Thursday, May 21, 2015

Praying For Leadership

About two years ago one of my very best friends said to me "I feel the need to pray for leadership." Since we were working on building the campus, and I knew soon, things were going to be in flux, I completely agreed, this would be a good idea.

Now we needed to make a plan; how were we going pray without getting caught? We discussed options and decided to be irregular, to move locations, and to not frequent popular GFA coffee stops. At the time it began to bother me. I felt God was calling us to pray, but I also knew if we did it openly we could be reprimanded.  Yes you did just read that.  So on irregular Thursdays occasional Wednesdays hidden in my schedule as "something else" we joined together in prayer, not the same bat channel, not the same bat time, for an hour we prayed for leadership and anything else God placed on our hearts.

Do you find this odd?  Are you asking yourself why did we feel the necessity to hide our actions? free stock photos

Well my first year here at GFA was exciting and I was invited at lunch to pray and fast on Thursdays with some other like minded ladies.  I was used to fasting on Thursdays so I agreed, with anticipation in my heart. I looked forward to praying for the lost world and the needs of the ministry. It was a joy to sacrifice my meal and my free time to pray for the lost. But it didn't last...

Leadership came to us, they had seen us (a group of ladies) meeting together in the office  oh the horrors... behind closed doors.  Long story short we were told it wasn't permitted. I wasn't given a real reason just "it's not allowed, it's not sanctioned." Bemused/shocked/disappointed we stopped.

Now today after all the staff meetings that have been called in the name of transparency, if I were to ask why? I am sure I would be told they didn't want cliques to form.

I feel that answer is pathetic. Cliques are going to form in any organization... To my eyes the most exclusive clique is the one at the top; talk about the kettle calling the pot black.  Funny at the same time in our staff training group we were informed that being in the same class would bind us together to make exceptionally strong friendships. This is very true being in a class together, sharing a trip to India these things will create a group with strong ties to one another... sound like a clique to you? Yeah I thought so too. So to me the attitude of being allowed to be tight with your "besties" on one hand but not being allowed to pray together on the other because of cliques, sends a disingenuous message.

Wouldn't it be better to just allow people to pray? If you were stressed give us a list of things to pray for that will keep us busy. If you thought were were going to get prideful or cliquey tell us that! Ask us to evaluate our hearts on a regular basis, It smacked to me of oddness, and of a lack of trust that the Lord would not guide us. Now getting some distance 12 years later I see the disingenuousness of it all, with 20/20 vision. I see a long standing set of parameters that are based on control not trust.

I do feel leadership has been hurt? of course all people made mistakes. Instead of responding, GFA has reacted. Over an over again they have used one method. Grace is talked of but, when you screw up (or one person, one child messed up), rules are put in place for all members. It is like we are children and they are our parent.

It's fascinating to me I feel GFA has been for years in it's adolescence as a ministry.  As a parent I have to remember my children are arrows from the Lord. At some point we need to take them out, fit them to the bow, draw it back and let them fly. If you don't, you end up with adult children living in the basement watching TV, playing video games and eating all the salami you bought for yourself.

GFA is at a cross roads I truly feel if Rules are truly replaced by Grace, If transparency overcomes the  secretive attitude, if trust not control is lauded; GFA can go on to become an amazing power house for the field. I also think if the staff continues to feel un-empowered,  GFA as a ministry will never grow up, it will stay an adolescent forever never fully growing into all the Lord has for it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Uh.. what did you say?

We have had a few meetings here at GFA to promote transparency between leadership and the staff. Last week a student stood up and talked about how she felt uncomfortable about carrying money into India during her student trip.  My jaw dropped I was floored what the what... Leadership continued on to say how it was "fine" receipts were given and all logged in according to the rules.  But the student was concerned "What if I had lost it, or it got stolen?"  Leadership then said well we would have had to declare it as lost or stolen.  They went on to say "We have discontinued the practice."

Here I sit, my heart in my throat, my mind blown to smithereens. This is not right screams the emotion of integrity in my heart. What about the appearance of evil clause we had to sign.  My mind my thoughts are going boing, boing, boing.   What has happened to my precious ministry...

My freak out arises from the fact students were carrying money by hand.  I always stress out when I pass though customs. If I was carrying a sealed envelope of money for anyone, as an adult I'd be freaking out or having a panic attack.  I think this is due to the scrutiny we have been through when we go through customs as new adoptive parents. It is not easy and always gives me the heebie jeebies. I barely rescued Sweet Potatoes stuffed pig with the rattle in it from customs.  Take note don't take stuffed animals with things inside them through Indian customs. 

My pride of place is devastated I have always been so proud, so pleased, to work here. A place with a high level of integrity.  The 100% goes to the field really drew me here. I used to hate it when high levels of funding went to an organizations administration.  Well 12 years later I see the balancing act of costs to run the organization and cost to serve and I understand it better. 100% to the field is so difficult when you have people that need to feed their family, pay medical bills and etc.

Raising our own support over the years has been difficult. If we had a different policy and allowed a percentage of money coming in to go to the staff what a difference it would make. In reality when we do not have 100% in our account the general fund kicks in the difference. Which is great oh look a percentage of the money coming in does go to help staff yet that isn't the message K.P. preaches from the pulpit. For years it has been like a loose tooth something I prodded at wondered at and explained away thinking we were one of just a few families not at 100%.  Imagine my surprise when I accidentally got someone else's support sheet to discover they were 90% supported by the ministry.  I discreetly put it in the proper box and continued to wonder.

Over the years there has been pressure to be at 100%. In Colorado a guy from another ministry discussed with us an idea he had for full time staff fund raisers. He proved to me the man hours saved alone would be astounding.  On average my husband spends over 120 work hours a year on fund raising.  That's a lot of time it's 5% of his working hours.  This is not including all the Sunday services and Saturday meetings he scheduled, or the additional vacation we would take to fit in an extra weekend so we could stump at more churches.   Just running some numbers in my head 80 families at 120 a year = 9600 work hours that is over 4 people here working on fundraising full time. The guy's point was; If ministries hired 2 people full time to just raise staff support they could do it more effectively and efficiently. Families could still "Friend Raise" but when they hit the plateau and no more financing is forth coming the "staff support" would come in to play and assist.  But I digress...

I'm so concerned this just looks wrong it feels wrong, it may be illegal????  but is it right... the bible verse 1st Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. " keeps running around my brain.