Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Evangelism, evangelism teams and leadership

Previously,  our  Question Evolution! Campaign group indicated that it is going to contact approximately 180 creationist groups in North America plus contact Christians throughout the globe in order to create other Question Evolution! groups and form alliances with other Christian groups. See: Making 2012 be the WORST year in the history of Darwinism and  A twelve step plan for accelerating the decline of global atheism and increasing creationism

The Christian author and expert on Christian leadership John C. Maxwell wrote in his book Developing the leader within you: "Everything rises and falls on leadership".

In order for Question Evolution! Campaign groups, Creation Ministries International, Christendom as a wholeto optimally engage in creation evangelism, internet evangelism and evangelism as a whole, leaders need to be found and developed.

The empirical research indicates that leaders can be developed and they are not born. William A. Cohen in his work The Art of the Leader wrote:
Some say leaders are born as leaders and come into existence in no other way. Thus their scarcity is as a result of Mother Nature. Research proves this wrong. Many leaders who later were acknowledged as great leaders went unrecognized for years.

I saw that many factors some thought important for leadership had little to do with being or becoming a good leader. These include education, wealth, years of experience, or even position within an organization.

Maybe you thought that yu must be the formal manager of some organization to be a leader. I have seen hundreds of outstanding leaders who weren't formal managers of anything. Yet they and their organizations received significant benefits from their leadership.
 Leonard Ravenhill tells a story about a group of tourists visiting a village. As one tourist passed an old man in the village, he asked "Were any great men born in this village?"  The old villager replied, "Nope only babies."

A model for Christians fighting the good fight of faith

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

How can Christians best fight the good faith when it comes to evangelism?

What leadership model is best?

The Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote:
Warfare is a great matter to a nation;
it is the ground of death and of life;
it is the way of survival and of destruction, and must be examined
Whether one is involved in spiritual warfare or earthly warfare, the stakes are high.

One of the best books I read on leadership is the book The Art of the Leader by William A. Cohen, P.h.D. which is a book designed to enable people to effectively use the combat model of leadership.

Cohen  gives 6 key components of the combat model of leadership:

1. Be willing to take risks.

2. Be innovative

3. Take charge

4. Have high expectations

5, Maintain a positive attitude

6. Get out in front.

Having high expectations and being committed to them

 The Christian writer, speaker and mountain climber John Noe wrote that "High achievers make no small plans". Common sense and the Bible concur with statement. The Bible indicates that Christians serve a powerful God who is willing to assist his people. There is no excuse for living a small life. Jesus said, "All things are possible to those who believe".

A study of 267 individuals from a wide variety of cultures was done which found that:

1. People with written goals accomplished about 50% more than people with unwritten goals

2. People who made a commitment to a friend achieved 50% more.

3. People who made progress reports achieved almost double that of people with unwritten goals.

These findings indicate that the best and most productive volunteer organizations have concrete objectives via written goals, have team spirit and communicate with each other regularly in terms of their progress.

Good ways for this to be accomplished are the buddy system where people help other and hold each other accountable for reaching the teams goals. I know a person who manages large teams of independent contractors across the globe and he has found two things are especially helpful: treating people as valued members of the team and regular email reports as far as people's progress. This enables leaders to help people if they need assistance or get stuck plus it serves as a reminder to people as far as staying focused.

Leading out in front

Leadership is by example. General Douglass MacArthur set a record for becoming the U.S. Army's youngest major general and one of the things MacArthur did was lead from the front and not from the back.

The Israeli Army is one of the most successful armies in the world. Their motto is "Follow me".  William Chen wrote in 1990 that despite the fact that the Israeli Army having the highest rate of officer casualties in the world, they did it anyways because they knew that leaders must lead by getting out front. 

SMART written goals

What are SMART written goals?

SMART written goals are:

1. Specific

2. Measurable

3.  Achievable

4. Results Orientated & Relevant 

5. Time-bound

Achievable is very important so having smaller and achievable short term goals gives people a sense of accomplishment and focus. Time-bound is important too as it creates focus.

Volunteer team sizes

In 2000, the Australian Sports Commission wrote in a report on managing volunteers for various events:
Assigning one person (eg the Event Coordinator or the Volunteer Coordinator) to recruit, monitor and direct large numbers of volunteers can be both inefficient and ineffective. Rather than one person being responsible for supervising all volunteers, it is better to have small groups of volunteers (work units) reporting to a number of volunteer supervisors.

This introduces the ideas of span of control (ie the number of volunteers or work units supervised by one person) and division of labour (ie specialised roles for volunteers or work units). The Event Coordinator has a manageable number of volunteer supervisors reporting to him or her and in turn the volunteer supervisors have responsibility for coordinating a manageable number of volunteers in a defined area of specialisation. Dividing volunteer labour into manageable units improves the efficiency and effectiveness of volunteer
supervision within defined areas of responsibility.

There is no ideal span of control (ie ratio of volunteers to supervisors), rather it is dependent on the tasks performed and the objectives of an event. When work is repetitive, routine and not all that specialised, less supervision is required so it is possible for a supervisor to have a larger span of control. More complex and specialised tasks often require greater supervision, so it is better for event volunteers to be structurally closer to their supervisor under such circumstances.
A 2009 article in The Economist entitled Span of Control declared:
A manager's span of control is the number of employees that he or she can effectively be in control of at any one time.

Views on the ideal span of control have changed over time as thinking about corporate structure itself has changed. For the first 60 years of the 20th century, when managers favoured a structure based largely on military models, a consensus formed around the number six. After 1960, however, management styles began to change. Flatter, less hierarchical and more loosely structured organisations implied larger spans of control. The consensus on the size of the ideal span rose to between 15 and 25. GE's guideline was that no managers should have more than 10–15 people reporting to them directly. There was also a wide-spread feeling that five layers was the maximum with which any large organisation could function effectively. Jack Welch, a former boss of GE, once wrote: “When there are a lot of layers, it usually means managers have too few people reporting to them.”

The coming of the virtual organisation made managers take a new look at the concept. In a virtual organisation people work as independent self-contained units, either individually or in small teams. They have access to (electronic) information that lays down the boundaries within which they can be autonomous. But at the same time they are allowed to be completely free within those boundaries. In such an environment, the ideal span of control can be very large. Indeed, it can scarcely be called a span of control any longer; it is more a span of loose links and alliances.

 Based on the above, I think proliferating the number of 10-25 member evangelism teams would be the most effective way of advancing creation evangelism, internet evangelism and other forms of evangelism. In order for Christian evangelism teams to have a sense of fellowship, I would think that 10-15 member teams would be best. Of course, the simpler the tasks the bigger teams could be and the more complex the tasks, the smaller the groups should be.

For Question Evolution! Campaign volunteer teams and internet evangelism teams it would make sense to initially organize them by country. Creation Ministries International has offices in: United States, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. 

Multiplying volunteer groups and giving them flexibility

Publishers Weekly did a review of the classic book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.

Here is an excerpt of Publishers Weekly review:

Apache Indian tribes "are made up of many smaller units capable of operating, growing and multiplying independently of each other, making it very difficult for a rival force to control or defeat them."

 Three points:

1. Giving teams some flexibility on how to advance the Question Evolution! Campaign or ownership gives them a sense of ownership and increases innovation and people taking risks. At the same time, there is something to be said for not reinventing the wheel and having proven turn key systems for people to use.  After all and is said and done, there is a balance.

2. I think encouraging teams to create new teams and alliances is important. Encouraging volunteer groups to create new groups will create new leaders and increase the amount of volunteers faster.

Groups creating alliances with other Christian groups disseminates the evangelism faster as other groups have networks of people.  In addition, alliances can increase the amount of volunteer effort via joint projects.

3. Grassroots efforts such as the Question Evolution! Campaign are going to have independent people that start up efforts on their own. I know of one internet evangelism organization that had someone
they did not know has taken the initiative to set up a social media webpage at MySpace and it was senindg them 1,000 visitors per month. So it is important to give people ideas and tools to do things on their own. For example, an easy thing to do is to have "link to us" page and an RSS feed.

Recommended further reading

1. Developing the leader within you by John Maxwell

2. Developing the leader within you workbook by John Maxwell

3. The Art of the Leader by Willaim A. Cohen, P.h.D.

4. Peak Performance Principles  by John Noe

5. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations

Question evolution! campaign resources

Question Evolution! Campaign

15 questions for evolutionists

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 1 - Questions 1-3

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 2 - Questions 4–8

Responses to the 15 Questions: part 2 - Questions 9-15

Refuting evolution

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