Blog

We Serve To Lead. But We Must Lead.

ambitionHow about this as a motto “We Serve to Lead”

Leadership as Service; I think that’s counter-cultural but it is what we need. It’s the way that True Leaders will step to the fore.

I recently heard a sermon that suggested that working people should give up their personal ambitions to give more of their life to God. Now I have no objection to anyone giving their life to God, perhaps by joining an Order of monks / nuns or by seeking ordination. However I do question the idea that ambition is, in some way, bad.

Personal ambition is a Christian virtue, read Luke 19:11=27 the original Apprentice!

As a society we live in a global village, our lives are seriously impacted by the decisions made by business and government leaders. Those leaders come from the body that includes all of us.

I want Christians to step forward and to say “here I am, count me in” I want Christians to be part of the decision making process.

How many Christians have heard sermons like the one I have spoken of  and felt guilty about their own ambitions?

In the 1930’s there was a big movement amongst communists to “get a First for Jo”. The idea being that students should prove communism was better because communists get First Class Honours!

Maybe it’s time to get a First for Christ. Become a leader for Christ. To be ambitious for Christ.

Christians in the workplace need to be servants, they need to be meek; they can draw on this to be leaders.

They can Serve to Lead.

A Washed up, Worthless Wreck? Or a Faithful Servant Worn out by Service?

 



wreck

I took this picture during a walk around the Deben estuary. An abandoned hulk the history of which I know nothing. 

It got me thinking about judgement, what is good? What is bad? How often do we look 
at a person and judge them?

 "She's no better than she ought to be."

 "He's been in prison I won't employ him."

 "She dresses like ..."

In our work places and social life how often do we judge an individual based on first
impressions? 

Perhaps too often.

Of course we need to make judgement calls. In our business and persomal lives we need 
to make decisions based on minimal input. 
As Christians we must be wary of judging people.


The Bible is very clear on this issue. Jesus calls on us not to judge our frineds, colleauges or strangers. He warns us that to do so hurts us.

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, 
 you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention 
 to the plank in your own eye? 
 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ 
 when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 
 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, 
 and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." 
(Matt. 7:1-5)


That washed up wreck might very well be a person who has given years of service,
has done great things. 

When we experienced the crash a few years ago, one of the issues identified was that 
companies had lost their corporate memory.
They had replaced the washed out wrecks with young, energised, ambitous graduates. 
The company had no memory of a recession.
The folk who had earnt their stripes during the past recessions and crises 
were now pensioned off, dismissed as washed up.

Maybe it's time to embrace the status quo and the exciting future 
with equal enthusiasm. The future is not a new world.

The future is the continuation of the past.

 

What is the Christmas you are waiting for?

img_0042

 

Many years ago I had a colleague, Derek, who had spent some time working in Asia. He was part of an ex pat community that suddenly popped up in a number of Asian cities during what was called the emergence of Tiger economies.

In what appeared the blink of an eye these Asian cities were suddenly hosting western business people who were not just flying in for a brief business trip but were staying for prolonged assignments. Welcoming them as guests they also sought to provide them with the goods and services that made them feel at home. Suddenly HP sauce and Marmite appeared on supermarket shelves!

Derek tells the story of a large department store that wanted to celebrate Christmas. Not in any spiritual or religious sense but as a commercial opportunity. The problem was that they didn’t really know what Christmas was. Ever inventive, the store manager sent his window dressers off to find out what the best image of Christmas would be to attract the Americans and Europeans into his shop.

After much research and consultation the design team came up with a Christmas concept for the department store’s window. A tableau of children opening presents under a Christmas tree all overlooked by a red-coated Santa Claus hanging from a cross!

A ludicrous image for Christmas? More ludicrous than Disney style animals bouncing on a trampoline? Derek’s tale may well be apocryphal but it serves to illustrate the point that our view of Christmas has been enormously distorted. Even so called Christian imagery parodies rather than commemorates the Bible story. Read the Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth and you will find no stable, any more than you will find three oriental kings.

The Christmas story has been bowdlerised by commercial interests but also by lazy Christian teaching. What should be celebrated as one of the greatest events in history has been marginalised and trivialised. So this year why don’t we all try to get a taste of the true story of Christmas.  Visit a local church for a Christmas service, if you don’t know where to find one email us at ipschaplain@gmail.com and we will happily help you. You may decide that it’s not for you, you may not be willing to accept it but at least you will be saying no to what the bible teaches and not to a Boxer called Buster!

The Half Halt. Equestrianism and Advent.

When a show jumper turns into a jump they need to get the horse’s attention. To get it to focus on the job in hand so they use what is called a “Half Halt”.

The Half-Halt is a riding aid given by a rider to it’s horse, in which the “go on boy” and “whoa there” messages are applied in quick succession. It is sometimes thought of as an “almost halt,” asking the horse to prepare to halt in balance, before pushing forward to continue in its purpose.

What the rider is doing is asking the horse to get ready for the next big thing.

Advent is the church’s Half Halt. It’s a time when we reflect on where we are and prepare for what’s to come. Our services become focused on preparation. On being ready.

What about in the work place?

The work place during the build up to Christmas is consumed by the need to plan and prepare. Who gets time off? How do we meet deadlines?

In my company we pay about 750 people each week.

They are temps who are working in different sites for different hours. The rules are simple; you work Monday to Sunday. You give us your time sheet on the following Monday. We process it so that on Wednesday BACS is told to pay you on Friday.

It’s a process that works day in day out. Until Christmas.

A temp working in the week before Christmas still wants to be paid on the following Friday,  so my pay roll team has one day to do 3 days’ work!

Time for a Half Halt!

Time to reflect.

Time to plan.

In your work situation you are also getting ready for Christmas.

Getting busy.

Maybe getting hassled.

Perhaps it’s time for  a Half Halt.

Time for Advent.

Time to take stock.

Time to reflect and plan.

Is there a place for God at work?

 

workinggod

 

Is getting God to work a good idea?

As a company director I want my employees to go the extra mile.

To carry the company brand beyond the hours I employ them.

In return, I need to acknowledge that their extra work life will permeate their office life. I want their “whole self” to be committed to our business; so I need to allow that self to find expression in the office. Whether that is their involvement in the local football team or local politics.

A while ago Jack Welch published a post on Linkedin entitled “Go Ahead, Talk About Politics at Work”, you can read his thoughts here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/go-ahead-talk-politics-work-jack-welch?trk=mp-reader-card

Mr Welch’s contention is that it is a positive thing for workers to share their political thoughts in the work place. Not because politics per se is a good topic but because:

“…you should always bring your whole self to work. You should bring your interests and your passions. You should bring your authenticity. Being real is the only way to be.”

How far can we go with the idea of bringing the “whole self” to work?

For many people that concept incudes, in fact is defined by, their faith. God is a vital, defining part, of many people’s lives. It defines how they want to interact with colleagues, customers and employers.

Are we ready to allow God in the work place?

What happens if it’s not our God? So many questions spring out, but if we accept conversations about Trump, why not God?

In March this year, Renata Chester, FD of Suffolk Life, spoke to an audience of Ipswich business people on the subject:

“Is the bottom line the only kind of profit in business?”

Local press reported it here http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/ipswich_businesses_urged_to_adopt_triple_bottom_line_focus_on_people_plant_and_profit_1_4465650

The essence of her thesis was that there is a place for God in the workplace, I wonder how uncomfortable that makes you.

If the “whole self” is important to the work place do we need to find a place for God in the office, factory or building site as we find room for Brexit, Sport and Trump?