by Andrea Trudden, Director of Communications & Marketing
Being a full-time working parent of toddlers does not leave a lot of downtime.
At work, I have my task list that I check through each day. At home, I have my domestic duties that I enjoy. On the weekends, we have parties, church activities, and visitations. So, when I have a few moments to myself, I find I sometimes feel bored.
I literally don't know what to do with no obligations. (Hence this article I'm writing while waiting for my flight to take off.)
I believe I have become so accustomed to having obligations that I truly have not thought of downtime.
This has forced me to acknowledge that my husband and I have fallen into exactly what our priest warned against in premarital counseling—we are living for our family and not for ourselves.
It's very hard to not live for our family, however, because we both love them so much!
Recently, we were able to take a date night, before coming home and sorting through our bookshelves to clear space in our guestroom, of course. It was so nice to know that we can still just talk about nonsensical things and laugh at each other’s jokes.
Don't get me wrong, we talk every day. But we usually tend to talk about the cute thing one of our kids said, or our conversation revolves around planning for our next event.
This made me revisit Ephesians 5:15-17
""Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity..."
Although I interpreted this initially as, “Do as much as you can,” I’m coming to find that, sometimes what I actually need is an hour to shop, play a game, or just talk.
Sometimes, it’s more “productive” for my soul to stop trying to be so… well, productive.
I encourage you to take some time and do something for you. Maybe it’s walking, reading, or praying... just make sure it’s something you want to do, and something you can do without interruption.
Okay, back to work.
Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
When you take into account all those who have been wounded by this “choice”, it becomes even harder to find something positive—let alone to allow ourselves to think we’re winning.
But, before we throw our hands up and walk away, let’s consider two things that can give us at least a hint that, yes, we are winning.
First, the nearly 1,400 Heartbeat affiliates worldwide directly serve 1,000,000 moms, dads and babies every year. That’s direct service, not estimated impact. Think about it: If the pregnancy help community threw in the towel, countless additional lives would be added to the toll of dead and wounded on account of abortion.
Second, and more importantly, such discussions draw us to envision a time when no abortions are happening. We long for that day. We pray for that eventuality to come about. We hope to see the realization of that dream.
Many pro-lifers give their time and attention to achieve that BIG victory over abortion, by utilizing the political and legislative resources available to us. This is a necessary and worthy goal. But, until that happens, we can—and must—win ONE victory.
That ONE victory involves the mom and baby we will see today, in our centers, in our maternity homes. That’s what we do: We win one victory, one heart, one life at a time.
So take heart. We win every day we step into someone’s life and prevent the tragedy, the loss, and the violence of abortion they are otherwise headed for.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
“Let’s get the volunteers to do it. That will save a bundle!”
Volunteers are often seen as a supply of labor for almost any task or for the implementation of an action item. Leaders - board members and directors alike - often assume that volunteers are the least expensive option available. Think again.
Many moons ago, our pregnancy help center utilized a team of volunteers to accomplish the bulk mailing of our newsletters and appeals. Trays of printed material and envelopes along with stickers and labels were distributed. Presto, some two weeks later the mailing had been delivered.
Upon closer inspection, we realized that, in addition to the volunteer time, two staff members had spent ten work hours (a total of twenty staff hours) each mailing cycle to coordinate the assembly, distribution, and postal paperwork for this process. A local mailing service (also known as a fulfillment house) that had more sophisticated equipment could lower the postal rate and turn the same task around in three working days as opposed to two weeks. Cost comparisons revealed that, for just a few dollars more, we could improve our process, tighten our turn around, and release several volunteers to more personally rewarding tasks.
All leaders recognize the scarcity of resources to accomplish the mission and achieve the vision. The good leader continually evaluates how to allocate the limited resources available for maximum return on the investment for the ministry and those involved.
Adapted from DIRECT Well™, Heartbeat International’s manual for directors.
From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 2, Issue 2
by Betty McDowell, Heartbeat International Director of Ministry Services
As a social worker in the mental health field, I was trained to assess a patient’s level of alertness and orientation by asking them four questions: (1) Who are you? (2) Where are you? (3) What is the date and time? (4) What just happened to you?
This simple exercise helped determine the next steps in diagnosing the patient and constructing a treatment plan. But I have since discovered the value of asking the same four questions to those serving in ministry when I try to help them diagnose a problem and move forward in a clear direction.
How would you answer these four questions?
I have found that spending a little time at the end of each day to review my answers to these four questions has been a great habit. You too may find this practice valuable in becoming alert and oriented x4.
Also check out the link to "The Daily Examen" by St. Ignatius:http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray/
by Rindy Brooks, Heartbeats of Licking County, Newark, Ohio
Our staff retreat in late July focused around 2 Timothy 4:1 – 8 and the need to fulfill our ministry. It is the last recorded letter of Paul as he knew his time of departure was near and he needed to share certain things with Timothy as he passed the torch of ministry.
The study was so timely and personal for us. We had just lost the “Paul” of our pregnancy center. A special lady named Merridy Hoover. She is the reason I and so many are here at Heartbeats of Licking County today. She rescued the center from demise in 1989 and built a solid foundation of faith that we firmly stand on today. Her vision and servant leadership even serves you in Heartbeat affiliates around the world every day.
The prototype for the manual “Talking About Abortion” was written by her – she called it the “10-Point Health and Safety Check List”. She tested it, we trained and used it in our center and found out this “women-centered” approach worked to engage abortion-minded women on the phone to help and care for them. So she called Heartbeat's president, Peggy Hartshorn, and told her this method was working and that it needed to be published by Heartbeat International and distributed.
It was published and still is distributed by Heartbeat. Option Line actually uses this format 24/7 to reach women in crisis. The list of impactful projects Merridy shepherded could continue, but more insightful is to share how she lived up to the end to encourage us to carry on the torch of ministry.
A greeting card came to the center a week after her funeral. It was from her.
We tearfully opened it together at the retreat and what we received from her was our charge. A miracle to us from God, it was the perfect object lesson to illustrate these verses. Merridy “Our Paul” had retired 12 years prior but her prayers and encouragement were steadfast, especially to me, her “Timothy”. I have ably served 12 years as Executive Director and yet for the first time, I felt strangely on my own. And now, in her own hand, written 2 months prior to her passing she says to me, to the staff, and now to you in ministry every day:
“To my beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, His work in you is so beautiful- keep shining with the light of His presence! Keep shining. I am so proud of you all. God’s hand is on your ministry and service to Him.
Love and Blessings, Merridy.”
So let us remember to encourage and teach those “Timothys” in our midst. To clearly charge them and remind them of the suffering and sacrifice in serving Jesus and yet the gladness and joy found in fulfilling our work received from the Lord. I want to be able to pass the torch of ministry and say as in 2 Tim 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Until then, we must carry our torches high and keep shining.
(Staff Retreat material part of Beth Moore’s 3-part DVD series with listening guide “Fulfill Your Ministry!” available from Living Proof Ministries)
by Leslie Malek
Any organization can stumble over the “Smarty-Pants” phenomenon. You may have witnessed this in your pregnancy help organization. Your team gathers to brainstorm. One confident person has a lot to say, speaks forcefully, sounds convincing, and everyone else defers to her passionate solution. This is the solution that will “save the day” – in theory.
In practice, it may be no solution at all. Smarty Pants has lots of ideas but quite possibly doesn’t actually know as much as she thinks she does. The real solutions that the less confident team members offered, or kept to themselves, fell under the imposing weight of Smarty Pants. Confident of intuition but without cause, Smarty Pants doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. A number of studies have explored the smarty-pants effect on groups and found over and over that people defer to information that comes from a confident person but in fact, there is an inverse relationship between confidence and knowledge.
“Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments” by Justin Kruger and David Dunning of Cornell University documents this phenomenon. The authors suggest that overconfident people often lack social and intellectual skill and thereby not only tend to erroneous conclusions and unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.
More simply put, a lack of knowledge tends to lead a person to greater confidence than is warranted. The over-confidence that Smarty Pants projects leads people to believe that she is actually more knowledgeable than Smarty Pants really is.
At Harvard University, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons carried out a number of experiments on this topic. In one experiment known as The Invisible Gorilla (now a classic in psychology), two groups, one wearing black and the other wearing white, pass two basketballs around. The viewers are asked to count the number of times the basketball is passed, something that is easy to do. Interestingly, half the viewers completely miss that a gorilla walks through the action and thumps its chest. Even more interesting, according to Simons, is the deep-rooted belief held by most people that they would notice something as out of place as a gorilla at basketball practice. In a survey commissioned by Chabris and Simons, more than 75 percent of a representative sample of American adults “agreed that they would notice such unexpected events, even when they are focused on something else.” Two things stand out from this experiment: people miss a lot of what goes on around them and they often have no idea that they are missing so much. They don't know that they don't know.
Another experiment by Chabris and Simon involved groups of people working together to solve a math problem. Instead of deferring to the person with the greatest math knowledge, the group deferred to the most confident person, regardless of that person’s knowledge. In 94 percent of the cases, each group’s final answer was the first answer suggested, regardless whether it was right or wrong, and it was the most confident person present who offered this answer.
Teams make the most progress when they are able to distinguish between confidence and knowledge. Effective team leaders make sure that everyone has input. The leader does help the group recognize the relationship between opinions and the actual knowledge and experience behind that information and does not just allow the most confident person to sway the result. Great team leaders also know that they do not know everything: that is why great leaders surround themselves with skilled and knowledgeable team members who do know a lot about their area of expertise. The leader and team members must explore what the individuals of the group actually know -- before coming to a conclusion.
A team that defers to confidence instead of knowledge and experience can make some astoundingly bad decisions.
The take away? Pay attention to the opinions of the most self-effacing, best listeners, and weigh the real expertise and knowledge of the most confident members on your team.
Book review by Debbie Schirtzinger, Heartbeat International Affiliation Coordinator
“What does true encouragement look like – the kind that changes lives forever? To encourage people is to help them gain courage they might not otherwise possess – courage to face the day, to do what’s right, to take risks, and/or to make a difference. And the heart of encouragement is to communicate a person’s value. When we help people feel valuable, capable, and motivated we sometimes see their lives change forever – and then see them go on to change the world.
“God’s love for us gives us the reason to encourage others.God’s love in us gives us the ability to encourage others.God’s love through us gives us the way to encourage others.”
Encouragement is an essential part of growing a positive attitude and improving life; and providing that encouragement benefits both the giver and the receiver(s). This book is packed with timeless quotes, scriptures, and short but meaningful stories that illustrate the value of offering and receiving encouragement. Author John Maxwell shares ways to effectively provide the kind of encouragement that transforms individuals, families, churches, and work teams into happier, healthier, more affirming networks.
Heartbeat provides several resources and trainings that were created for the Executive Director of a Pregnancy Help Organization. We know it takes a lot of your heart, time, and energy to manage staff and volunteers, work well with the Board, make sure prospective clients can find you, and keep the organization on budget (not to mention keeping that budget funded). We're here to help you find the right tools for the job.
Executive Director resources available for you include:
Heartbeat provides several resources and trainings that were created for the Board Member of a Pregnancy Help Organization. The Board sets the mission and vision for an organization. It's a challenging role, and for many organizations just starting out, the Board also staffs an organization. There's a lot to learn and a lot to take in, so Heartbeat has tools and training to support each Board Member to make more effective pregnancy help organizations.
Board Member resources available to you!
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