Bolivian Radio Ministry Update

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Here is an update from John and Neta, who have many years of experience in radio ministry:

For us the year of 2013 has been a year of many blessings, where God has again proven Himself sufficient for all our needs. It has been a real blessing to see how God is increasingly using the Low German programs, such as Through the Bible Program, Women of Hope, The Bible plus a number of others, in many different ways.

First of all, of course, we have them on our online server, where they can be downloaded to be aired on radio. However, we also have a link on the server called: Low German Programs for Personal Use or Group Studies, which are available for anyone to download.

With the modern technology people have available for listening to these programs nowadays, we are amazed from how far and wide people are calling us, requesting these programs. We have been blessed to see how the Lord is using this ministry, far beyond just on radio.

Besides the above, I (John) have just finished translating the fourth course of a series of four courses called: Foundations for Living Discipleship Course, from English to Low German. The author of this course is Dick Driedger, director of Foundations For Living Society, which is located in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. So, with all the above, we are being blessed very richly and have no need to look for more work.

However, over the past several months we have been asked by the RTM Bolivia board to come and help them with the Low German Ministry. At the formal request of RTM to help them build stability and vision for the Low German side of the RTM ministry, after much prayer, seeking God’s will, we feel that the Lord is calling us to take on this position for a short term.

John and Neta arrived in Bolivia last month. We are so grateful for their continued commitment to the work God has called them to.

3 Summer English Institute Opportunities

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Here are three opportunities to serve in Eastern Europe with the EFCCM:

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1. Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (22nd institute)

  • Dates: July 7-25 (3 weeks)
  • Classes: 20 students in each class, 3 times a day, 50 minutes each class
  • Subjects: teacher’s choice in consultation with team leader
  • Cost: approximately $3200
  • Team leader: Ron McLeod (rmcleodx@shaw.ca)

2. Krivoy Rog, Ukraine (1st ever institute, we trust)

  • Dates: July 7-18 (2 weeks)
  • Classes: 20 students in each class, 3 times a day, 50 minutes each class
  • Subjects: teacher’s choice in consultation with team leader
  • Cost: approximately $3000
  • Team leader: to be announced

3. St. Petersburg, Russia (22nd institute)

  • Dates: July 7-25 (3 weeks)
  • Classes: students divided into 3 groups that rotate through 3 50 minute teaching periods each day
  • while teachers teach same lesson to each group.
  • Subjects: teacher’s choice in consultation with team leader
  • Cost: approximately $3300
  • Team leader: Sharon Funk (sharonfun@gmail.com)

General information for all SEIs:

  • You do not need to be a licensed teacher or ESL trained (but you certainly can be!) But you do need to be able to teach.
  • The deadline for applying will be in April, 2014.
  • Contact Lisa in the EFCCM office (1(877)305-3322 toll free, lisab@efccm.ca) with any questions, or for application forms.

We hope you start the new year off by considering volunteering to come and help in one of these important summer outreaches!

Fall 2013 Pulse in Chinese

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pulse132chThis is the latest version of the EFCC’s Pulse that has been translated into Chinese for us.

Click here to see the Pulse in Chinese!

This one is from last fall (2013).

If you are capable and willing to translate our upcoming mailing list into Chinese for us, please drop us a line!

 

Communication and Leadership — Introduction

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IMGP9030This is the first instalment of a multi-part post discussing communication’s relationship to leadership, especially in the context of church. This isn’t to provide the definitive treatise. Rather it is to get us to think about it in our various settings.

Ironically, the word communication itself is hard to define. For example, it can be used to mean dynamic and interpersonal, or broadcasting (one-way) to the masses, or even the various technologies themselves (eg telecommunication). With a website and social media, any church is now a player on an unpredictably large and complex stage.

Social media redefines what scales, what is private, what is public and there’s no telling what will happen when diverse ideological persuasions are thrown together. In this series, we will examine the things we can and cannot control.

Let’s begin!

Communication uses 5 elements:

A sender transmits a message through a medium to a receiver, hopefully with feedback.

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In short, communication is about how meanings are created. Hopefully they’re shared meanings, or at least compatible — but creating meanings is a lot more complicated and mysterious than simply transferring information.

Are you familiar with the expression “information is power”? It’s often used to describe the government or large multinational corporations. But let’s not limit it to large-scale power. It’s true in families, even between spouses. It’s true among colleagues and friends. And it is certainly true in church!

It’s worth pondering, because communication has a massive bearing on relational health. (It’s crucial to state here that, by itself, communication can neither fix nor break a relationship.)

What you hide, what you share and how you share it shapes others’ perceptions, and influences how they engage. That’s an obvious statement, but it’s surprising how often we don’t analyse others’ behaviour in light of what we have communicated.

Effective communication requires grace. Our minds are always filtering through what was actually said to reconstruct what we believe (or hope) was really intended. It doesn’t matter how much practice we’ve had at this, no-one’s perfect! But take heart — with some better-tuned attention and intention, we can all improve!

How do we prioritise communication?

First and foremost, always consider your audience:

  • Who needs to know?
  • What don’t they know, and what do they need to know?
  • Where are they likely to hear/see new information?
  • Why might they think it’s important?
  • How do you want them to respond?

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Educated guesses regarding this can be bewildering. One of the best ideas is to consider how your communication would appeal to you personally:

  • Would you eagerly reply to the invitation you’re sharing? If not, what would you need to change to make it sound attractive?
  • Would you read the newsletter you’re sending out? How could you better design and/or edit it to draw in a reader?
  • Does the tone sound invitational and hospitable to you, or demanding?

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Unstyled, unedited communication that comes from leaders because they deem it to be important is simply selfish.

In our world, considering how many sources are lavishly generous attracting attention, selfishness is something no communication can afford! Shouldn’t this be even more true where generosity and selflessness are supposed to be highly esteemed?

How is information being shared?

Different media have different strengths and weaknesses (good luck posting a doctoral thesis where you have a 140-character limit!). Here are some questions to help you decide on your choice of media:

  • Where are the people going to hear this message?
  • How sensitive/serious/complex is it?
  • What other messages is it competing with?
  • What do you want people to do with your message?

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Churches have an unprecedented number of communication opportunities available to them, far beyond announcements on a Sunday morning and a paper bulletin. Not to lay a heavy on anyone, but that also means we have an unprecedented number of responsibilities.

I’m not trying to tell you that what you’re doing isn’t effective. I’m not trying to tell you what you “must” do, or even what you “should” do. I want to present an opportunity for us to think through the complexity in our various contexts, take stock of the good things going on, and make them even better.

If there’s any input you’d like to add from your own church context in the comments below, please do.

The next post in this series will focus on the Sender.