Issue No. 86 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting is here to encourage you as you encourage your team members at your weekly gathering. How many books sell a million copies? Very few. This week’s book did. Plus, this reminder: to review the 85 books I’ve recommended in back issues, visit the archives here and check out my new Management Buckets website.
Annoying Interruption or Prevailing Power?
“To people like me, who are fond of racing down the fast lane, determined to make it on their own, prayer can seem a really annoying interruption,” writes Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. But, he says, the profound reason why people are drawn to prayer is “because they know that God’s power flows primarily to people who pray.” Wow.
Get this. Over one million copies of Hybels’ book, Too Busy Not to Pray, have been sold since 1988. (Click on the title to order from Amazon.) So the publishers have just released a 20th anniversary hardback edition, with a new introduction (Bill’s now a grandfather) and a new chapter on praying for the needs of the world. Reading the book again re-kindled the fires of prayer for me like it did in 1988. I was ready for a refresher course in the school of prayer.
Hybels writes, “…I remember that the most fulfilling byproduct of a life of prayer is not the satisfaction of checking off a daily to-do—perfect attendance in your prayer closet doesn’t always equal deep fulfillment. The most fulfilling byproduct is also not receiving miraculous answers to the actual prayers prayed, although those are wonderful when they occur. What I have discovered along the path of prayer-life cultivation is that the greatest thrill to a life of prayer is the qualitative difference made in one’s relationship with God.”
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1. Bill Hybels wrote that “the real reason my prayers were weak was that my faith was weak.” Do a confidential self-assessment on your faith: strong, okay, plateaued, weak, or non-existent?
2. “Too many believers wear spiritual discipline like a straitjacket,” adds Hybels. What spiritual discipline breathes life (not checklists) into your walk with God?
Bucket #15 of 20: The Budget Bucket - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Over a 20-week period, I’m featuring one of the 20 buckets (core competencies) each week from my new book, Mastering the Management Buckets (now available). Here’s the core competency in Bucket #15, The Budget Bucket:
“We operate with integrity and are accountable for best practices in our financial management. We mentor our team members so they understand the financial implications of our programs. We monitor our progress monthly.”
Ball #3 in the Budget Bucket is simple: “Monitor Monthly Reports.” But here’s the catch. When you change board treasurers, don’t change your reporting! Pardon the pun, but you can take this one to the bank. This scene writes itself all across North America: Your nonprofit board elects a new board treasurer. He’s from the hardware industry and he’s a smart guy. He tweaks the monthly financial reports based on his experience and his accounting knowledge. Your last treasurer was from the hotel industry, and three years ago, she changed the report formats to align with her financial preferences. The previous treasurer asked Cousin Eddie to install financial software from his dry cleaning business. One problem—your nonprofit doesn’t do dry cleaning!
Time out, everyone! This makes absolutely no sense and no thoughtful business person would ever permit this craziness in his or her own business. Resist the temptation to allow elected board treasurers and board finance committees to change the reporting systems at will.
Establish a standard reporting format and stick with it. Dan Busby, author of the 2008 Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide (for 2007 returns), says there is one basic rule in preparing financial reports: “Prepare different reports for different audiences. For example, a church board would normally receive a more detailed financial report than the church membership. Department heads in a nonprofit organization might receive reports that only relate to their department.” It’s simple—but it takes courage to find a report format and stick with it. For more help, check out this standard report format resource from the Budget Bucket.