Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Managing the Non Profit Corporation

A couple months ago I had a facebook conversation with one of my mentors, Jeff Kern. He was the CEO of Great Commission Ministries for many years, and he’s an extremely organizationally savvy guy. During the conversation, I asked him if there were any books he would recommend for learning how to work/manage a non-profit organization that consisted mainly of volunteers.

Immediately, he recommended Peter Drucker’s Managing the Nonprofit Organization and I was really thankful. I was thankful because I had heard of Drucker (he was an organizational/business guru), and I had just ordered the book from Amazon two days before so I was glad I didn’t pick a lemon.

So I started reading the book, and there is so much great stuff in it’s pages. Not only does it share great principles and practices, but each section includes interviews with individuals who have led some massive nonprofits like the American Heart Association and the Boy Scouts of America.

I really enjoy the book because it doesn’t just keep principles in the world of the theoretical. It gives very tangible examples of how organizations have grown and thrived in an environment where the bottom line isn’t products being sold, but rather lives being changed.

As I read the pages of this book, I could hear echoes of this book in virtually every other book I’ve read in the last ten years on the subject of leadership. This book is great, and it is among a handful I would recommend to anyone working in the world of non-profits. It’s not edgy and hip, but it is very principled, sensible, and helpful for folks trying to make a tangible difference in this world through their endeavors.

Just thought I’d share this brief review and recommendation for anyone out there who might be interested.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ending Terrorism and Extreme Poverty? Jake's Story

The End (Jake's Story) from Nuru Media on Vimeo.

Today is Veteran's Day, it's a day when we honor those who have fought in the past, and we look toward a time when war will end. Veteran's day actually started as Armistice day and commemorates the end of fighting in World War I on November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m., known as the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Today is also the day that Nuru chose to launch our latest video. The video tells the story of one veteran, Jake Harriman, and how he was forever changed by the link he saw between terrorism and extreme poverty. This video is being featured on a number of websites today (most of them much more well known than this blog), and many others are coming to similar conclusions to Jake. The end of terrorism is intrinsically linked to the end of extreme poverty.

Here's an ugly truth. If we don't do something about the issue of extreme poverty that makes a sustainable difference, not only are we choosing to ignore our neighbor instead of love them, but we are setting ourselves up to reap consequences through providing breeding grounds for terrorist organizations. We really need to stand up and do something about this issue.

And that's really the good news. We can actually do something about this issue. On this Veteran's day, will you join Nuru's efforts and get in the fight to end extreme poverty? What if we were able to say that our generation was the one that brought an end to extreme poverty?

One of the biggest ways you can help right now is by getting Jake's story out there. Will you take just a moment, and share a link to the video on your wall on facebook. Tell a friend about Jake's story. Blog about it. Write about it. Tweet about it. And then encourage your friends to get more involved as well. Will you join with Jake and others around the world who are fighting this fight to end extreme poverty?

I'll end this blog with a few words from Jake that he shared on the One Campaign's website.

"There is hope for those without choices. We can end extreme poverty in our lifetimes, and in so doing, answer the cry of the desperate, give a voice to the voiceless, and provide choices to impoverished men and women who have been struggling for so long.
A revolution has begun…a revolution to wake up and mobilize a generation to end this fight once and for all. There is no room in this fight for egos, partisan politics, or ideological differences. One sixth of humanity cries out to us today – asking you and me to simply put our differences aside and use our talent, skills and resources to empower them with choices. This Veteran’s Day, I ask you to step forward and get in the fight with us. In so doing, you will ensure that thousands of brave veterans and countless global citizens have not sacrificed their lives in this war in vain. Join the revolution. Be hope. Be light. Be Nuru"--Jake Harriman

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


I Am Nuru from Nuru International on Vimeo.

I am completely blown away from the latest video installment coming from Nuru's media team. They connected with people all over the United States as well as people in Kenya and recorded folks saying "I am nuru" . . . along with reason's why. It's hard for me to watch this video with tears welling in my eyes. It thrills me to see people take a stand and work together toward solutions to problems, and this video is utterly inspiring to me.

What I love most about this video is that it features people from all walks of life. It features people in Kenya who are being empowered and trained to lift themselves out of extreme poverty--for good! It also features people from all walks of life who are being Nuru in their respective fields. Doctors, school children, pastors, college students, business executives and politically minded individuals are all being Nuru in their respective areas. Also, there are a few celebrities who have gotten involved with Nuru too. Prominent author and leadership guru Nancy Ortberg shares some of what she loves about Nuru too. It's also thrilling to have the members of the up and coming band, Green River Ordinance making a cameo. Not only that, but the original score for this video was composed by Kendall Combes of the Charlie Hall Band.

It's so exciting to see just a few of the names and faces who are getting involved in this work to end extreme poverty by empowering communites to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Personally, the reason why I'm so involved in this issue is because I believe that this is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation. I also believe that the collaborative and empowering model that Nuru is using to engage in this work is absolutely incredible. Extreme poverty leads to other problems like terrorism, human trafficking, and slavery, and it doesn't have to be this way. I believe future generations will judge ours by what we did or did not do to end extreme poverty when we have the potential to eradicate it, one community at a time, together.

Will you join the people who have linked together in this endeavor? You can help today by joining the IAMNURU campaign on Nuru's website.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and I hope you will join me, and many others in confronting the crisis of extreme poverty.

Be Hope. Be Light. Be Nuru.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Forgotten God

I recently read Francis Chan’s latest book, Forgotten God and I thought I would share a few thoughts from it with you. It’s a great book, though not on the same ground as his first book Crazy Love, but hey, it’s a different book.

The premise of the book is that many Christians find themselves relying more on their own skills and talents than they do on the God of all Creation. He argues that it is easy to create a really cool hip church community, and easy to get caught up in doing things that require very little faith. In fact, he has noticed that it is very easy for people to pursue just about any lifestyle and then work to find scriptures that defend their position. What we believe about any given thing absolutely shapes how we will act.

The book is great because each section ends with a story about people who are doing some pretty amazing stuff as they have been led by the Spirit. The stories are compelling and energizing and sometimes indicting.

I just picked up the book again and started looking through some sections I had underlined. One of them was a call to action. Maybe it will be catalytic for you. A lot of his book has to do with obedience, and our willingness to listen for the voice of God and strive toward following that voice no matter where it takes us.

“I think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.
It is easy to use the phrase “god’s will for my life” as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It is much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It’s safer to follow Him someday instead of this day.

I’ve heard many people tell me that they are waiting for God to call them to something. More and more, I’m becoming singularly convinced that this world needs more people who are present and obedient to radical love. Presence keeps us rooted in the world around us and the needs around us and not in the realm of possible needs. Radical love calls us to care for our neighbors, our coworkers, our family, and even our enemies, those who would hurt and mistreat us.

May you be an example of radical love, presence, and obedience, that starts this day and in this place and not in some ethereal future.

And, if you are interested in reading more from Mr. Chan, I recommend Forgotten God, but don’t expect it to be lots of chummy feel good emo-stuff.