Tuesday, December 02, 2014

It's National Giving Day

It's National Giving Day.  (I checked it out, Dec 2 really is National Giving Day) NGD is a way to bring some balance and perspective to the general excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  If you don't know what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, that's probably a very good thing! If you do, you'll know why National Giving Day matters.

Leading Influence is entirely funded by the generosity of individuals, churches and businesses that believe in what we do.  This gives us tremendous freedom because our funding is subject to political strings and influence.  We made a concious decision when we founded the ministry that we would not seek government funding to do our job.  Instead, we would share our story and trust God to provide for us as we are faithful to serve those God has chosen to lead our province and nation.  7 1/2 years later, that decision continues to pay dividends!

There are multiple ways you can partner with us financially.  While the secret of our stability is found in monthly/bi-monthly giving, there are many people who give annually, periodically or through one of our fundraising events.  We are tremendously grateful for generosity of the many who make what we now do in 3 provinces through chaplaincy and 5 provinces through our prayer networks possible. Our ministry footprint extends from BC to Ontario and none of it would happen without the faithful partnership of our donors and supporters.

If you are new to us, or would like a bit of a 'refresher' on giving options, pay close attention as our options have changed.

1) You can give electronically through interac etransfer.  After you login to your online banking account, choose the interac transfer option, choose the amount you would like to give.  Follow the instructions on your screen.  Make the question, 'Who is this for?' and the answer 'Leading Influence'.  Use 'give@leadinginfluence.com' as the email address for notification.  We will receive your gift promptly and you will be receipted at year end.

2) You can give by Credit Card through CanadaHelps.  CanadaHelps is a Canadian Charity that provides Credit Card processing services for other charities.  If you give through CanadaHelps, your information is secure and you will be receipted through CanadaHelps at year end.  Click here to visit our CanadaHelps Donor Page.

3) You can give by Pre-Authorized Debit.  Contact our office through the secure form by clicking here.  We continue to see many people opting to give in this manner on a monthly basis. 

4) You can give by cheque simply by mailing to our office at Leading Influence, 626 Blanshard St, Victoria, BC V8W 3G6.

If you'd like to speak with us about how you can give, please contact us directly using this form or call our office at 250-483-5934.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fall Session Comes To An End

The Fall Session of the Legislature ended 'early' last Thursday.  By 'early' I mean it ended at noon instead of at 6 PM.  It's been a long 7 weeks.  One of the security staff said it looked like a fire drill as MLAs were hurrying to get to their cars in time to catch the 1 PM ferry.  One member told me that he intentionally backs his vehicle in so that he can get a few second advantage lead on the way home.  

I had the opportunity to speak with a retired MLA from another province early in the session. When he heard of my role as a chaplain, he described the work of an MLA as 'soul crushing'.  I think it's a good description.  It's a unique kind of work that can be tremendously rewarding while at the same time, be perpetually exhausting.  It's soul crushing for a lot of reasons.  The combination of workload, the stress from the unrelenting expectations, the separation from family and friends and the emotional drama of the politics can make you weary.  Some days, it's beyond absurd.  Just today, I visited with an MLA who told me she received recent criticism over the colour of her hair and in the past over her choice of wardrobe.  Sometimes it's a bit hard to grasp why people pounce on the things that they do.

At the same time, there are some remarkable rewards.  Last week a member showed me a Thank You card he received from a family he had been able to help.  What made this card special was that he received a duplicate card that he was able to deliver to the Minister who assisted him.  Nothing feels better than knowing you've made a genuine difference in someone's life.

This has been an incredible session for Leading Influence.  Here are some highlights!

1)  Every week, I met with a group of MLAs to pray and encourage one another in their faith.

2)  Watching God answer the many prayers that we prayed week by week.

3)  Every week, I had the opportunity to connect with a member that I had not met previously. I love being able to tell people that my only purpose in being there is to encourage and support them as they do their work.  It's especially rewarding when they realize that I'm able to do it because many people partner together financially so it can happen.

4) God has opened some incredible doors of ministry into the lives of people He has added to my network at the Legislature.

5) Giving a 'welcome back' hug to an MLA who has overcome cancer in the past year and nearly died during treatment. We prayed often that God would heal him!

6) Being part of the MLA running group that runs rain or shine two mornings a week.  It''s a phenomenal opportunity to journey along with members in a unique and non-threatening setting

7) Spending time with our new Chaplain in Alberta.  Uve Knaak is doing a great job already!

8) Taking a minute to encourage a member of the security staff whose wife is undergoing cancer.  I felt prompted to give him my card on the last day of the session and told him I would be praying for him and his wife.  I'm expecting an incredible outcome!

9) Being asked why I still have a visitor pass when I should have a regular one because 'you live here'.

10) The privilege of pointing people who know and don't yet know Jesus towards the hope, love and life that He gives.

Transform Your World Conference Report

Someone gently reminded me that I was way past due on a ministry update.  That was 2 weeks ago... Apparently, I came home with a stronger case of 'island fever' than I thought I did.  In any case, I'm here now.

Barb and I had the privilege of attending the Transform Our World conference in Hawaii.  It was the first time we had been there and I may have made several attempts to convince God of the desperate need for chaplaincy ministry at the State Capitol.  He was quite clear that a trip to Edmonton in November was more in keeping with what He had in mind for me!

The conference was an incredible opportunity to meet and connect with people from all around the world who are seeing God do remarkable things both in Government and in the Marketplace.  It's hard to explain how inspiring and affirming the conference was to both of us.  Many have asked what has impacted us the most during our time there.  Having had a few weeks to ponder and process what we saw, heard and learned, I'd have to say that more than anything, I took away the clear sense that God is doing much more than most of us think He is in transforming the marketplace and government.  

While many people think of ministry in this area as unique and 'outside the box', the truth of the matter is that the Early Church found it's traction and growth in the marketplace.  The Book of Acts is almost entirely a record of the Holy Spirit at work through the church in this sphere of influence. The good news is that He continues to work just as powerfully as He ever has and that lives, businesses, communities and nations are being impacted as a result.  This is an exciting place to serve Jesus and to partner with Him as He transforms our world!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Transform Our World Conference

Barb and I had the privilege to spend the better part September 19 with Dr. Ed Silvoso from Transform Our World.  God is using Dr. Silvoso all around the world to bring spiritual and social transformation to communities and nations by working with political and business leaders.  Over breakfast he encouraged us both to attend his upcoming conference in Hawaii.  While I smiled and said that I would like to go, the cost of attending made it seem impossible.... until the next day when the Transform Your World Conference in Victoria received an offering to send Barb and I to Hawaii.  We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the church in Victoria and your confidence in us. We have never been to Hawaii and the excitement around this trip is growing by the minute!! 

We have high expectations for what God has in store at this conference and believe that our personal and ministry grids are about to be expanded!!  It is an incredible blessing and opportunity for us to be there.  We can hardly wait!!

He vs. She - The Rubber Match

After a hard fought battle last year, the 3rd Annual He vs.She Half-Marathon looms large on the horizon.  This epic fundraising battle of the sexes between Tim and Barb happens again this fall, culminating with the Good Life Half Marathon on Oct 12.  In year 1, Tim had some last minute help to get him over the top!  Last year, Barb got some significant help from her 'California Cousins' to put her over the top.  This year... it's anyone's challenge!!

The plan is simple.  Sponsor the participant of your choice on either a per/km basis or at a flat rate. A half marathon is 21 kms, so a $5/km pledge is a $105 commitment, $10/km is $210. 

Bragging rights and the right to be called 'Champ' for the entire year are on the line!  You get to decide who holds the title!!

Our goal for this fundraiser is $5500. It is a planned part of our regular budget that helps us provide ministry to MLAs.  This is a fantastic way for those of you who believe in what we do but don't often have the opportunity to get to a local fundraiser to support the work of Leading Influence.  We need and value your financial partnership!

Make your pledge by clicking here!  Thanks for your support! 

Pledge deadline is October 12 at midnight!

Please Welcome Uve Knaak!

I love how God makes things happen!  At the beginning of summer, our Chaplain position in Alberta became vacant.  Rather than beginning an intense search and recruiting process, I really felt like I was to wait until the fall.  I confess that I'm not a very good 'waiter', but in this case, God reminded me of something that He taught me within our first few weeks in Victoria.  Waiting is not wasting my time.  Waiting is giving God the freedom to work in a situation without my getting in the way.  My job is to stay focused on what He has asked me to do, while He does His job and works things out behind the scenes.

Over the course of the summer, I met Uve Knaak, (OooVay) through a mutual friend.  Uve asked about Leading Influence and Alberta in particular.  I mentioned that we had a ministry opportunity open in Edmonton and we began a conversation about his potential involvement with us.  Uve is a soon to be retired Senior VP with Canadian Western Bank.  For the past 25 years he has worked in leadership development and as an Executive Coach.  As a bonus, he also has a theology degree from Briercrest College and spent several years as a pastor.  Uve is a perfect fit for our team and will be a tremendous blessing to MLAs in Alberta and to Leading Influence across Canada.  We are very happy to have Uve and Rose join our team and welcome them to the Leading Influence team.

Uve's first day in the Alberta Legislature will be November 17! If you live in Alberta and would like to connect with him, you can reach him at uve@leadinginfluence.com  

The Next Step: Sea2Sea

God is moving in an exciting way in Leading Influence Ministries, and we want to keep you informed and involved!
As we begin our 8th year of ministry, God continues to use Leading Influence to touch the lives of leaders across Canada. This year, we added a new Chaplain in Saskatchewan and three new prayer networks. Today our ministry’s footprint extends from BC to Ontario, so to put it mildly, God’s helping us cover Canada, and we've just begun this adventure!

Last year, our board approved a Strategic Plan that included a provision for my role to change within the ministry.  In order for Leading Influence to reach our leaders from sea to sea, my role needs to shift from ministry delivery in BC, to ministry development across the country.  The current plan is to share my delivery role in BC with someone here in Victoria, and as my development role grows, I will focus exclusively on ministry development and growth across the country. Part of this growth includes the continuation of working with provincial elected officials, but also engaging with civic leaders across Canada.  As we reach cities, we reach regions. And as we reach regions, we impact the nation. The opportunities and possibilities to increase God’s influence through practical support and prayer for our leaders is endless and we believe it is time to pursue them.

We need your support to make this happen and to support our Sea2Sea initiative. Our goal is to raise an additional $2000 in monthly support which will enable us to expand our work across Canada.  I’ve made a personal commitment to this campaign of $100/month. We’re asking you to consider a minimum 2 year monthly partnership commitment at whatever amount you choose to give. Your support will make this next part of the vision a reality!  

Click here to make your pledge.  We need you on our team!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Top 10 Things We Should Pray For Government

Happy almost Canada Day!  We live in an incredible country that is tremendously blessed in so many ways!  We are blessed to live in Canada and to call ourselves Canadians!  

Yesterday was Government Prayer Sunday in Canada.  I had the privilege of speaking at Church of Our Lord in Victoria.  I spoke on 'Why We Should Pray For Government'.  If you click the title of the message, you can see the actual sermon, but I've also provided some notes if you'd just like to get a sense of what I talked about.

Why Should We Pray for those in Government?
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…’   1 Tim 2:1,2

What Should We Pray for those in Government?        (Ps 72)

Top 10 Things We Should Pray for Government

1)  God would give them His love for justice v. 1

2)  Commitment to Righteousness v. 1b

3)  That they would have Compassion for the Poor v.2

4)  Fear of God would be present in their: v. 5
a.   Lives
b.   Deliberations
c.   Leadership

5)  Their leadership would be a blessing (refreshing) to our cities, province and nation v. 6

6)  Godly would flourish v. 7a

7)  Our land would know abundant prosperity v. 7b

8)  Our leaders would receive favor and honor from friends and adversaries alike.  v. 9, 10

9)  They will help the oppressed.  v. 12

    10)  They will rescue the weak and needy v. 13

How Should We Pray?
     1) Fervently! - the prayer of a righteous man avails much! James 5:16

     2) Without ceasing! - 1 Thes 5:17

What Happens When We Pray For Government?
1)  God responds to our prayers!
a.   Surprising things happen when we ask God to impact our leaders
b.   Policy Changes, Direction Changes, Government Changes

2)  God Changes our ATTITUDE!

3)  God Touches Our Leaders

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Leaders and Character

Leaders do not elicit trust unless one has confidence in their values and competence [including judgment] and unless they have a sustaining spirit [entheos] that will support the tenacious pursuit of a goal. Not much happens without a dream.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thinking About .... Prostitution

It's been a while since the Government of Canada struck down the law on prostitution effectively leaving our nation without a clear legal position.  Since then a number of groups have sprung advocating a variety of positions on the issue.  Some say we should legalize.  Some want to adopt the 'Nordic Model'.  Others share variations on a theme.  Still others want to go back to punishing women who participate in the sex trade.

It seems to me that women who are involved in the sex trade aren't there because they enjoy selling their bodies to strangers.  Most are there because there is no viable option for them. They are caught in a trap of exploitation, abuse and oppression. We need to rethink our approach to the entire issue.

Consider this... in many cases the only option these women have to feed themselves and their children is to sell their bodies.  If our approach is simply to punish buyers or sellers to the point where they can no longer do business, what happens to these women?  How do they provide for themselves and for those who depend on them?  

We need to talk about the WHY behind prostitution.  In most cases the WHY has nothing to do with sex.  Sex is simply a commodity that is being sold to address another issue.  Most women who are involved in the sex trade are impoverished.  For a variety of reasons, they are trapped in the prison of poverty.  Those reasons can be anything from a lack of education, to a lack of opportunity, to physical/mental health issues, to exploitation, to addiction and the list goes on....  The real issue in prostitution is POVERTY.

If we are serious about ending prostitution in our country, we need to get serious about ending systemic poverty.  In most cases, our approach to poverty is to provide charity. I'm not against charity, but I will never forget the wise words of a friend who told me that a money problem generally can't be solved with money.  Overcoming poverty requires us to address the root issues.  Ultimately, poverty is connected to a combination of mindset, a lack of support, education and finally opportunity.

What we think about ourselves profoundly affects what we believe about who we are.  If someone believes that poverty is as good as it gets for them, then poverty will be all they ever know.  Changing the way people enslaved in poverty think about themselves and their world is the first step to lifting them out of poverty.  Because I am a Christian, I default to the words of Jesus and the scriptures when I look for solutions to issues around me.  The bible teaches me that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind.  In other words, as I reshape my thinking, I see my life and world transformed.  For me, that shift in thinking is directly connected to embracing the words and teaching of Jesus.  For others, they will embrace someone else's teaching and hope for the same results. Sometimes they see them.  Sometimes they don't.

There are people in poverty who have changed their thinking.  They just need support as they struggle to break free.  Here too, the scriptures are clear.  We need to support those who are in poverty, not just with our charity, but through supporting the efforts of those who are seeking to break free.  It's impossible, in my mind at least to claim to be a Christ follower and not be willing to support those who are seeking to break free of poverty.  Jesus is in the people-lifting business and so are we!

Education is a key in breaking the cycle of poverty.  Education includes everything from the most basic people and life skills through to skills training and post-secondary education if necessary.  Think about this for minute...  if you had no education, no marketable skills to enable you to earn a living wage, your options would be severely limited.  Your education affords you opportunities and advantages that people who haven't had that opportunity are without.  Women who are seeking a way out of systemic poverty and the sex trade need every educational resource we can provide so that they can establish a better and brighter course for themselves and their children. Some may say that the cost of education is too high but it pales in comparison to the costs that systemic poverty creates for our society.

Finally, women seeking to break free from the sex trade need an opportunity to transition to meaningful, gainful employment.  While those opportunities may come through the private sector, it's more likely that a fresh start will require some creative partnerships between government, the private sector and the not-for-profit world.  

The Church could and should have a significant role in what I am describing.  Governments will do what is politically expedient and palatable.  The Church is duty bound to fulfil it's mandate to care for the poor, the oppressed and disadvantaged.  While we need to preach the life changing power of the gospel, we have a moral obligation to break the chains of those who are oppressed and enslaved in systemic poverty.

So... before you sign a petition asking the government to 'do something' about the current situation, perhaps it's time to prayerfully consider YOUR PART in a proactive response to the worlds oldest profession.  Signing a petition is easy.  Intentionally supporting a woman who wants to break free of the sex trade is messy and difficult, but it's more likely what Jesus would do.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Definition of a King

I will tell His Majesty what a king is. A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand a watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him. (…)

That is a king, Your Majesty. A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free…I set down my life with gladness, and would do it again a hundred times, for (a bunch of the characters in the book). I and every man there were never more free than when we gave freely obedience to those harsh laws which take life and give it back again.

Pressfield - Gates of Fire