Culture of Blessing

In our last article, Dustin Nance re-hashed the dynamics of conflict in the Teen Challenge context from our ELP Summit, challenging us in what can be our natural or first response to strong behavioral issues with our students. Many times, he explained, our students with strong behavioral outbursts have much more going on beneath the surface, and these outbursts need to be met in those moments with compassion and gentleness, not aggression and immediate correction.

To continue to expound on this ever-relevant issue in our field, we continue this month with more of what John Maxwell teaches on this topic. He calls it “Pass the Blessing, Please!” Oftentimes, he urges, people deal with difficulties beneath the surface because they are hungry for “the blessing.”

In Old Testament times, patriarchs of our faith would express “the blessing” in many different forms. Maxwell states that these occur by:

  1. Meaningful touch: Patriarchs laid their hands on their shoulder or embraced them.
  2. Affirming Words: Patriarchs spoke words of encouragement to them.
  3. The Expression of High Value: Patriarchs shared the value they added to others.
  4. The Description of a Special Future: Patriarchs used word pictures to share their potential.
  5. Genuine Commitment: Patriarchs committed themselves to see it come to pass.  

As we can see, there are many ways to express “the blessing” to our students, or to anyone to whom the Lord has granted us of having influence upon.

I recall, as an ELC student, sometimes during our group devotions, one of our staff started the devotion by encouraging outwardly the person sitting next to him, verbally and publicly sharing of that person’s worth and specific value they added to our campus. After he was finished, he asked that person to continue to do the same around the room. It was incredible to say the least to watch what unfolded, and many times as one person would look to the next person they were going to encourage, oftentimes tears would come before words. What was happening? People were connecting with the value of those they were serving alongside. What would happen if we did this everyday, naturally? I would think. What would our campuses look like if this was the norm, and not the exception?

Of course, this helped cultivate an organic culture of encouragement and helped our campus greatly, and spawned individuals to gain clarity of their beneath the surface issues, helping the roots of behavioral challenges and unresolved conflict, which improved issues on the surface.  

Of course, there are many ways, as Maxwell states, to “Pass the blessing” I would encourage you to learn even more the students and leaders you work with on your campus, quick to accept the responsibility to bless them often in the ways they are hungry for. As they say, we are in “The people business” and our highest honor is that we get to work with people, every one of them with dignity, value and worth.  Our tasks and to-do lists are not more important than the people we serve and lead. They themselves are the primary objective, not our tasks, no matter how big they may seem. Every person receives affirmation and blessing in different ways, but where genuine desire to bless them is present, God is near to help us and lead us by His Spirit as we do so.

Written by: Dan Williams dan-and-holly

Rep’s Link – Nov 2015


We welcome our new Rep’s this month Bryan Sampson (Central Florida) and returning Rep Jen Baisden (Lakeland). Thank you for answering the call to raise up sons and daughters!

Level I Adult

Our new course is Servant Leadership and our text: Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges. In this course Blanchard talks about leading with your heart, head, hands and habits. Be sure to print out the Rep’s Weekly meeting template which will help with your weekly meetings. The videos for the weekly meetings can be accessed here.

Level I Adolescent

Our course for the Adolescent track is Building Others and our text: Habitudes II – the Art of Connecting with Others by Dr. Tim Elmore. Your students will learn how they influence those around them. Sociologists tell us the most introverted of people will influence 10,000 others in an average lifetime. If introverts influence 10,000 then extroverts influence 20,000. So how do you influence others? Your students will learn how they make a difference in the world they live in and how to add value to others.

Monthly Book Orders and Grades

Southeast region Rep’s can go to Google Drive and search for ELP Monthly Order Form and Grade Sheet Edited. Look for your center’s name in the tabs at the bottom and fill in your information. No need to save or email the spreadsheet (Google Drive saves it and we can access the info from my Drive). If you place an initial order on the form and update the order later (i.e. add 2 more books) after we have ordered your books, please send to me at All new applications must be in by the 10th of the month for students starting the 15th.

Organizational Health is more felt than telt

Sometimes we get so caught up in the mundane activities we forget to step away from our desk and meet people where they are at. Recently I was at a conference where Simon Sinek talked about “eye ball” leadership – getting up from your desk and going where busy-office-workerspeople are at and look them in the eyes. Really what he was saying is – build relationship with your team. You can’t expect people to work hard for you if they don’t know you. Notice I said work hard – they’ll work for you but they won’t work “hard.” Years ago while working in the airline industry, we did a training on customer service. We only had about 30 seconds to a minute to check in a passenger but during that time we had to get to know them and make the process as personal as possible so they would fly with us again. If we go through such lengths to build relationship with the people who spend their monies with us, how much more we should put into knowing the people who are working with us for decades and some, a lifetime. People want to feel they are accepted, they are loved and they are making a difference. The single most important factor to the success of your team and the overall organization is having authentic relationship with the people you work with.

Simon says “If we set the environment right, trust and cooperation is an automatic response.” ” Leadership is a choice to be responsible for ourselves and the people around us; reinforce the relationship between you and your team members” (Sinek). Leadership requires our two greatest commodity – time and energy. It will take energy to get away from the task at hand to roam the halls to find out how people are doing and to bless them – to offer a word of encouragement or simply to say “thank you.” The best decision you can make every day as a leader is to add value to people. Let them know that you care, you believe in them and you believe they can succeed. Organizational health is more felt than telt.

Article submitted by: Andree Aiken (Training team)

Enrich Culture – Shifting the Values

I hope you took some time last month to reflect on “how things are going in your boat”… In that article we said that after prayer, the most important thing a leader can do is build a healthy culture for the teams they lead. Leaders must delegate a lot of things, but culture is not one of them. The leader is solely responsible for how healthy a team or ministry is. As a leader, being a “culture bearer” requires a shift in values, skills and allocation of time. For instance, as a staff member I should value being an effective contributor to the team and the mission. I do my part to enrich culture by embracing and embodying the Core Values and the TC DNA. I would be honing a particular skill such as teaching, counseling or computer skills. My time would be primarily allocated to working with students or in administration, completing my assigned tasks and responsibilities. As a leader, whether I’m leading a rally team, a work crew or a center, my values and skillset have to shift, as well as how I manage my time. It’s important what we value – we spend our time doing the things we value, and skills that are used without being instructed by values, aren’t done with much passion and creativity. So if I’m directing a center, and value making individual contributions such as counseling, I will probably pursue a degree in counseling and spend a lot of time counseling students. Instead, as a team leader, there has to be a shift – rather than valuing what I can contribute individually, I now value the success and contributions of others, I value the results of the whole team, I value the work and disciplines I need to do as a manager. This managerial skillset includes things like setting the culture, selecting the right people who are a fit for the culture, designing job descriptions, empowerment and delegation, performance evaluation and development, communication, building a cohesive team, and rewards and motivation. The book “The Leadership Pipeline” talks about this shift: “First-time managers need to learn how to reallocate their time so that they not only complete their assigned work but also help others perform effectively. They cannot allocate all of their time to putting out fires, seizing opportunities, and handling tasks themselves.” Putting out fires…yikes! Sounds like Teen Challenge! One of the challenges of leadership is slowing down the high speed train that we call Teen Challenge and valuing and spending time on the right things. Effective leaders and healthy organizations value an enriched culture and take the time to cultivate it. In the next 3 articles we’ll highlight 3 very practical areas in which a leader enriches culture: bringing the right people on the team, developing people, and building a cohesive team. In the meantime, assess how you allocate your time – how does it reflect what you value?

Article written by – Karissa Corpeny – Director of Corporate Training (TC Southeast)