Learning about change

in Christian organisations

Rick James's Blog (71)

Morning routine

I have huge respect for my colleague Nigel. He is one of the leading thinkers and writers in Monitoring and Evaluation. I really like his pragmatism, helping NGOs come to workable, realistic solutions. I think part of his creativity comes from his morning routine. He tells me that “I really only work in the mornings. That is my most creative time. I don’t really ‘work’ in the afternoons. I use that time for doing emails or meetings”.


His approach mirrors many…


Added by Rick James on September 10, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Active recovery

We want to bring the best of ourselves to work. We want to help those we work with perform to their full potential. We know in our hearts that it is not simply about putting in more and more effort. Apparently those who work more than 60 hour weeks are the least productive of all. There is a science to how we rest and restore our energies and creativity.


Four major factors contribute to recovery according to Alex Pang in his excellent book…


Added by Rick James on June 4, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Deliberate rest

I’ve really enjoyed reading this fascinating new book called Rest, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. I was intrigued to learn ‘why you get more done when you work less’. He points out that rest is not the opposite or a competitor to work, but are equal partners. Deliberate rest…


Added by Rick James on May 28, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Three vital supporters

When we are making a difference, we are under threat. We need to be on our guard. The Bible describes Satan as a ‘prowling lion’ desperate to find our weak spots (and we all have them). In his practical blog ‘The terrifying danger of falling off my platform’, Matt Rogers suggests that we look for three people to help us out. People who…


Added by Rick James on May 7, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Self-awareness is a choice

Leaders who are self-aware make better decisions. As Dotlich and Noel pointed out, ‘Leaders with self-awareness are more likely to move quickly and confidently and in different directions, without needing to be consistently right and in control.’ (1998)


We can probably immediately think of a few leaders we know who are really not very self-aware nor emotionally intelligent. But what about you and me? Are we missing out on becoming even better leaders, consultants, managers…


Added by Rick James on April 23, 2017 at 18:00 — 1 Comment

Four emotional dangers

Following on from Stanley's wonderfully wise and vulnerable blog last week, I thought it might be good to share this recent blog from Peter Scazzero. In ‘The emotionally unhealthy leader’ he highlights four emotional dangers we may need to address: 



Added by Rick James on April 2, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Find joy in everything

The funeral last weekend was harrowing. An energetic young mother with two little girls struck down by cancer. I have no idea how her husband was able to stand at the front and speak. Trying desperately to hold himself together, he recounted how his wife had a four-word motto she lived by – ‘Find joy in everything’. When she got the terminal diagnosis more than two years ago, she resolved to still live by those words. The testimonies of her friends and family that day proved how amazingly…


Added by Rick James on February 26, 2017 at 18:00 — 2 Comments

Are you a banana or a mango?

Marilyn Gardner in her blog ‘Do you need to go bananas?’ explains the difference between bananas and mangoes and the implications for our work.

Banana trees are little; they don’t grow into mighty trees that dominate an orchard, or a forest, or even a yard. They are small, but they reproduce in amazing ways. Everywhere you have a banana tree, another banana tree will spring up, and…


Added by Rick James on February 19, 2017 at 18:00 — 3 Comments

The courage to follow

Hiwot’s ‘Follow to lead’ thought last week reminded me of this wonderful three-minute TED talk. It’s called ‘How to start a movement’ by Derek Silvers. I learned so much about change and leadership in those three minutes and all with a broad smile on my face. I learned that:

   The first followers are as important to any change as the leader.

   Any leader has to…


Added by Rick James on February 5, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Taking God's hand into 2017

2016 was an awful year for many people. Conflicts in Syria and South Sudan were so de-humanising and distressing, I no longer had enough courage to watch. Campaigning in the US election and the Brexit referendum were ‘post-truth’ – where lying was politically acceptable, even deemed astute. Weather patterns in Southern Africa were erratic, leaving many millions even more vulnerable to famine and flooding. Their climates are undoubtedly changing.


Where is God in all this?…


Added by Rick James on January 8, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments

Hot buttons and Syrian refugees

I cannot bear to even imagine what it is like to be a Syrian refugee. So many stories I find are too terrible to think about. It takes courage to open yourself up to empathy.

This week I was humbled by a Lebanese colleague who shared a powerful exercise she is doing with Syrian refugee women sheltering in these huge, dehumanising camps. If this exercise is meaningful and useful for them in such difficult circumstances, it might help us too. So today, take a few minutes to think…


Added by Rick James on October 16, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Change before you have to

We all put off difficult decisions. It’s part of human nature. Churches and Christian organisations and leaders seem particularly prone to this failing. We want to appear loving. We want to be nice. But the consequences of delay may prove disastrous.


I know too many Christian organisations who have gone into crisis because they did not act decisively early on. It’s like Lancing a boil as Jonathan Mbuna…


Added by Rick James on September 25, 2016 at 18:00 — 2 Comments

Who wants change?

We talk a lot about the need for change – in our churches, in our work, in our countries… We usually see the problem as ‘out there’, with ‘other people’. I came across this cartoon the other day which made me smile:



If we want to see change in our workplaces, in our churches,…


Added by Rick James on June 5, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Courage of your convictions

As a consultant it’s relatively easy to help others decide what they should do. But when it’s your own organisation, it’s much harder. We have been struggling with leadership issues for a number of years. Initially it was the founder needing to step down after more than 20 years. But then his successor clearly did not work out. Most senior managers had resigned. None of the staff was following him.


After much soul searching a group of us went to talk directly to the board.…


Added by Rick James on May 15, 2016 at 18:00 — 5 Comments

Trust - the one thing

Last week Jonathan advised us to focus on the ‘One thing’. It resonated so strongly with some work I was involved in last month with a large Pentecostal denomination in Africa. Before going I was praying that God would reveal the ‘one thing’ which was at the core of them getting stuck.

From the interviews and document review, it became clear that there was simmering conflict in the board. Trust had broken down. Whenever they got to making difficult decisions, division surfaced and…


Added by Rick James on March 27, 2016 at 18:00 — 5 Comments

Sad news of Chiku Malunga

I’m left pretty devastated having heard this weekend about the death of Chiku Malunga, my friend and colleague for 18 years (and active member of this learning group). A prolific writer, passionate about applying African indigenous wisdom to organisational change and indeed everyday life, he will be remembered for his many books (http://www.cadeco.mw/books.html). He also leaves a…


Added by Rick James on February 21, 2016 at 18:00 — 1 Comment

We'd love your thoughts

Weekly thoughts are really popular with members according to our recent evaluation…


Added by Rick James on January 31, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Leading in the darkness

Our world is in a dark place. The terrorist murders in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad last week – and in many other areas away from the media spotlight … The refugee crisis claiming thousands of lives and engulfing continents… The slashes announced in the Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish aid budgets that represent, not just a massive cut in development activities in the poorest countries, but also a fundamental shift in ‘selfless’ Scandinavian identity. It looks like things are falling apart.…


Added by Rick James on November 22, 2015 at 18:00 — No Comments

The gift of feedback

Evaluations are threatening however much we want them. This Space for Grace learning group has just had its own external evaluation. There is lots of good and thought-provoking stuff there. Do have a look at the draft report and let us know what you think. Give us feedback on the…


Added by Rick James on November 1, 2015 at 18:00 — No Comments

Character and chemistry in recruitment too

So much depends on the people we hire. I find it amazing that we usually judge on the basis of such limited information. I really liked Harin’s thought last week that encouraged us to look beyond

  • Competence to also include

  • Calling

I’ve also found it valuable to include:

  • Chemistry – how will they fit into the existing team? So much depends on personal relationships that good ‘chemistry’ is essential. It…


Added by Rick James on September 20, 2015 at 18:00 — 1 Comment



Inadvertant feminist?

Started by Lorentz Forsberg in Open Forum. Last reply by Stanley Arumugam Mar 13, 2017. 5 Replies

Violence Against Women (VAW) in Africa

Started by Sean Callaghan in Open Forum. Last reply by RODONNE SIRIBI Clotaire Apr 25, 2016. 6 Replies

What does "ownership" really mean?

Started by Rick James in Open Forum. Last reply by RODONNE SIRIBI Clotaire Apr 25, 2016. 7 Replies

Boy Child

Started by TAABCO RESEARCH & D CONSULTANTS in Open Forum. Last reply by RODONNE SIRIBI Clotaire Apr 25, 2016. 2 Replies

Comments on "Counselling and prayer post-conflict"

Started by Space for Grace in Topic of the month. Last reply by RODONNE SIRIBI Clotaire Apr 25, 2016. 1 Reply

Christian Association to unify mainline Denominations

Started by B.K. Penda in Open Forum. Last reply by Alice Wainaina Apr 1, 2016. 1 Reply

Youth Generation Community FLOWER in Tangerang

Started by Blanche Pearl in Open Forum. Last reply by Blanche Pearl Aug 25, 2015. 4 Replies

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