in Christian organisations
December is a busy month. We are submitting urgent reports, plans and budgets for next year. We are trying to tie up uncooperative loose ends. December can be stressful as we pack so many urgent activities in a short time. As you read this, I’m in a village in Cambodia located in the remote northeast conducting an evaluation. Both the evaluation report and my research paper are due by the end of this year. So you can imagine how I’m feeling.
However, in all the frenetic activity to…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on December 17, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Jesus is not only promising rest as in Matthew 11: 28 - 29 that says, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Jesus told the apostles to get some rest.
Mark 6:30-32 says,’The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on September 24, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Most of us will say, our leadership position is a call from God. We are called to this role. We have to do the best we can to respond to it. We are busy because we are responding to the call. But could it be that God is calling you away?
John 4: 4-6 says,‘Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on September 17, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
In the last Weekly Thought, Find rest in God, we were encouraged during the time of break to allow ourselves to take quality time to find rest in God, to restore our soul and to find ways to bring God back in the centre of our lives. This is usually possible during a long break from work or during a lovely, relaxing holiday. But what about the time when we have to face work responsibilities again? How…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on September 3, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Most of us are familiar with the verse in Psalm 62:5 which says,‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.’ Maybe quite strangely, this verse reminds me that God should be in the centre of my life. God is the giver. God gives comfort and strength. God allows me to take time off, to recover, to have a breathing space. I can rest my soul in God.
Yet most of the time, we allow ourselves to be caught up in restlessness and busyness. How often do we take heed of Psalm 62:5?…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on June 11, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
A few months ago, I conducted a capacity development training with a local organisation. During that time, the director of this organisation wanted to let go of one of the staff. The director told me that this staff was lazy and was not finding ways to improve the way he works.
But after the training something happened. The director let me know that the same staff had become a different person. The communication line has opened between them. They can now talk freely. The staff is now…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on May 21, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
“Leadership is so hard” I said to myself. I was reading the whiteboard in the meeting room. The last group had obviously been discussing leadership traits. The list went on and on. As I studied the long list of seemingly impossible demands, I wondered which of these traits are necessary and which ones are extras. I realised that perhaps one of the most important traits of a leader was not even on the list…
It is the ability to come to grips with his or her own flaws. It is only…
In the last weekly thought, Rick James encouraged us to become more self-aware. When we open up to God’s presence, God helps us know ourselves, both our good side and our dark side. Knowing our shadow side is a stepping stone to changing ourselves. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, ‘For a person who is not aware that he is doing anything wrong has no desire to be put right. You have to catch yourself doing it before you can reform.’
Being self-aware is difficult and requires…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on April 30, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
The last few months were tough. I was trying to juggle my training and consultancy work in Cambodia; the relentless assignments and exams of a demanding Masters’ program; translating a harrowing documentary about Philippines for national TV in Finland; and of course being a wife and mother. On top of everything (or maybe because of everything) I was having terrible and persistent headaches. I knew I needed to do something. But I struggled to admit that I had to let go of things, commit them…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on April 9, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Malcolm Webber in his blog, The 2 Things That Every Leader Must Do, says there are only two responsibilities that a leader cannot delegate to others:
Developing the vision
A leader sets the vision. I was working with a new Director of a Christian…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on March 12, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the amount of information that I’m provided each day. Everyday there is an enormous opportunity to acquire facts or learn about something or someone. There are many forums and discussions which I can participate in. There are many networks which I can be a part of. We live in a connected world where social media and digital technology is becoming increasingly essential. It has taken space not just at the workplace but also in our personal lives. How do we…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on February 12, 2017 at 17:35 — No Comments
Kindness should never be a problem in a Christian workplace, right? In my last Weekly Thought, Simple Kindness, I encouraged you to spread more kindness as the year was coming to an end without expecting anything in return. How did that go?
To continue spreading kindness at your workplace, here are more ideas.
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on January 15, 2017 at 18:00 — No Comments
Kindness is not as simple as it looks. In the Philippines, we have a value called Utan na loob. It’s that sense of obligation to return back an act of kindness with one of your own. You have to maintain the balance. This bothers me because I think the greatest kindness is when we know that it is impossible for it to be reciprocated. I worry sometimes that our kind actions, particularly at this time of year, are more about easing our consciences than addressing the root causes of an issue. If…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on December 4, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments
I’ve always wondered what is an effective leader? I think of different Christian leaders I’ve worked with. Though they all profess the same faith, not one of them practiced leadership in the same way. One saw qualifications as very important - he was seldom satisfied with staff performance. Others seemed obsessed by their position. It was difficult for the staff to share concerns with them because of the perceived gap in their positions. There was another leader who was so competent that she…Continue
“Will you equip yourself for yourself or for others?” This question challenged Rita so much that she took two years off work, went abroad, studied hard and returned to her hometown to equip others. That was 27 years ago.
Today, the local organisation that she helped developed in 1995 has grown, multiplied and served many other local organisations. Competent and passionate, Rita believes that equipping others is God’s call in her life. She also recognises those who helped nurtured…
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on November 13, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments
Most of the time, it is very easy to think about what we should gain instead of what we should give. This was a realisation of the head office team of one local organisation. During a team building activity, they reflected on the question, How do they want to be treated by others? They discussed together and reflected. As a team, they expressed that they want to be treated justly. They would not like people lying about them or falsely or harshly condemning them. They also wish to be…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on November 6, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments
I’m not a particularly prayerful person. I don’t have that regular moments of kneeling down to pray. I don’t have that particular moment when I stop and pray for a specific amount of time. But I believe in the importance and power of prayer. I remember a song which my mum used to sing. It talks about whispering a prayer. This song describes me. I’m a person who whispers a prayer every now and then - in the midst of doing my task, when waking up in the middle of the night, when I’m alone,…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on October 23, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments
A Christian Disciple's Prayer for Renewal
O my Lord and Saviour, help me.
I am slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;
I am in the foothills when I should be on the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.
I am blind…Continue
I feel a sense of heaviness, even tension, whenever I prepare to chair the bi-annual governance committee meetings. There are reports, reports and yet more reports to read. Endless words full of bullets and jargon. I’m also thinking of the impending 10-hour flight, snatching bouts of uncomfortable and unsatisfactory sleep between reheated airplane meals. I know I’d rather stay at home!
But on the way to the airport, I felt God spoke to me strongly, reassuring me that this is what I…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on April 24, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments
Monday is often a time for the office staff of Christian organisations to come together to sing, pray and to reflect on God’s word. It is a good way to start the working week by acknowledging that God is present with them and that God will help them as they work through the week. But what if you work from home? What if you work in a place where there are no regular office devotions? What if you don’t feel that God is by your desk on Monday morning? We all heard how people dislike Mondays. A…Continue
Added by Elaine Vitikainen on March 13, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments