For many, summer is time to kick back and read. If you’re one of those people who like to mix a little professional growth with your summer downtime, I’d like to suggest two books. First, Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships, by Kim Christfort and Susanne Vickberg. Kim is national managing director of The Deloitte Green HouseTM and the architect of Business Chemistry®. Suzanne Vickberg is a social-personality psychologist and, the lead researcher for the work. Vickberg and Christfort creatively drew from the disciplines of neuro-anthropology and genetics to develop an analytics-driven tool for understanding and leveraging differences between people. It is a significant system couched in an easy-to-remember framework that creates meaningful conversations about individual differences across diverse contexts. Their system describes four different relational working styles; the Pioneer, the Driver, the Integrator and the Guardian. Business Chemistry® is not so much about self-awareness as it is about crafting a relational working style that engages others on their terms so that the power of diverse perspectives can be harnessed for positive and efficient change.
Here is why it matters… Whether lay or clergy, this is a time of change and uncertainty. Old patterns, values, theological assumptions, and traditions are passing away as new forms of community, expressions of worship, and reconstructed theology are emerging. For the first time in the history of the church, the majority of people who identify as Christian do not meaningfully attend a local congregation. The organizational stake-holding that has been so much a part of preserving the past cannot carry the church into the future. Now, more than any time in history, clergy to clergy, lay to lay, and lay to clergy relationships are crucial. The future is about people, not institutions. The fruitful and faithful ministry will learn to leverage diverse individual perspectives collaboratively to craft solutions for the future. Business Chemistry® provides an efficient and accurate way for us to honor and appreciate one another in a compelling way. (If you’re interested but don’t have the bandwidth to read the book, stay subscribed for a four-part series on Business Chemistry® and the local church coming out in mid-July.)
Second, Kitchen Table Giving: Reimagining How Congregations Connect with Their Donors, by William Enright. Bill is Founding Karen Lake Buttrey Director Emeritus of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. This book makes a compelling case that much has changed in the world of the donor. Donors, including those who worship at your church, have more choices than ever to create positive change with their financial resources. Just because you pass a plate doesn’t give you the right to ask for money. Kitchen Table Giving wrestles us away from the traditional and organizational ways of thinking about giving and places us inside the heart and home of today’s donors. More importantly, Bill suggests that our role goes beyond crafting stewardship programs. We lead by creating constructive conversations at church, and in the home, which nurture a foundation for generosity.
Kitchen Table Giving is an important book because it shifts the conversation to a deeper appreciation of the donor’s desire to be a part of what God is doing in the world through their giving. For clergy and laity who want to create a culture that engages donors, understands their aspirations, and accommodates how they want to give, Kitchen Table Giving is a critical first step.
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By Dr. David L. Davis, IGC Executive Director