Thursday, January 21, 2016

Be careful with signage

I saw several signs similar to this one posted around the perimeter of a church parking lot. The signs also stated  "church parking only, violators will be towed".  The signage was sizeable and numerous.

(NOTE: This is not a CCSC church.)

While churches and ministries need to protect their properties, these signs made me uncomfortable. I'd prefer wording that was more diplomatic and didn't have an unwritten "go away" message communicated. 

I'm more drawn to hospitality because Jesus offered it so generously. For this reason, we are intentional in creating it at CCSC, especially in our communication style, even when we need to say "no".

The most important way to measure our success is to ask for feedback, both formally and informally. Below are comments we received in 2015 from those we served: 
  • Thank you, I was treated with courtesy and respect.
  • You showed sincere concern for me.
  • This program has changed my life and my children's lives.
  • This was the first time I needed assistance, and you were so helpful.
  • I thank God every day for the peace and love in this place. (from a volunteer)
  • Y'all showed me there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I started a job last week!
The unwritten sign we strive for at CCSC is "you are welcome here". I hope you feel it too.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

No resolutions for me

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions, mainly because they tend to evaporate by February. Instead, I like to set goals (both big and small) on an ongoing basis. Don't laugh, but one of my recent goals is to read War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. I'm on page 265 (out of about 1,100 pages) and am loving the book.

Our students in the Martha's Way program also set goals, and when I was at a recent graduation, one of the graduates shared her story. She is the single mother to a 3-year old boy and works in a factory to pay the bills. The hours are not ideal, and they limit the time she has with her son. She said the job also takes "energy from her", which negatively impacts all aspects of her life.

Then she heard about our vocational training program and enrolled. This has meant in the short-term that she is away from her son more. But in the long-term, she believes the program will enhance not only her financial security but her ability to be a present and engaged mother.

As she shared her story, she also named some goals:
  • To start her own business and increase her overall income
  • To make sure her schedule will be flexible so she has more time with her child
  • To share her success with her family
I share her goals to inspire you. There's a mom out there trying hard to be the best she can be for her son, and CCSC is fortunate to be able to help her. For those of you who invest in our ministry, this is someone you are investing in.

So back to your New Year's resolutions: I say forget about them. Instead, think about some of the small and significant things you'd like to do in the next few months and work to achieve those.