by Sue Baumgarten
Thinking strategically is not one of my top strengths. By nature, I’m a connector and a communicator, an activator and a mentor. But with almost 3 decades of board service, (respectful of term limits and built-in breaks) and also serving as an Executive Director for a few years, I am no stranger to Strategic Planning. And, I currently serve on the National Maternity Housing Coalition (NMHC) leadership council and we’re in the middle of Strategic Planning as I write this.
Strategic planning is a mandatory exercise for ministries and is probably the most important organizational document to have outside of your mission/vision statements. Strategic planning helps your board and staff have a road map that looks out into the future – hopefully 3, 5 even 10 years and says, “This is where we’re hoping to go.” Your strategic plan then breaks that hope into manageable pieces and allows your organization to make forward motion toward your destination. Strategic plans are living documents that can be adjusted annually so don’t be afraid to have BHAG’s (Big Hope-filled Amazing Goals, using my verbiage)!
In light of Covid-19 in 2020, I’m sure ministries in the middle of year 3 of a 5-year plan will need to revisit their Strategic Plan and make some adjustments. Your Strategic Plan is not just an internal document. It can be shared out in your community as you and your board members meet with potential church partners, foundations and individuals.
Preparation for your strategic planning session(s) is critical. Here’s some basic steps to give the process structure and to seek the Lord throughout the process.
What a good and Godly work we have been called to! What a joy to seek the wisdom of God through strategic planning so that our work can continue to give a witness to life, redemption, and the very goodness of God! As you think about the future of your ministry, may you experience it with awe and reverence in a posture of worship. Heartbeat offers Strategic Planning resources and as an on-site consultation session. Click here for more about Strategic Planning.
Knowing Your Strengths
SMART Goal Setting
Vision Traction Organizer
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Traction – Get a Grip on your Business by Gino Wickman
Mission Drift by Peter Greer
Sue Baumgarten has served on the Board of Directors (as well as a variety of other roles) for LifeHouse of Houston since 1993. For more information about LifeHouse of Houston, click here: https://lifehousehouston.org/
by Andrea TruddenDirector of Communications & Marketing, Heartbeat International
There is no I in team, but there is me.
This is a silly take on a saying that we have all heard since little league. However, it is an important part of team leadership training. Hear me out.
When you invest in yourself to become a better leader, you need to take that “me” approach because you’re diving into the core of who you are and how you lead. You discover new ways to become a better leader.
And when you become a better leader, everybody around you benefits.
If you have attended the Leadership Track of our Pregnancy Help Institute, you know the importance of investing in yourself to directly impact the lives of those you interact with daily. Understanding how to truly hear people and how to effectively communicate helps alleviate many potential misunderstandings. It also allows you to intentionally connect with people and pour into their lives.
From our home to the office, our spouses, children, and colleagues all receive the nurturing care that true leadership training provides.
As a team here at Heartbeat, we recently completed the Whole Intentional Leader Development (WiLD) program, an online set of tools that “builds self-awareness, connects the dots between who you are, why you are, and what you do, and scaffolds the transformational conversations necessary to prepare you for the road ahead as a leader and as someone called to make a difference in the lives of others. that is available to both individuals and teams.”
While on my own, this would have impacted my specific leadership style – going through the program together allowed us to share this experience and grow as a team.
We are blessed to have a strong leadership team here at Heartbeat. We are a mixture of introverts and extroverts, men and women, millennials and baby boomers. Utilizing our (in some cases, very different) strengths for Heartbeat, allows us to lead it effectively. A good team utilizes the strength of each individual within it.
I will admit, I enjoy learning. If you look at my bookshelf, there are several books on leadership and parenting. Coincidentally there are a lot of the same lessons within each. However, to be honest, I was hesitant to walk through a leadership program as a team as it would require a certain degree of vulnerability.
Throughout our time together, there were a few weeks when we were asked tough questions. Well, I thought they were tough questions.
Many of my colleagues answered these very easily and seemed to know the exact answers. Questions that I struggled deeply with, they were laughing about and offering answers at will!
These moments were a bit intimidating. They were also moments of growth.
Because of the trust I have with my team, I admitted when I struggled. This opened the door to some amazing conversations that both helped me grow personally, but also enlightened others to the fact that a few of us, in fact, were on a different experience level, and perhaps we needed to focus a bit on certain leadership areas.
Walking through the WiLD program together was a good reminder that depending on our age, experience, and/or personality styles, we are all unique individuals utilizing our individual strengths to achieve a common purpose.
We do not lead at Heartbeat with an iron fist. We work together as an effective team with an open-door policy. Walking through a leadership training together reinforced the importance of transparency.
By trusting one another and walking through this activity alongside one another, we were able to lift each other up, strategize to overcome obstacles, and plan effectively for the future.
This is not a first for Heartbeat, nor is it a last. We believe in investing in ourselves to grow as individuals because we know that when we as leaders of the pregnancy help movement take time to nurture those around us, we inspire! And when we inspire others, we change the world!
Heartbeat has an exclusive offer for U.S. affiliates in good standing. Heartbeat International is partnering with WiLD Leaders to provide this professional training for pregnancy help leaders to advance their leadership skills. Working with WiLD Leaders, Heartbeat-affiliated Executive Directors, Presidents and CEOs can delve deep to grow as individuals and lead intentionally. Learn more.
by Chet Scott, Built to Lead
Courage, it’s been said by many, is really the first of the virtues because without it none of the others may be evoked. Today, I ripped my client a new one because he was caught in the downward spiral of blaming the King for his plight. You see, he sees his partner as his King. Most of us humans see someone in our work/life as THE man and cower in fear. My client needed a lesson in courage, so I gave him one and it was not nice. I used some colorful language to get his attention and asked him if wanted to be led around for the next thirty years like a miniature mouse, or did he want to learn how to stand like a man. We ended our practice with him deciding it was time to man up and simply stand.
Most of us need to learn how to stand.
Standing does not mean you get even, angry, or even whole as a result. Standing means you simply live your core and release the catastrophic fear around the outcome. You and I will someday die. Make it a good one when it’s time. Do not go out begging for more time, another chance, or whimpering/complaining about your King. Go out like Tecumseh, singing your song.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion, respect others in their view, and demand they respect yours. Love your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise one to fools and robs the spirit of vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s knowing and loving someone/something just a little bit more. More love is the enabler of courage. More love.
Live hard. Love harder. Good…
This blog post originally appeared at the Built to Lead blog. We are grateful to have this executive coaching program that has trained CEOs, presidents, and ministry leaders nationwide guide our Leadership Track at Pregnancy Help Institute each year. Join Chet, his team, and us for this year's unique virtual experience of Pregnancy Help Institute!
by Tony Gruber, ControllerHeartbeat International
The coronavirus is perceived by many as the largest challenge our world has faced in many decades. In answer to that challenge, the United States has enacted the largest aid package in the history of the country – with a $2.2 trillion estimated price tag. Help and aid is being offered to individuals, businesses and non-profits.
We’re going to unpack many of these benefits in a webinar next Tuesday. However, we’d like to quickly highlight one opportunity because it won’t last long!
by Jor-El Godsey, LAS, PresidentHeartbeat International
“Stay on target!” is a familiar line from the first Star Wars movie. The small band of intrepid rebels were being exhorted to keep focused on defeating the planet-killing Death Star. All while being attacked by Darth Vader and his Imperial cohorts.
During “normal” times the mission of pregnancy help is facing a Goliath-like giant in Big Abortion and its flagship, Planned Parenthood. Of course, these days impacted by COVID-19 (or at least the anxiety surrounding it) are far from normal. There is a very present need to reach and rescue as many lives as possible.
That's the question Dr. Rob McKenna has for you and all leaders leading up to the 2020 Heartbeat International Annual Conference this April.
The findings at WiLD Leaders? It's a matter of purpose.
Check out Dr. Rob McKenna's message to you below as he prepares to share more with you through his PEG Talk and Deeper Dive at this year's Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Seattle.
Dr. Rob McKenna from WiLD Leaders
Heartbeat International's Pregnancy Help Center Life Launch Grant is designed to inspire a new season of pregnancy help center start-ups by supporting individuals opening brand new centers in areas primed for more life-saving outreach. The grant is created to help start-ups open their doors and advance pregnancy help to new communities throughout the United States. Following a matching grant format, grant recipients would receive $30,000 in resources and funds upon raising $30,000 in funds.
by Mary Peterson, Heartbeat Housing Specialist
When studying organizational development, you learn that the shift between stages is a very challenging season. Moving from founding and early decision making into a stage of sustaining and stability demands different skills and leadership strategies. Below are a few thoughts on things you can do to help ease that transition.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International President
There are very few instances where the label for clothing “one size fits all” is really true. This is because, for people both “size” and “fit” can vary widely amongst the “all!”
The same is true for organizations populated by people serving communities that both have diversity within, but are also different from other communities. An organization is best when it is more like an organism – able to adapt in such a way so as to leverage its greatest strengths in the best way to meet the mission amidst the unique needs of those it serves.
Pregnancy help can take many forms, or methods – from one time visits to extended care to full-on housing – all for our life-affirming mission. Similarly, at the heart of Heartbeat International is our mission to advance pregnancy help. Sometimes, that’s been a hand-in-hand effort actively consulting a steering committee through key milestones toward a fully functioning service location. Many other times, that journey has been guided only through various written materials serving as building blocks toward that same end.
The idea of Built by Design, a manual released in 2017, was to put those two concepts together into a multi-layered resource able to go far beyond the physical limitations of Heartbeat team members.
At Heartbeat International, our approach to pregnancy help is intentionally grassroots. Heartbeat was called into existence by local pregnancy centers and medical clinics when it formed in 1971. Today, maternity homes, medical clinics, adoption agencies and pregnancy resource centers are responding to a local need. What works in New York, New York, won't be the same as what works in Inskip, California – and it's more than just a difference of urban or rural. It's the local culture, the political climate, the fundraising sources.
Those kinds of differences affect everything in a local organization from a name for your center that will communicate a safe place for clients (as well as a worthwhile investment for donors) to the way you recruit volunteers. An organization can sometimes find a way to partner with schools teaching sexual integrity, and build a positive reputation with students who may need them in the future. Or an organization might be called to locate next door to an abortion clinic where a woman will see the pregnancy center in her scariest moments and walk a few more steps for a safer place.
Whatever a pregnancy help organization might be called to do locally, Heartbeat is ready to help. That's why our resources, conferences, and trainings draw from an experienced – and varied – team. And when a Heartbeat team member can't be there every step of the way for a new organization, the resources we've developed can.
In that way, Built by Design, a start-from-scratch guide to starting a pregnancy help organization, seeks to fulfill the key elements of Habakkuk 2:2 (NASB), “Then the LORD answered me and said, 'Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.'” The vision for Heartbeat is to see more pregnancy help organizations and locations reach more of those in need. We “inscribed” that vision in the form of the various elements and how-to’s in order that those who read it, may run with their own vision of pregnancy help in their community!
This guide doesn’t so much condense the wisdom of all the other Heartbeat resources, as much as it connects them together to serve those with vision for life-affirming work in a God-honoring way. That's why, in addition to making it available alone, Built by Design is the key part to our Pregnancy Help Starter Kit, which includes written resources on everything from volunteer training to fundraising, strong leadership to legal considerations.
The Psalmist (95:1, NASB) describes himself as a “pen in the hand of a ready writer.” Our prayer for this field guide is that it would be found by “ready writers” being used by God to create new opportunities to bring life-affirming ministry to life.
Because one size does not fit all. YOUR community needs YOU, and Heartbeat is here to help.
At the end of Pregnancy Help Institute, we invite our attendees to write a letter to the Board of a pregnancy center who might be trying to decide whether to send staff for training or not. Every year, we are inspired by their reactions to working with other like-minded individuals as they sharpen their skills to continue serving on the front lines of pregnancy help. Here's what a few of our 2017 Pregnancy Help Institute graduates had to say.
Dear Board Member,
If you are looking for one single thing that you can do to grow the ministry that you are a part of, please consider sending your director to Pregnancy Help Institute. I know when the budget is tight it is hard to spend money and allow your director to be out of the office. But it is worth every penny. Equipping your director to do his/her job better is a huge part of Pregnancy Help Institute, but the encouragement they will find there, you cannot put a price tag on.
Sincerely,2017 Pregnancy Help Institute GraduateNew Director Track
If you are considering sending your medical staff for ultrasound training at Pregnancy Help Institute, please do it! It will equip your staff to not only learn/be able to perform basic ultrasound exams, but to give that mother a chance to view LIFE! Not only will they learn the skill of ultrasound, but they will also be encouraged spiritually to effectively help a mother see her unborn. Your staff will leave blessed when they go in, and blessed when they leave (Deuteronomy 28:6).
Sincerely,2017 Pregnancy Help Institute GraduateUltrasound Training Track
What I have discovered is how important it is to take some time away to refresh and rediscover our purpose and energize our soul for the work we do. Being a part of the Pregnancy Help Institute training in development has helped me not only affirm much of what I have been focused on, but also to discover new ways to take our ministry to the next level. Development involves everyone on the team, and I have taken away so many ideas that I can present to our team to help us be the best we can be.
This week, I have been challenged, affirmed, and inspired to take what we do for God to the next level. I can take my skill set and use it for so much good. I have met amazing people who I will keep in touch with and bounce new ideas off of. It is so important to value the resources we have through Heartbeat International and to allow your team to participate so that they are more equipped to serve women and their families and affect generations to come and most importantly, be able to put on the armor of God to do the work we have been called to do. It’s an investment for God.
Sincerely,2017 Pregnancy Help Institute GraduateDevelopment Track
The investment for the heartbeat International training is not only faith-filled, but full of amazing information that can and will be incorporated into our plans for the home. I firmly believe this is something new members, as we add them to our team, need to attend. Not only has it been an amazing and information-filled week, but it has renewed my fire and excitement for our ministry.
Thank you,2017 Pregnancy Help Institute GraduateLeadership Track
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