In July, I celebrated my third year of working at Samaritan’s Purse, specifically, on the Operation Christmas Child team. Everyone always wants to know how I like it. Let me tell you a little bit about Operation Christmas Child, are you ready? Honestly, it’s awesome! I’ve learned a lot over the last three years. Many would like to know where to get empty shoeboxes or how to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse, but you can go on our website for that. I have learned a ton about Operation Christmas Child and what makes it the world leader in children’s evangelism. It would be impossible for me to share all of those lessons, but I would like to give you three of them……
1. Your team is the most important piece of the puzzle
I’m sure you’ve read about the 3 C’s, Character, Competence, and Chemistry. That’s all on point. Keep these in mind when building a team. Building a high capacity team is more important than your funding, your mission, your opportunity, it trumps everything else. It makes or breaks you. Do you need more funding, more opportunity, do you have an unfocused mission? A high capacity team can address these issues. Seriously, if you don’t do anything else in your time at your organization, build an effective team. Franklin Graham has exemplified this at Samaritan’s Purse. He’s built an outstanding executive team and in turn, the executive team has hired great leaders who have staffed the entire ministry with hard working, highly capable, Jesus loving people. You can “lead up” on a lot of things, but not when it comes to building a great team. Effective team building has to trickle down.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize
When working at Samaritan’s Purse, it’s understood that sacrifices will be made. Some of these sacrifices are things like taking a pay cut compared to your for-profit counterparts, travelling, long hours, working in disasters (literally), or being away from home during important events. It’s impossible to push forward if you lose focus. We need to be constantly reminded as to why we do what we do. We desire to show God’s love in a practical way as a bridge to the Gospel. Sometimes this means we give a little boy in Panama a shoebox filled with gifts, serve during a disaster, build a church, or provide clean water to a community. No matter what, if you take your eyes off of the goal, you’ll get frustrated. Keep your eyes on the prize.
3. Credibility is everything
Credibility and the word you give to someone who partners with you is everything. It’s more important than a report, it’s more important than a news article about you, it’s more important than whether you turn a profit or not. Why? because an individual’s experience with you will, in time, outweigh all of those things. If you tell a donor that 90% of money given goes to program expenses, then it better. If you tell someone who gives to a fundraising campaign that the money will be used for a feeding program, then use all of it for a feeding program. If you tell a volunteer that you’ll provide them with adequate training, then make it happen. Credibility is your word, and your word means everything. Credibility is hard to earn and easy to lose. Don’t get me wrong, people can be understanding. If you mess up, fess up. But if you deliberately deceive someone, even if it was just a cover up after the fact, you’ll lose credibility and possibly never recover.
I would like to leave you with the following posts. These are my most read Samaritan’s Purse related posts. Enjoy!