Titus Connection June 2021

Volume 15, Number   6 – June ,  2021

Greetings.  This month features part 2 of a Shepherd’s Way.  A number of recipients of this email last month spoke how the first article of a Shepherd’s Way impacted them.  Enjoy and pursue being the best shepherd to the people to whom you have been entrusted by the Lord.   Mike


          After learning the condition of those you are responsible to oversee, whether in a church, business or a team setting, a good shepherd discovers the SHAPE of his/her followers.  “The choice of sheep can make flock management easier or harder,” according to Kevin Leman.  Now in a church setting, a pastor normally inherits one’s congregation.  You cannot simply boot someone out of your church because you have a personality difference, or they did not vote the way you wanted them to vote on a particular item.
          In a team setting, in whatever setting you are in, you can be more selective.  Just as the Good Shepherd is the gate (John 10:9), you also can select who should be on your team.  If you have someone in a church setting that simply does not believe in your leadership or for example, rather have your teach out of a Bible version they believe is the only version Christians should use making a great uproar over it, while you are comfortable and understand well a different version, then you may be inclined to share that they should attend a church that has that preference.  Chances are if they disagree with you in an area like that, they will disagree with you in other areas, and will create disharmony. 
          If you do not choose right, you inherit someone else’s problems because those same problems will most likely surface in your situation.  When someone leaves a previous church, business or team, find out the truth to why they left before letting through “your gate”.  The same holds true with searching for a pastor for the church; find out the truth to why the pastor left the previous church.  Or you will inherit the same problems!!!  In a setting where you already have inherited the people, as you develop teams within that group, you certainly can be selective.
          Now to find the right people to be on your team you are developing, first make sure you know and then prospective team members, know the vision for the team.  Why does this team or group exist?  If you cannot articulate the vision quickly and distinctly, go back to this first point and determine why you do what you do. 
          Plus, you need to know what kind of person you want involved in your team.  Write down expectations and qualities you are looking for in team members because you not only want the right people on the team, but you want to put the members in the best situations that fit them to see both the individual and team succeed well.  The following acronym SHAPE will help us.  I have found this acronym description from numerous sources.
          “S” stands for strengths.  Know the skillset that is needed and also the skillset of the person you are evaluating.  Know what the strength are of your team and also the ones who will possibly join the team. 
          “H” stands for heart.  What are the passions of the person?  Does their passion(s) resonate with the vison and passion of the team you are developing?  It does not matter how strong someone is in a given area if that person is not interested and passionate about that area.  When you put the right person in the right spot on your team, they flourish and do not need any motivation to accomplish what will be asked of them, for it is passion that becomes the fuel that drives them.
          “A” stands for attitude.  Good attitude equals a good quality team member.  This includes having a teachable spirit.  If someone does not have a teachable spirit, it is hard to help them develop into the man or woman God desires for them.  Negative attitude individuals tend to be that – individual, not team focused and not teachable! 
          They will hurt the team’s chemistry, workableness and drag down others with them, so get rid of those people on your team.  They will constantly be a source of irritation and teach poor habits to the rest of the team.
          “P” stands for personality.  Personality is different than character.  Character is how the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual (integrity, honesty, truthful, attitude.  Personality is the characteristic sets of behaviors, emotional and thinking patterns that develop from both biological and environmental factors (like extrovert or introvert, task oriented or people person, dominating or standoffish, or wanting to always be out with people or rather be at home by yourself).  Character issues will normally have a sin problem tied to it while personality is God given and we need all four kinds of personality in the world to make a quality team. 
          (WILD International Office has a website that can be recommended to help determine a person’s personality.  It is also very important to have a qualified person be able to give proper feedback on what your personality means to yourself and others.)
          “E” stands for experiences.  When you learn about a person’s experiences, you begin to gain an understanding to why they do or react to what they do.  People are products of their experiences.  Experiences can give understanding to where or how a person should be used or placed on a team. 
Life experiences can be used for God’s glory as we allow Him to use what we experienced to help and encourage others.  That means too that a person who has gone through an experience, needs to debrief that experience to make sure that they are in a good spot in their life to move on and are not hindered by that experience.
            Following the SHAPE acronym, help yourself and others to gain understanding of one’s purpose.  We are to glory God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31) and we are fearfully and wonderfully made as God has place gifts and abilities in us to be used to serve the Body as leadership equips us to be able to do that * (Ephesians 4:11-13).  To summarize, know the SHAPE of those you are responsible for to make sure they are in the right fold and are being utilized in the right way. 


          A Coca-Cola Bottle.  Picture one in your mind.  What should be inside an unopened Coca-Cola bottle?  This is not a trick question.  There should be Coca-Cola in it.  Right? 
          Why?  Because the label says Coca-Cola on the label, it is dark in color and you trust that Coke is a trustworthy company, doing what they say.  If the soda pop label says, Orange, you believe that what is in the bottle is not Coke but rather orange soda and it looks orange in color.
          So if I switch out the Coke and put water in it or a different soda pop, it should still be Coke on the inside because the label says Coca-Cola.  Maybe it is a new kind of Coke formula that is being used.  It has to be Coca-Cola in the bottle because the label says Coca-Cola. 
          Now you may feel I am crazy because I am insisting that the content in the bottle is Coke because the label says Coca-Cola.  But you are right.  Even if the label says Coca-Cola, that does not mean there is Coke inside.  Yet that is what we do with many titles we give ourselves. 
          Others along with ourselves give titles like friend, son or daughter, parent, youth leader, boss, employee, student, youth group leader, or even president (and so many more titles).  If we follow the logic of the Coke bottle, just because the title may say son or daughter, employee, student, or friend, that does not automatically mean we are being such on the inside of us.
You may say, “I am a son or daughter to my parents.”  Yes, that true for a title but are you acting as such on the inside of you.  If on the outside I am titled, “Friend”, but on the inside of me, in my thoughts and intents, I do not want to be a friend to you, I am not your friend even though I have been given that title.
           In leadership situations, people are given titles all the time.  So being given a leadership title or several leadership titles, does that make you a quality leader?  Granted leadership is defined as influencing another person but in the true sense of a real leader, does the title make the person? 
            Jesus had strong words to teachers and leaders of the Jewish faith in His day when He basically told them if you make yourself look good on the outside (titles) and are the opposite on the inside, you are a hypocrite (Matthew 23:25-29).  A hypocrite was a theatrical term for mask as actors/actresses in Jesus’ day would carry large size masks with them on stage to let the audience what mood or what emotion the actor was portraying. 
            Titles do not make who you are.  What you are on the inside is, in reality who you are on the outside.  Sure, you can fool some people for a while living a double standard but eventually you will slip up and the real you will be shown.   If you are the same on the inside as outside, if who are in private is the same as what the public see, you are developing integrity. 
            Some of the best people in the world have never or were never given, “Best” or “A person of excellence”, but it was real on the inside of them.  They did not need a title to be the quality, excellent person they were or are.  Do not be like Pharisees and teachers of the Jewish law of Jesus’ day who were like dead bones and full of rottenness.  Live your life that is the same on the outside as you are on the inside.  Living that way will help you be on your way to living your life as Jesus would live.  Then you some day will be able to say just like the Apostle Paul exclaimed in 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (Translation – Follow me and you will be doing the same thing as Jesus would!)  Better than any title you could ever be given!