Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe


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Media ministry on-line [blog]


Visiting a place where I spent four years of life (the Netherlands, during my studies in 1990s) is always a treat, and a special experience. Seeing the canals, windmills, tulips in full blossom, rivers of bikes on the streets, dark roast coffee, tasting the ‘over one year old’ cheese… just bring memories back. And these are good ones.

freephoto.com

It has been forty years since my first visit to this country. And I still remember how colorful and different it was to my world even then. So many nations, so many races, cultures, languages, kitchens, different but together, living in a relatively small territory – and these are not only tourists I am talking about.

Two weeks ago, Dutch Partner of TWR, the TWR NL has launched a new website – www.mijntaal.net . It is a very simple site with ten buttons, but these are in ten different languages, probably the languages of the migrants being most spoken in NL: Romanian, Turkish, Arabic, Somali, Farsi, Dari, Moroccan, English, and of course there is Dutch.

The introduction text (the only text really) says: “This is a website for migrants and refugees living in The Netherlands. Feel free to listen to the programs on this site and learn about God.” What could be simpler and more natural?

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Why Radio? [blog]


In our world today we find barriers to the Gospel of various kinds. The ideological barrier, as characterized by Iron and Bamboo Curtains, has perhaps attracted the most attention and evoked the greatest sympathy for those separated in such a way. Less obvious have been the more subtle barriers erected by religion and culture, in many ways more formidable than the ideological. Even in western cultures, overtaken by materialism and vulnerable to movements such as New Age, radio may effectively be used to spread a Christian world view and uphold Christian values.

FM station - Greece

For each of these the Gospel can be put in the marketplace of ideas by radio. As radio stations today are continually spewing out entertainment, propaganda and a variety of viewpoints we too as Christians can float our beliefs, outlook and opinions to put alongside philosophies alien to the Gospel. Thus seeker and non-seeker alike can ‘shop’ in that marketplace without even leaving the seclusion and safety of his own room.

  • Its personal nature as a medium. A listener comes to feel he knows the radio announcer as he listens to him regularly. Although he has never met him face-to-face a relationship develops.
  • The enormous multiplication of effort it represents. If we broadcast over a local station one broadcaster can potentially speak to the population of a whole city and beyond. On the international scale one broadcaster can potentially speak to all who speak his language within his country at the same time.
  • Its cost effectiveness. Although the capital outlay of radio facilities may be high the ultimate cost of speaking to each listener every day is minimal.
  • Its timeliness. Radio is a living medium with live sounds and voices speaking. It also has the edge in being current with news and current affairs. In times of crisis people tune in their radios for the latest updates.
  • Its potential among illiterates. It may be argued that the poverty of illiterates may preclude them from having radios. But this is not necessarily the case.

Read more on this at the following Lausanne movement site: Radio in Mission


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Management’s Good Behavior [blog]


In the business section of The New York Times on Sunday 13 March 2011, an article was published showing the results of a survey project called Oxygen, done by the Google company, in which more than 10,000 observations and 400 pages of interviews were collected on the subject of good manager and management. So, here are the results:

  1. Be a good coach
  2. Empower your team and do not micromanage
  3. Express interest in team members; success and personal well-being
  4. Be productive and result-oriented
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
  6. Help your employees with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  8. Have key skills so you can help advise your team

I think that this survey did not reveal anything new. It’s value lays in the confirmation of the already known issues, especially to the leaders in Christian organizations. Most of the listed above come naturally if you put Jesus in center of your work, ministry and managing your team. Then their well being, development, good advice, at times brinkmanship and pushing the ‘stretch’ assignments, have even more sense. Especially the statement like this one: “Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work.”

I have a strong impression that most of secular companies are using the servant leadership Biblical model for some time now, for years actually. Interestingly enough, some Christian organizations are still using top-down and “I am the spiritual leader here.” What is your experience?


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Peter Principle and Us [blog]


One of the ever-green topics in organizations is leadership development. Whether it is a commercial organization, or an NGO, or a Christian ministry, considering the next generation of leaders is valid and important. Of course, there are such organizations where this topic is being avoided, and for a purpose. Some leaders do not want to be replaced, under any circumstance, ever. This is a prominent issue in Eastern Europe, and perhaps, in some other parts of the world, hindering normal and quality growth of our organizations.

Freedom to Lead is promoting Christ-centered leadership and is asking other organizations to consider leadership development. They speak a model of leadership that emphasizes that the “Christian leader’s identity is fundamentally based in his/her relationship with Christ rather than in circumstances beyond his/her control. This model prioritizes a servant style not as a means to increased power or influence but as a distinguishing characteristic of biblical leadership.”

One of their suggestions is here, written by Rick Sessoms:

“Organizations need to invest more heavily in on-the-job mentoring.  Although training events  (and well-known trainers) attract financial resources and interest, the real progress occurs when mentoring is featured and championed within organizations.  Long live faithful mentors!”

Is leadership development what we need? Do we consider others being in our position? Are we looking for the next generation of leaders, or we just wait for the Peter principle to occur?

P.S. Peter Principle: team members are promoted so long as they work competently, but at one point in time they shift to a position at which they are no longer competent. They cannot move further, but they are also pose no treat to the leader.