Monthly Archives: December 2017

The 2 sides of missions

Acclimating back to normal life after a mission trip is never the same when the Holy Spirit has been active in changing lives.

Nicaragua 1

As I washed out the dirt in my clothes and shoes from a mission trip to Nicaragua, I saw it as washing the dirt out of my life. I’m sure this is how others felt too. This is but one metaphor that symbolizes a week of intense experiences, discussions, relationships, devotions, and serious dedication to not only who we are through Christ, but who we want to be.

Since before its conception, this trip was blessed by God. It was his plan all along, when a former Southwestern Advantage student dealer and current missionary, Claire Whitcomb, had come back in my life. Months later, she contacted me about bringing a group to Masatepe, Nicaragua. This was met with enthusiasm because it had long been a desire of my personal ministry to take a group of young people on a mission. What was even better was this group included Madison, my 16-year-old daughter. I can’t think of any other better time invested in a child.

From the beginning, this trip was not to be one of “voluntourism” or something to be checked off a “Christian bucket list.” The way I see it, if the effects of your short-term help is never really felt long-term, then you have been no help at all. I appreciate the team in Nicaragua with International Teams (iTeams) mission organization. They interviewed me to make sure myself and the group I would bring down was the “right fit” with in their four-part missions strategy of ENTER > EVALUATE > ENGAGE > EXTEND.

Nicaragua 2Through this process, they are building teams both on the ground and who come to serve that are part of a long-term solution and not just a short-term feel-good experience. This community has been served well by this organization which has branched into multiple arms of blessings: a farm that is a product of many churches and pastors coming together that provides eggs (protein) for poverty-stricken children, and has orchards and pigs – this farm will also house a rehabilitation center for alcohol recovery which is the biggest problem in Masatepe; a coffee shop and company that provides jobs and makes coffee-related and leather products; and many other community projects and partnerships including a stellar internship program.

As I write this, I can hear my daughter reliving the past week’s events as she tells my wife about the people she met, those who invested in her, and what she learned. Over the course of a week, we had devotionals and worship, in-home visits with the elderly, dinner with locals, events we attended with Young Life, a Baptist school, and an Nicaragua 4organization that ministers to the children who live by the dump. We attended an inauguration for the farm in which the mayor spoke. We also helped prepare the farm for the vision the community and iTeams has for it. There were many more things that kept us busy and our spirits alive! Oh, and one of the college students was baptized in Lake Nicaragua.

Some of the best confidence builders in Christ came from the topics covered in our nightly devotionals which I can only describe as a discussion of real life problems with Biblical solutions. They were serious topics for a group of people seeking to live out their purpose and follow the Lord. It was refreshing being fed by these young people as much as I was trying to feed them.

I strongly believe in what a mission trip can accomplish on both sides. I’m familiar with When Helping Hurts and others opinions/facts on short-term missions, however, I can only buy-in with what I personally know and have experienced.

  • It must go both ways. The outcome is determined by what is accomplished and the reason it needed to be accomplished.
    • For the people going, is their perspective expanded and have they grown in their relationship with Christ? It’s not about creating memories, it’s about building a foundation of faith, becoming who you are called to be in the Lord’s Kingdom through an experience that would likely not happen without a change in venue and latitude.
    • For the locals, there needs to be a long-term vision or reason for what work or relationship building is being done. Is it to set up long-term help? Will it meet the needs after you leave? Will there be a  legacy to your trip beyond painting walls or getting pics for social media posts?
  • It is imperative to partner with an organization that “gets it” and has an existing system in place. In my experience, there are lots of mission organizations that have intentions to do great things, but may actually be doing more harm. There is good in almost every one of the orgs, but a lack of vision and execution is often the result of intentions without research.
  • Where’s the change? A successful short-term trip will have change in you, the team members you are with, the organization you may go through, and the people who you are there to reach or help. All of these must see growth for success to be measurable.

I know what we accomplished and what change was brought about in Nicaragua. That Nicaragua 3can wait for a future post, but what was told to me before we left will forever leave an impression on my heart:

“I was in a dry period, you all filled my soul.” – Jordy Vallecillo Tinoco.

This is not only change, but progress. I’ll leave you with this: the light of God shines down on those who venture into darkness for His sake.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
Follow on FB: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1

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Some holiday self-reflection

Merry Christmas everyone! May you and your family certainly be blessed on this fine day!

Each Christmas, I like to personally take stock in my thoughts and where they lead me dependent on where I am in my life. Coming off a tremendous Spirit-filled week on mission in Nicaragua, I had a question come to mind:

Do you have Christmas in your heart,
or Christ in your heart?

It’s fair to be curious behind my meaning. Having just returned to the U.S. from the 1000 Tips 164 holiday self reflectionsecond poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest in Central America, I see so many people who seem to be more concerned with what’s under the tree than what was in the manger. This is no indictment of Christmas as a holiday or reasons against families to get together and gorge on food and football, but it is an indictment as to the state of our priorities as Christians. After all, how many Christians will spend one hour at church and several days laying around the house in food comas and their “fat pants?”  While I am being overly dramatic in my portrayal to set up my point, in retrospect am I really that far off?

Back to the question posed above… what is the reason for the season? Or more accurately, who is the reason for the season? Is it a celebration of Jesus, our Lord being born into this world of sin to save us, or Christmas movies, gifts, and Grandma’s special Christmas cake? It can be all, and it is by no means wrong. You can have Grandma’s cake and eat it too! But, shouldn’t it be a birthday cake? Again – the true reason for the season.

I was lucky to do some home visits while in Nicaragua. These homes were not the three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, average middle class home we know in the U.S. As you drive through the country landscape of our own nation, you see dilapidated barns in better condition than many of these homes.

I’ll tell you this: despite the lack of possessions, the people I visited with reminded me of something I know, but we get numb to in the States: they had true happiness in their hearts. This December they did not have Christmas in their hearts; they had Christ in their hearts. I found I was not there to witness, but was there to be witness to a wonderful reminder that there is not anything we need other than Jesus. While reading the Bible early one morning before others in my group awoke, I found myself in the Gospel of Luke. In Chapter 9, Jesus gathered his 12 disciples and sent them out with nothing other than the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet.

“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
– Luke 9:3

They led a successful mission in other villages healing the sick and preaching the Good News. All they had was their focus on their faith and the belief they had all they needed through Christ. In my own life, I need to do a little better job remembering this. It’s a lesson learned from the Bible and reinforced in person on my own mission.

I had several additional reminders of this throughout the week. There was a 16-year-old named Jonathan. We were talking, along with my 16-year-old, Madison, while clearing a field on a farm. We were talking about how the age for driving in the U.S. was 16. I mentioned Madison had a car, but did not like driving very much. He was in awe she had a car. He said he had a bike, but it wasn’t even his, it was his cousin’s. It made me think of the dichotomy between our cultures. Another time we were at the dump going house to house to invite the children to an event. At the home we held the event at, the poverty was evident. I don’t need to go into details, but it made me feel guilty for having wood floors to place my feet every time I step out of bed. Shortly after, I had mentioned to Madison I had not done any holiday shopping. She looked at me and said “I really don’t care if I get anything for Christmas or not.”

With all this to say, I really wanted to point out what is in our heart determines how we live our lives and what level of importance is assigned to it. At this time of year, do you have Christmas or Christ at the center of your heart? Have Christmas on your mind and Christ in your heart. 

And with that, have a wonderful Christmas, filled with the joy of family and the love of a Savior born unto us on this day!

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Impact is lost in anonymity

If you are silent in your sphere of influence, you are not destined for greatness, but 1000 Tips 162 anonymityrather, anonymity.

Let’s talk about anonymity for a second. The definition is “lack of outstanding, individual, or unusual features; impersonality.” It means you don’t stand out in a crowd. I’ll take it a step further and say this: it means your efforts are lackluster.

In my upcoming book, 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, one of the themes is leaving a legacy of impact. No one is going to do this if they are anonymous in a crowd.

Some people are okay with this. But let me ask you this question. As uniquely, intelligently, and intricately as God designed us, do you think our purpose includes what I call the three “I”s of Obscurity – inconspicuousness, invisibility, and insignificance?

God gave us our personality and purpose to fulfill His mission. Some of us will have missions that keep us behind the scenes. While we are not served well to bring attention to ourselves, our works that are seen by others identify us as Christ followers.

Breaking the cycle of anonymity is not about being known necessarily. It’s not about being different. It’s about being great. We are made in God’s image. When you rise above mediocrity, you rise above anonymity – in your sphere and in God’s Kingdom.

1000 Tips 142 make you unique

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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3 types of leaders that will rock your socks off! Which one are you?

Take a good look at one way I define leaders. After you process the awesomeness of the graphic below (lightning bolts and all), I’ll explain what it all means!

Leadership Allignment graphic

In a nutshell:
I categorize leaders in one of three types – the strengths they lean toward: vision, people,and method.

  • Vision– They are visionaries, see the “big picture,” plan for the future
    • They set lofty goals and work to reach them
    • They ask: What? Why? When?
    • They think intangibly with the end goal in mind
    • They focus on both start and finish
    • They are action prone: shoot first/aim second
    • They follow the mission of the organization they believe will garner results
  • People– They are communicators, value input and often ask for it
    • They delegate and are team-players, which makes them effective
    • They ask: Who? Where? When?
    • They thrive in team environments, assemble teams, love group dynamics
    • Put a high emphasis on ethics/values and service to others
    • They know the pulse of an organization and its team members
    • Mutual respect is important, a two-way street
  • Method – They are the organizers, into the implementation and processes
    • They are into the numbers
    • They ask: How? When? Why?
    • They are detailed oriented, love to plan
    • They are concerned with data and deadlines
    • They are calculated in their decisions, methodical
    • Bottom line is important, but not the be-all-end-all

Those in leadership positions can be a hybrid of these three strengths but typically areLeadership Alignment Arrows more one than the other. Notice the arrows between the three types (to the right). These are key attributes shared between the two leader types.

For example: People and Method leaders place importance on “processes” that make the organization successful. Vision and Method leaders value “information” a little more that People leaders.

NOISE = Communications Barriers (static)
“Noise” are the things that get in the way of effective leadership. It serves as an interrupter of effective communication. It interferes with the Principles, Information, and Processes. Noise, an ever-present distraction, drowns out the delivery of any

transmission between groups or individuals. I’ve included it in the model above because it factors as a barrier of effective communication within the leadership process.

A few examples of noise include:

1. Lack of communication
2. Conflicting messages
3. Confusing messages
4. Too many/not enough involved
5. Different expectations
6. Poor planning
7. Organizational politics
8. No initial defining parameters (goals, ground rules)

While this is not by any means a comprehensive study of leaders and their specific styles of leadership, it’s a glimpse into how leaders lead. Most leaders are simply prone to be dominant in one of the specific strengths I’ve highlighted. Over all my years in business and working with many leaders in all aspects of life, I’ve seen how if you are able to pinpoint a specific leadership style, it makes working and communicating with the individual easier. It’s all about how to get the most out of a relationship with them.

In addition, you can apply the Leadership Alignment to yourself and see how you tend to work with others. You’re welcome!

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
FB: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1

 

Your hands never looked so good

Have you ever just looked at your hands? Hold them up in front of you. Admire them. They are surely something to marvel at. Look at how complex they are. Look at how you can independently move each finger. At how the knuckles bend at a whim. At how they were designed for grasping, emphasizing communication, and touching just to name a few of their many uses.

Look at how imperfect they are. Seldom, if never, are fingers perfectly straight. Knuckles1000 Tips 161A imperfection are definitely not the prettiest feature you have. I happen to think the beauty of imperfection is by perfect design.

It’s our finger prints that make us also unique. No one else has the same design given to us by our Creator. No one else can leave the same imprint we can on this world.

At the end, on the tips, we have these hard, protective coverings made of a protein called keratin. What a glorious invention within the miracle that is our bodies! Our fingernails are tools on tools. It’s like having your own personal, attached Swiss Army knife.

Why the big deal about hands? Our work and purpose is enhanced by our hands. One of the things you will change the world with is your two hands. But only if you use them. 

Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might,
because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go.
– Ecclesiastes 9:10

When I look at my hands, I see God-given tools that should be used with all my might. I can worship with them, serve with them, build with them, and love with them. As imperfect as they may be, they are really the perfect way to execute God’s will.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
Follow on FB: www.fb.com/leadmeforward1