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Title: The Great Exchange For Service – Intercession Part 9 – Intimacy, Prayer and Giving/Receiving Feedback
Otakada.org content count #14,333
Date: Sunday, 21st of October 2018
Genesis 1:31 New International Version (NIV)
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Genesis 3:9 The Message (MSG)
9 God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
1 Kings 18:42-44 The Message (MSG)
42-43 Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.”
He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”
“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”
44 And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”
“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.’”
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Mark 8:23-25 New International Version (NIV)
23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Luke 17:11-19 The Message (MSG)
11-13 It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14-16 Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”
Dear brethren, I hope you had a pleasant week. Thank you for following up with us on our series on The Great Exchange for Service in the context of intercession and intimacy with the Lord in the place of prayer. Last week, we looked at Intercession, self – confrontation and self-defence and the tools that you help you get prepared.
Today, we want to look service in intercession and importance of receiving and giving feedback both to and from our heavenly Father and to/from the people we are called to serve in The Great Exchange for Service so stay tuned.
Talking about performance at work can bring up all sorts of mixed feelings. In a recent study of over 1,000 professionals, nearly a quarter of respondents said they “feared” their performance review, while 42 percent said they think managers leave important elements out of their review. According to the study’s authors: “Traditional annual performance reviews are inadequate. They’re biased towards recent work, goals aren’t communicated clearly, there’s misalignment in objectives between organizations and employees, and quite simply, the whole process just takes too long.”
While some large companies have scrapped the traditional review process, many Christian professionals still give or receive reviews each year. In ministry, feedback is critically important to help fine-tuning, escalating or de-escalating our intercessory engagements. It also encourages and strengthen the workers for future work that the Lord will bring our way. In the scriptures above, the first feedback came up in the Genesis when the TRIO created the earth. They gave feedback to see how things went, if the action delivered as expected and possibly exceeded the requirement. Jesus asked His disciples who do men say that I am to His disciples. When He sent the ten lepers to show themselves to the priest and they received healing, he longed for feedback when only one returned to testify, he was shocked that they never did.
We talk a lot with our prayer partners to see how God is responding to our request and those still held up. we continue to intercede and if the Lord is saying something, we pass information back and forth to help repositioning. Even my children give me feedback. We receive feedback from the blogs we send out weekly to thousands across the globe and that has helped shape our message delivery and keying into questions and specific needs of the people for whom we care called to serve.
Most people find it very hard to give and receive feedback in a positive, valuable and formative way. The idea of both giving and receiving feedback fills people with dread, and poorly given feedback can leave deep wounds which last for years and can destroy trust, friendship and working relationships.
Giving and receiving feedback is an essential professional, managerial and ministerial skill which can often unlock significant areas of growth and development. Without it we trip over our own flaws, risk damaging others and can hit an unnecessary ceiling in our own competence and effectiveness.
Feedback is a very powerful thing, not least because it helps us develop that vital element of maturity, ‘to see ourselves as others see us.’ For anyone in a public role this is vital. After all, how others see you is…how others see you! And feedback is potentially happening all the time. Just because people are not talking to you, it does not mean they are not talking about you! We are constantly being judged, evaluated and assessed. If we are able to access, in a positive and useful way, some of that evaluation, it could really help us to grow. And if our goal is to serve others, shouldn’t we want to do that as best we can?
So how is structured feedback done well? Here are my eight top tips.
- Give notice
When you need to give some feedback, either as a regular thing or just as a one-off, always give notice to the other person. ‘Let’s fix a time to review how that went.’ There are two main reasons for this, one to do with you, and one to do with the other person. In relation to you, the person giving feedback, it is vital that the goal of the feedback is the growth and development of the other person, and is seen to be this, and is not a pressure valve to allow you to vent your frustration. For the other person, receiving feedback could be emotionally demanding, especially if he or she is not used to this. Giving notice allows the recipient to be prepared to receive your comments—and perhaps even to review what happened themselves first.
If you are the recipient, and someone tries to give you unplanned feedback, a good response is: ‘Thanks for telling me that. I wonder if we could arrange a time for a proper conversation about it?’
- Choose a good time
A follow-on from the first point is to then find a good time to give the feedback. The most important thing it not to give feedback on the day of the event in question, particularly if this relates to public ministry. Preaching is demanding enough emotionally without having to face immediate evaluation as well. And those feeding back need to reflect on their experience as well. Things can look quite different after a day or two of reflection on the event, as the trivial things subside and what was important stands out. Make sure you allow enough time for a good conversation as well, and be clear how long the feedback session will last (which is a good policy for any meeting).
A good time for feedback will usually be in a context one-to-one, unless you have reached the point in your team where feedback is something natural to all your working relations. A good rule of thumb here is ‘Praise in public; criticise in private.’
- Shape your feedback
In the past I have been taught to start with the good, what went well, or strengths, and then move on to the negative, to things that need attention and development. The problem with this shape, if used regularly, is that the person on the receiving end is listening to the good stuff, but inside is just bracing themselves to be hit with the bad! A better shape is to either mix it up, or go ‘good—bad—good’ so that you finish on a positive note.
Even better is to make the event a genuine conversation. I will often now start conversations by asking the recipient to assess what went well and what needs development. If feedback is not genuinely owned, it will not have its effect.
- Give reasons why
Feedback needs to have external references points in two directions. First, comments need to draw on evidence from the event so the basis of comments is clear. Secondly, the reason for change needs to have a clear external rationale (‘If you do it this way, it means that people can…’). This prevents the feedback simply being a vehicle for your own opinions and prejudices; it needs to genuinely lead to more effective performance, and the person receiving comments needs to see how the comments will genuinely be of help to them.
- Suggest a plan of action
Evidence-based feedback with a good rationale should then lead to a plan of action. This does not need to be complicated, but it does mean that there should be a clear way to allow the person receiving feedback to actually address the issue at hand.
- Focus on strengths as well as weaknesses
There is a real danger in giving feedback that the process only focusses on weaknesses rather than strengths. I suppose the reason why it happens is that it is easier to spot mistakes than it is to recognise how strengths might develop further. But if this happens, then it can be demoralising for the receiver; the repeated agenda is to focus on the things that are not going well, rather than the things that are. So it is also worth exploring how things that are strengths already can become points of excellence within the ministry or performance.
- Make it regular
Feedback is most difficult when it happens as a one-off, and the first time of significant feedback is often the most challenging. But the goal for any kind of ministry team should be to make feedback a regular feature of working together. If it is ‘just one of the things we do,’ then it is much less daunting and can become more fruitful.
8. Make it symmetrical
If feedback is such a potential powerful tool for personal growth and development, then all should be making use of it. And if it is to avoid becoming an exercise in the use of power, then team leaders need feedback from team members as much as members need feedback from leaders and others. In a healthy ministry team, even the person ‘in charge’ should be ready to receive feedback from others.
More importantly, we need to also receive feedback from our heavenly father on our spiritual work. Ask Him in the place of prayer, like what is my spiritual state? How is my work with you coming along? What lack I yet? What must I do to submit totally to your will and purpose for my life? Is my intimacy with you good, bad or ugly?
Start giving feedback today and be willing to receive and you will see your progress skyrocket like you never imagined possible at hme, at work, in your relationship with our heavenly Father and others in ministry. Jesus took feedback, Jesus gave feedback, Jesus expected feedback even when He new what was happening and so we must be reading and willing to give and receive.
Have a blessed Sunday in Him
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe e-discipleship at otakada.org