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Increasing your capacity and competency in times of ambiguity

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Pastor Ed Delph contributes his "Church Community Connection" column weekly.

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 12:15 am

Recently I was in Jakarta, Indonesia at a large conference called “The Harvest Festival.” The leader of the conference was Indonesian Pastor Jimmy Onetoro. Jimmy is the leader of 2,700-plus churches all over the world. He suggested to the 1,200 delegates that in dynamic times...times of ambiguity and change...we need to grow in key areas or we will be like someone making a credit card call on a rotary phone...lost.

J. Paul Getty notes the following in times of chaos or significant change. “Experience is your worst enemy.”

Experience only helps in situations that have a degree of predictability; it is deadly in situations that require a fresh approach. I would say these are changing times, wouldn’t you?

Read what Fortune Magazine published in the Sept. 23, 1991 edition. It was in a story on the minivan. “With over two million units sold, the minivan is the current mainstay of Chrysler profits since the mid 1980s. Its father, Hal Sperlich, first developed the idea at Ford, but they wouldn’t buy the idea. ‘They lacked the confidence that a market existed because the product didn’t exist,’ Sperlich explains. ‘In 10 years of developing the minivan, we never once got a letter from a housewife asking us to invent one. To the skeptics, that proved there wasn’t a market out there.’” The rest is history.

So what areas did Onetoro challenge the delegates grow in...and us, too? He used the concept of capacity. Increase your recognition capacity. Increase your faith capacity. Increase your vision capacity. Increase your leadership capacity. Increase your people capacity. Increase your change capacity. Increase your grace capacity. Increase your team capacity. Finally, increase your character capacity.

Let me start with talking about recognition capacity. Minivan father, Hal Sperlich, didn’t just cognize minivans, he “re-cognized” the potential of minivans. He got an “ah-ha” on minivans. You rarely see what you are not looking for and he was looking for it. He saw what Ford couldn’t see and Chrysler did see. When opportunity wants to dance with you, you had better be on the dance floor.

Don’t forget to increase your faith capacity when you recognize an opportunity. The Bible encourages us to grow in our faith, to enlarge our faith and to have an overcoming faith. Faith is doing something about what you recognize.

What is a vision? Pastor Terry Virgo says that it is a compelling picture of a preferable future that motivates us to perform. Sperlich had to have a vision or mental model of what a minivan would look like. He understood that everything is created mentally, and then physically. He could see it and the future it held when others, significant others, could not.

Next, let’s increase our leadership capacity. George Bower says that anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a real leader to chart the course. Warren Bennis says leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality. Leadership moves us from dream to done.

Next week, we will take a look at the other four areas of growing in our capacity. Remember, your success today could become your failure tomorrow. I love you, you’re perfect, now change.

To learn more about Pastor Ed Delph, the Church-Community Connection and Nationstrategy, call 623-376-6757, email, or log on

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