Archives For preparation

There are two things every organization must master:

  1. Preparation
  2. Performance

2 Things Every Organization Must Master

In my experience of working for United Way of Stanislaus County for over five years and leading a volunteer-based program for five other years I have noticed preparation and performance are two things every organization must master.

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Teaching Bible studies for Church Assistance Ministry (CAM) is showing me the importance of working hard to prepare lessons a significant amount of time before I teach them.

I have learned that when I work hard to prepare a lesson a few days before I teach it, I often retain less of what I have studied and prepared. Additionally, I also have noticed that the message is not known as well inside of me. It is as if the message is still moving inside of me and that it is still in my head, not in my heart.

However, when I have worked hard to prepare for lessons and completed my outline and handouts a week in advance, I have noticed I often deliver the lesson better. I believe this is because the message has had time to sit inside of me and become who I am. The message is no longer a set of notes that I am reading from or a story I am attempting to retell. Instead, the message is something that is now part of who I am and something I am passionate to tell.

Today we continue our study through the story of David from the Bible to learn about what it means to be a faithful young leader serving God and the leader above you.
Preparation for Battle
In yesterday's post we saw David anointed to become king of Israel, David returned to his flock of sheep, and then Saul called David to become his musician to help sooth Saul's troubled spirit. (There was a lot that happened in 1 Samuel 16.)

Today we are studying chapter 17 of 1 Samuel to continue our study of the life of David before he became king. Through this study we will learn about leadership and what it means to be a faithful follower of God under another leader even though you feel you have been called to do something great.

So, if you need to, give 1 Samuel 17 a read. 

In chapter 17 of 1 Samuel we see why God has chosen David to be king. The Philistines (who are the enemies of David's country of Israel) are encroaching on Israelite territory. Goliath (the giant warrior of the Philistines) steps on the battlefield in front of the entire Israelite army and challenges one man to come out and fight him.

Five years have passed since David was anointed to become king in 1 Samuel 16. During those five years, David has been a shepherd in the fields and serving as Saul's musician.

In this chapter, we begin to see David's bravery and courage. David is simply delivering a basket of roasted grain and ten loaves of bread to his three brothers who all serve in the Israelite army.

If we study this passage closely we notice that even though David is not a man of war, everything he is doing as a shepherd is preparing him for what he was about to face: a giant.

The Zondervan Handbook to the Bible describes how David is being prepared for what he was about to face:

David’s time in the hills alone with the sheep has added faith to courage—and given him deadly accuracy with the sling. The giant doesn’t stand a chance. Once again God is shown as his people’s protector: all he requires from them is trust and courage to obey.[1]

I believe there is a significant lesson we can learn from this story about how David prepares to lead as king even though he is not in leadership role currently.

What David did as a shepherd prepared him to conquer Goliath (v. 34-35).

Because David had fulfilled his duty and faithfully done his job as a shepherd he had the preparation and experience to fight Goliath. It would have been easy for David to think, "I won't try very hard at being a shepherd because this is not important. But when I become king I will step up and do what needs to be done."

Does David react this way?
David was courageous and faithful in defending and fighting for his sheep. David displayed the same courage to defend his sheep for God as he did to fight against men for God. In David's eyes, defending sheep and fighting Philistines are both important because they are both done for God.

David gets his confidence to take on Goliath from God and his experience (v. 36).

In verses 34-37 David tells Saul about how he has already faithfully defended his sheep from lions and bears when he describes that he is going "do it to this pagan Philistine, too" (v. 36). David has defeated lions and bears, and because he has that experience, he is going to defeat this Philistine "too." I believe that we can make the association that David has seen those lions and bears to be opposing his God, so he killed them. Just as those lions and bears opposed him in his faithful work of defending his sheep, he is going to defeat this Philistine who opposes his God.

Question: What can we do today (when not in leadership) to prepare ourselves for the Goliath we have not yet faced (when we have the opportunity for leadership)?

For the next two weeks I am going to be posting sections from chapter 4 of my book titled, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. This is a chance for you to read some helpful content for free.


Chapter Four


In the first three chapters of this book I’ve done by best to give you a clear picture of what A Day of Hope looks like and requires from its leaders.  My goal was to inspire you to do A Day of Hope.  Now we’re going to get into the hard and fast details of how to do A Day of Hope.  Let me remind you that many of the strategies I’m going to share with you are unique to what worked for my leadership team and me.  This is only one of many ways to do A Day of Hope.  As you lead your own project in your community, you’ll create and find many other effective ways. 


To start, find out if families in your community need food.  The odds are pretty likely that there are people around you who are going through some tough times and need some food to be delivered.  The only exceptions would be really nice, ritzy neighborhoods like Beverly Hills.  The odds are that you don’t live there.

Take some steps to find out if another organization is already meeting the need.  The last thing your community needs is two nonprofits that are both trying to serve people in need by giving them food for Thanksgiving.  When two different groups are working separately to serve the same people it does not portray a good image of yourself to the people in the community.  So do your homework to find out if someone else is already serving people in need for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or maybe another time of year when people are really in need of food. 

In our community of Turlock several of the large nonprofits partner for what they call Turlock Together.  It’s a collaboration to feed families in need at Christmas and provide toys to low-income kids.  Over 2,000 families are served in this program.  When you look at the needs of families at Christmas, they are pretty much taken care of.  But for Thanksgiving there is nothing special done for these families.  And that’s where A Day of Hope comes in.

I saw a need in our community during Thanksgiving, so we started to try to fill that need.  We’ve worked for five years to provide food to families on Thanksgiving and no other holidays.  This is because Christmas is well taken care of and if families need to get food during a normal time of the year, there are two food banks and several churches that help.

Do your homework.  Find out if there is a need for similar work to be done in your community.  Then find out if there are organizations, programs, or churches feeding people on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another holiday.  And if there isn’t anyone serving people, you might be the person to step up and help.

Here’s a simple process to finding out if there’s a need in your community:

  1. Talk to schools, churches, nonprofits, or anyone else who might do good work in the community.
  2. Look to local food banks, your local Salvation Army, United Way, etc.

You might wonder, “What do I do if I find out a local nonprofit organization or church is already serving people in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I still want to help?”  That’s great!  I admire your passion and commitment to serve people in need.  There still might be something you can do.  Here are two questions to consider to see if A Day of Hope might still be needed in your community.

  1. Is there a population in your city that this nonprofit or church is not serving but still needs to be served?
  2. Could this nonprofit or church use some assistance serving the people they are already trying to help?

The odds that you’ll get a yes to one of these two questions are very good, especially question #2.  In either case, your help is desperately needed.  Even if the nonprofits and churches are serving your entire community, the odds are pretty good that they need able bodies ready to jump in and passionately serve people.  Or they might need someone to make a donation of money or food to their cause.  You might even be able to use some of the fundraising ideas and principles in this book to support their cause.  In later chapters I’ll talk a lot about fundraising ideas and events you can do to raise support.


I love simple concepts that are powerful and are able to change the way we do things and operate. And this is one of them.

In life and at work, as an individual and an organization, there are two things you need to master: preparation & performance.

  • Preparation – This is the work we do to get ready for battle. It's the constant day to day activities that we hold as habits which is preparing us for our future. It's your ability to set goals and standards for your life that you want to live up to. Preparation can come in the form of quiet time with yourself, or time with your team. Most of my preparation time is done by myself early in the morning.
  • Performance – This is your ability to perform and make it happen. It's your ability to make the goals and activities you set in preparation and bring them to fruition. For me, performance always comes after I've prayed and prepared.

When a tough decision needs to made, who do people look to make it?-They look for a leader. They look for someone to step up with courage and confidence to make the tough decision. Continue Reading…