Back in March, 2014 I was invited to a luncheon to hear Dr. Robert Lupton speak. I was fortunate to be able to go earlier session with Dr. Lupton speaking to community leaders. If you don’t know Dr. Lupton is a Christian community developer, an entrepreneur who brings together communities of resource with communities of need. Dr. Lupton is the founder FCS (focus community strategies) which is a collective of visionaries and social entrepreneurs, transforming distressed urban neighborhoods through Christian community development.
The reason I am telling you this is because Dr. Lupton book “Toxic Charity” has changed how I look at giving through food ministries. The basis of his book has made me look at how I am running a food ministries. Most of the volunteers agree in principle, but when it comes to making the hard decisions, this is where we get into the Law of the Lid.
The Law of the Lid is the first chapter in John C Maxwell’s book “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. For those that haven’t read the book or never heard of the law of the lid, let me explain. The law of the lid simply states that the strength of an organization can never rise higher than the ability of the leader of that organization. Simply put, if an organization is not growing and prospering, then the leader may, in fact, be the bottleneck that is stifling its growth. Mr. Maxwell states that “leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher an individual’s ability to lead, the higher the lid on his potential.”
The part that I want to emphasize is “the strength of an organization can never rise higher than the ability of the leader and if an organization is not growing and prospering… that is stifling its growth”. But what I want to say, if the organization isn’t willing to change then they, in fact, have, but the lid on the organization and the leader will never grow.
Getting back to Dr. Lupton’s book Toxic Charity in the chapter “Take The Oath” he talks about progression of giving a five part transformation that has changed how I look at giving through food ministries.
1. Give once, and you elicit appreciation
2. Give twice, and you create anticipation
3. Give three times, and you create expectation
4. Give four times, and it becomes entitlement
5. Give five times, and you establish dependency
Dr. Lupton also says, “one-way giving may seem like the “Christian” thing to do, it can undermine the very relationship a helper is attempting to build”
It is like this; I have something you want, and you need what I have, but what happens with the relationship when what I have has gone away. So this relationship needs to be built empower leading, investing, listening, trust, respect, openness.
So where am I going with all this?
My feelings are that we need to help, but we need to help by going deeper with the ones we help. Going deeper took over two years to understand what all this all meant. Going deeper is to understand where the one’s we are helping have been. Understand what are their needs, and how can we get them to the next level.
If you want to have a life changing moment, read Dr. Lupton’s book “Toxic Charity”