I confess to being one of those people who secretly like formulas. Everyone is always saying formulas for ministry don't work in the real world. If something works in one place, it won't in another. But I still like formulas. They are helpful in assisting me to bring some kind of order and understanding to complicated matters far over my head. A formula lays out a long-term picture of what needs to be done and helps me see the bigger picture.
Enough said by way of introduction...on to Roberts formula for making an impact--a difference in people's lives...
Long term + relationships + specific projects(wholistic engagement) + personal sharing and living = IMPACT!
In Bob's article he proceeds to break down each of the above elements of the formula. I would like to do the same, but applying the elements of his formula to a few of our own observations.
Long term - Most of us are conditioned to a lifestyle that expects instant gratification, and quick results from efforts. But making a lasting difference takes time. A long term commitment is crucial to making a lasting impact. Bob Roberts says, "most of us want to do dine and dash, [but] that doesn't work if you want change. You have to be there - really be there..."
Relationships - the key to opening doors is relationships. The world hinges in more ways than we would like to think on the kinds of relationships we build and maintain with people. Bob says, "you don't do anything if you don't know anyone. Who has God put in front of you?"
Specific projects (wholistic engagement) - here Bob says, "...the rubber has to meet the road. Put the book down, instead of going to another conference, get a shovel and find a barn - you'll learn more in that barn than you will at a conference with incredible speakers, thinkers, and writers. If those projects are tied to wholistic engagement of society...then you'll gain credibility..." I would add that a lot of us are waiting for God to drop something down from the sky, but it is more like God is waiting for us to get out there and OBEY--DO THAT WHAT HE HAS SAID TO DO! Give that project/idea a try. "Pray as if everything depended upon God; work as if everything depended upon man." We are called to toil in the harvest fileds of the Lord--to work those fields. Nine out of ten things we try may fail, but the one that works will make a difference.
Personal sharing and living - Nothing takes the place of personal involvement and rubbing shoulders with those you are trying to impact. Jesus himself left Heaven as God Incarnate and dwelt amongst us. He lived and experienced what we live daily. It is hard making an impact when we do not connect with the people we are trying to touch. I once read that leaders never ask followers to do anything they themselves are not already doing or willing to do.
The sum of the parts?
Impact - making a difference in people's lives.