Thursday, March 22

Making a difference

Bob Roberts, Jr. recently posted on his blog an interesting article entitled Societal Engagement Formula from Hanoi to Puebla to NE Tarrant County. In this post he basically spells out a formula for making a difference in people's lives.

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.


S.A.M. said...

An effective leader and one that makes an impact is one that serves the ones he/she leads. Leading by example and getting your hands dirty once in a while gets much better results, at least in my experience.


GuyMuse said...


Exactly right. However, "getting your hands dirty" is something a lot of us like to think we are doing, but in reality we prefer the comfort of the office, rather than the getting out there with the people shoulder to shoulder.

Alan Cross said...

Great post, Guy! That is exactly what we are trying to do on the MS Gulf Coast and in India. I think that Roberts is definitely right about this. Thanks for reminding us.

GuyMuse said...


Thanks for stopping by. I read with interest your post today about the ethics of church building programs. There is a fine balance between spending on our own needs and tending to the needs of our brothers so that they end up not being neglected, but impacted by our love and ministry.

Outoftheshaker! said...

Hey Guy,
Sorry it took so long to get a post in but I've been working on some "Specific Projects". Good post. You wanted me to comment on the Making a Difference subject. Well here it goes. I use Jude 22 as our Family verse but in reality you have to read 17 - 23 to get the context. When Teresa and I realized that God was calling us into missions, we wanted to make a difference in the field. And to be honest, boy has that been a slap in the face. Coming from as culture of "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..."
as Roberts says. I've had to evaluate a lot of things in our lives. I have often, I mean often, asked myself, "Michael are you making a difference in peoples lives. I do realize that I will not see this completely till we meet in Heaven but I can look at what I'm doing to see if it accomplishing some goals.
I realize I have dove into deep waters from where I came from. Coming from secular construction background into ministry and mission field, just diving into the ministry field would have tested anyone, but no as usual I have to dive off the 100 ft cliff.
Going back to what Roberts says, yes I agree with what he says. Agreeing and accepting are two different things. I’ve always seen results in what ever I’ve done.
I guess now instead of saying I’m going to “make a difference”. I find myself asking “did you make a difference? I hope this doesn’t sound too scattered.

GuyMuse said...


I think we all want to make a difference with our lives. That is what I found edifying about the Robert's "formula." It is a combination of things going on long term that make a difference, an impact on people's lives.

I guess one of the most helpful things for all of us wanting to impact others is to stick with it over the long-term. It is easy to give up long before we have had the chance of bringing in the harvest. Scriptures say, we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Dion said...

This post hurts.Naty andI are realizing how after 3 years here in Columbus, we are actually able to have real relationships with people, but now we are making plans to move to Venezuela. I never thought it would nappen, but I actually feel more like wanting to stay here in C-bus. Our call is to Vzla, so we are going, but I hope God calls us to stay there for more than 3 years.

GuyMuse said...


I hear you, brother! Our Lord's ways are not always our ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts. May you have His Grace upon you as you begin this transistion time. I look forward to following you on your journey via your blog. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!