Category Archives: Organizations

Accepting the Competent Leader Award

My fellow toastmasters, it is with true gratitude that I accept this award today.

As you know, Toastmasters is a unique organisation, which, for over 90 years, has been teaching people how to give speeches and how to lead meetings.

For those who may not know, Toastmasters achieves this goal by providing a supportive environment for members to give their speeches, and to have their speeches evaluated.  In turn, all other roles during a meeting are also evaluated.  It is this environment of mutual support that enables a club to develop and grow its members.

This award recognizes that I have worked through the Competent Leadership manual.  This manual consists of 10 projects, where a variety of roles are required to be performed and evaluated.

  1. Project 1 tested my Listening Skills, by requiring me to complete basic roles necessary for the successful running of a normal club meeting.
  2. Project 2 tested my Critical Thinking, by requiring me to be able to evaluate other roles.
  3. Project 3 tested my ability to give Feedback.
  4. Project 4 tested my Time Management skills, by successfully completing a Timer role and a significant other role within a meeting, on time.
  5. Project 5 tested my ability to Plan and Implement significant roles.
  6. Project 6 tested my ability to Organize and Delegate by requiring me to help to organize a special club event.
  7. Project 7 tested my Facilitation skills, by requiring me to perform a couple of vital roles in the club meeting.
  8. Project 8 tested my Motivation, by requiring me to perform roles to assist others.
  9. Project 9 tested my Mentoring skills. I especially wish to thank my mentee, Molino Garcia, for allowing me to mentor him.  It was a privilege to be allowed to speak into another member’s life.
  10. Project 10 tested my Team Building skills, by requiring me to give back to the club.

Having now achieved this award, I have the following recommendations for others wishing to achieve it.

  1. If at all possible, you should attempt to get onto the Executive Team. This will afford you opportunities to complete certain roles.
  2. However, even if you are not on the Executive Team, you can volunteer to assist them. In this way, I was able to perform the role of Web Master, even though I wasn’t the Vice President of Public Relations.
  3. There are four competitions during the year: International Speech, Humorous Speech, Table Topics and Speech Evaluations. You should volunteer to be the convenor of one of these competitions.  This role alone will fulfil the entire Project #6.
  4. If you are only one signature away from completing a project, then ask the Vice President Education to assign you that role in the coming month. You are not imposing.  The VP Ed delights in knowing that you are interested in advancing your record.  It is impossible for the Exec Team to know in advance which roles you wish to pursue at any particular time.
  5. And lastly, of course, for every role you fulfil in your club meeting, check your manual to see whether you can get it signed off. Then find somebody to sign it off for you.

Toastmasters is a bit like university, as opposed to school.  You are provided the manual, but it is up to you to proactively manage your own project completion record.  Nobody is going to chase you up to complete your manual.  This is your prerogative.

What comes next?  After the Competent Leader award, comes the Advance Leader Bronze.  In order to achieve this level, one must:

  1. Have fulfilled an Executive Team role for a minimum of 6 months; and
  2. Completed 2 educational speeches of 10 minutes each.

The final person I wish to give heart-felt thanks to, is Warren Christie for shoulder-tapping me to join as a Charter Member of this club in July 2015.  Warren had to convince me that I needed the club, and the club needed me.  I am grateful that he persevered.

We took only 3 months to get up to the 20 members necessary, so that we were able to charter as a fully-fledged club in October 2015.

It has been said that this club is unique, in that our members are motivated to provoke one another to higher levels of achievement.  With a weekly meeting, we are able to fulfil many more roles than most other clubs more quickly.

This award recognizes that I was motivated by others here to achieve.  I am grateful to this club for the opportunities afforded me, and I hope I am an adequate role model to follow.

I have had a few outside opportunities to put into practice, the skills learned here.  I can attest that these skills work, and are appreciated by the outside world.  Personally, I have noticed family occasions in the past were lacking, because nobody was prepared to say a few words.  People do appreciate when somebody has bothered to put some words together to mark a special occasion.

Once again, thank you fellow Toastmasters.  It is a privilege to be presented this award.  I gratefully accept it.

Mr Toastmaster.

MCBC Toastmasters Club Election Results 2017

Fellow Toastmasters of the MCBC Club.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team voted yesterday.  These people will take over leadership of the club from 1 July, after a month of transition.

Role Existing New
President James Hippolite Ruth Malo
Vice President – Education Jane Crosbie Jane Crosbie
Vice President – Memberships Barry Shaw Amit Sharma
Vice President – Public Relations Ruth Malo Melanie Alican
Secretary Warren Christie Barry Shaw
Treasurer Barry Shaw Manju Malik
Sargent-At-Arms Molino Garcia Patrick Mariner
Immediate Past President Warren Christie James Hippolite

Thank you to all who put their hands up (including those who were not chosen this time).  Your 1-minute, impromptu campaign speeches were most informative and instructive!  I look forward to following Ruth’s leadership and seeing what the next 12 months has in store for us as a club.

We are well on our track to achieving all 10 goals of the Distinguished Club Programme.

Goals to Achieve Goal To Date Status
Education (A maximum of 6 will count toward DCP credit.)
1 Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 2  Achieved
2 More Competent Communicator (CC) awards 2 4  Achieved
3 Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 1  Achieved
4 More Advanced Communicator (ACB, ACS, ACG) awards 1 0 1 AC needed
5 Leadership Awards (CL, ALB, ALS) or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award 1 1  Achieved
6 More CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM award 1 1  Achieved
Membership
7 New members 4 4  Achieved
8 More new members 4 3 1 New Member needed
Training
9 Club officers trained June-August 4 6  Achieved
Club officers trained December-February 4 5
Administration
10 Membership-renewal dues on time Y 2  Achieved

Working title: My 2nd trip to Ghana in 20 years

Introduction

Back in 1997, my wife Fiona and 7 week old baby Tane travelled to South Africa to attend and assist with two conferences: The Global Consultation on World Evangelisation (GCOWE) and the African Evangelical Alliance (AEA).  These were held in Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively.  While on the continent, Fiona’s Uncle Ross invited me to travel with him to East and West Africa, to distribute a Church Survey Database (written in Microsoft Access 97).  Ever since then, uncle has feed me data updates about every 5 years, and I have done number crunching and sent back formatted reports.

This year, 2016, nearly 20 years after that initial visit, Uncle Ross is nearing retirement.  So, he thought it would be a good idea to disband the Ghana National Church Survey database, split it into its denominational constituent parts, and distribute these to their respective denominations.  He invited me to return to Ghana (where the national church there had run with this idea) to assist with the distribution of data, and training of their technical people.  At first, I was hesitant, because the airfares were significant, but Uncle Ross is such a frequent flyer that he assured me he could probably get my economy tickets free (he’s a platinum card holder).  In the end, I’m still not sure whether my flights were free, because uncle is supported by WEC International, and he doesn’t like to discuss his financial needs.  Instead, he relies upon the provision of the Lord.  All I know is that they were free to me.

I booked 3 weeks annual leave from my job as a Solution Architect at Spark, NZ’s largest telecommunications provider.  I got shots for Yellow Fever and Hepatitis A.  I exchanged NZ$700 for US$500 to take into the country with me.  We flew out on 1st October.  I was pumped and ready to go.  In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins, “I’m going on an Adventure!”

The first notable blessing which came our way was, on our flight from Perth to Johannesburg (the 2nd leg of our 3-leg trip), we got an upgrade (because of Uncle’s Platinum card) from Economy Class to Row #1!  I have never flown First Class before.  It is such a blessing.  There is so much more space to stretch out my 1.81cm frame.  Also, by virtue of uncle’s status, we were granted access to the South African Voyager Club lounge.  This afforded us access to the showers and sleeper unit.  I was greatly refreshed for the final leg of our journey.

We arrived 5pm Sunday local time, which was 6am Monday NZ time, after departing Saturday 2pm.  That’s a lot of travel.  I was exhausted and collapsed early into our accommodations.

Week 1

The first week was spent in the Ghana Evangelism Committee (an organisation uncle had created and initially chaired), splitting the databases and training the in-house technical staff.  Ghana is 13 hours behind New Zealand, which means Ghana is in line with GMT.  It also means that when I wake up at 6AM on Monday, it’s already 7PM in NZ.  This makes for some limited opportunity for communication with home.  However, mobile data is relatively cheap and the Internet is a modern marvel which makes face time possible.

As expected the days are hot, but at least I’m in an air-conditioned office.  The nights are hotter, because we only have a ceiling fan to keep us cool.  Needless to say, we are up early each morning because it’s too hot to stay in bed.  It is usually about 30.5 degrees Celsius first thing in the morning.

After breakfast, there’s time for a cold shower.  Rather than an imposition, this is a blessing.  It removes the sweat from the night.

For lunch, we go to the street markets and buy either fish and (yam) chips or chicken and (yam) chips.  For dinner, we pop next door to the office, and buy from the Portuguese fast-food restaurant with Western-style food.  Here, it is called Barcello’s.  In New Zealand we would recognize it as Nando’s.  We are eating out each day, because it is cheaper than buying Western style groceries, and the facilities back at the Guest House are not conducive to cooking a meal.

Once a week, we wash our clothes in the bucket in the shower.  We use soap powder that we brought with us.  Uncle lives very frugally.  He’s worked out the best systems for maximising his return on investment.

We are usually tired by 8pm and there’s no telly here, so we end up listening to BBC World Service on our separate radios, and retiring early.

Week 2

We started meeting heads of churches.  I’m so impressed with Uncle’s ability to pick up the phone, dial a Director or Moderator or Chairman to request a meeting, and getting a positive response.  By the end of this week, we had meetings with:

  • General Secretary of the Church of Pentecost
  • Personal assistant to the President and General Secretary of the Apostolic Church of Ghana
  • Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church
  • Moderator, Director Church Life and Nurture & Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana
  • Presiding Bishop and his head office staff of the Methodist Church of Ghana

With each, we have attempted to schedule a follow-up session with their IT department, in order to take possession of their data, and give them some in-depth training on its usage.  But first, it was necessary to meet with the leadership and really get them on-board with the data.  I prepared a brief 8-slide presentation, which Ross presents skilfully.  Depending on the audience, he can make the presentation last 15 minutes to 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

Uncle feels it is important to get the leadership’s buy-in first.  He also feels it necessary to trot me along for this initial meeting, and espouses my various qualifications and credentials.  He builds me up, to lend credibility to the training and to the data.  Although the data really does speak for itself.  He has some old printed reports to go along with it, but the latest stuff is only available in soft copy.

On weekend, we took the opportunity to travel up to Kumasi.  There, uncle introduced me to the Christian School (now University) he established in 1969.  Christian Service University College (CSUC) in Kumasi is a Presbyterian school.  It houses 600 students and has a campus now of 2000.  The Featured Image (above) shows uncle shaking hands with his former gatekeeper: a fierce, but gracious, Fra-Fra man.  Apparently, it is well-known that this tribe makes the best security.  Uncle told stories of having to chase of thieves in the old days, in the middle of the night.

Week 3

This is a typical example of how I conducted the in-depth training.  It was in a large board-room with projector, and 3 techies, with one laptop.  So, I plugged into the projector and demo-ed their database, while the senior guy with the laptop, mirrored my activities.  In this way, I trained them how to create their own queries on the data.  We spent half a day with them.  They fed us a lovely lunch of rice, fish & vegetables.

We ended up training the following groups:

Date Group Name Church Number of Participants
11/10/2016 Peter & Martin Ghana Evangelism Committee 2
14/10/2016 Beatrice & Richmond Global Evangelical Church 2
17/10/2016 Hulda & Vivian Ghana Evangelism Committee 2
18/10/2016 Jeremiah, Emmanuel & Manasseh Apostolic Church of Ghana 3
19/10/2016 Statistics Department Methodist Church 4
20/10/2016 Daniel & Eric Church of Pentecost 2
20/10/2016 IT Department Ghana Baptist Convention 4
20/10/2016 IT Department Hope Foundation Church 1
21/10/2016 Data Managers Presbyterian Church 8
21/10/2016 League of Non-Aligned Denominations Globeserve 3
21/10/2016 LONAD Bread Of Life Mission 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Full Stature Mission 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Restoration Church 2
21/10/2016 LONAD Community Churches 1
21/10/2016 LONAD Southern Baptists 3
Total 15 39

 

I must admit, by the time we got to the last few sessions, Uncle and I had quite an impressive repertoire worked out.  He presented the overview of the survey, what it contains and the types of statistics that they can get out of it.  Then I did a deep dive, showing them their individual church databases, the number of congregations they each had, and how to create Access queries for the very first time.  I took them right up to Grouping and Totalling.  From there, I showed them how to copy/paste into Excel and use Excel to pretty up the table, and finally to create a pie graph.  After that, I told them to expect a pay rise.  They laughed.

This was the exchange rate:

  • NZ$700 = US$500
  • US$100 = GHC$400
  • Therefore NZ$0.35 = GHC$1

In addition to meeting Peter in the office I also met, in Kumasi, Uncle Ross’s #1 Field worker.  His name is Martin Osei-Buabeng.  A mature gentleman, he’s been with uncle since the beginning and is a tireless worker.

Ghanaians are not shy of taking photos.  They were quite chuffed to be asked to be in our record of our little training programme.

Conclusion

This was a golden opportunity to use my secular skills to advance the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, so that all pre-conditions are fulfilled, so that Christ may return, and we may all go home.

How to make a great marriage

Toastmasters Speech – Competent Communicator Manual

Project 2 – Organize your speech

Delivered: 29 August

Select your topic

  • How to make a great marriage

Make an outline

  • Poor
  • Improving
  • Good
  • Great

Develop the opening

  • Dave Meurer — ‘A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.’
  • Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Draft the body

Who am I to talk on this topic?

  • Married 22 years
  • Been a participant or instructor on various marriage enrichment courses.
  • Knows what works (and what doesn’t). More about that later.

Where-ever you are on the spectrum of marriages, there is hope that you can move up the scale. Even if it’s great, you can still “sharpen the saw”.

Imagine a spectrum, from poor to great. (Use hands)

(I won’t do a “Patrick Jane” and attempt to Mentalise you by observing where your eyes are looking right now.)

I have grouped the various courses of which I have either been a participant or instructor, into three Toolboxes for improving your marriage:

  • Fundamentals
    1. Relating Between the Sexes (Pre-Marriage)
      Dean Sherman from YWAM taught me that I need to be a whole person first, before I inflict myself upon another. Don’t bring my baggage into the marriage, and deal with it first.
    2. The Marriage Course (Alpha)
      The Marriage Course taught me to treat my wife as equal but different. The 5 Love Languages, for instance was great at explaining why sometimes it would appear that we were “talking past each other.”

      • Conflict Resolution
      •  The 5 Love Languages
    3.  Get a Hobby!
      No one person could or should fulfil your every desire. It’s unhealthy. Better to have some friends for a “time-out” occasionally. For instance, my wife can go with her friends to see Chick Flicks, so I don’t have to!
  • Parenting
    1. Growing Kids God’s Way
      A controversial series, which believes in discipline, but taught me the inverse triangle of responsibility.
    2. The Parenting Toolbox series
      Ian and Mary Grant are just great.1.Toolbox for Toddlers

      2.Pre-schoolers

      3.Primary age

      4.Teenage

    3. Preparing for Adolescence
      Necessary because you want your children to be strong-minded, independent & confident but also respectful, caring and engaged. Doctor Dobson’s 20 week course is fantastic.
  • Advanced
    1. Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life.
      When your Yes means Yes and your No means No, then you can really say no to the good, in order to concentrate on the best. Learning to prioritise.
    2. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
      We were created equal, but different. Find out how to harness a man’s innate desire to lead and be respected into positive areas of growth.1.Let’s face it: the greatest hindrance to a great marriage is a passive husband.

      2.Women want a man who will take appropriate initiative.

    3. The Bible: Beginner’s Instructions Before Leaving Earth
      Read the Instruction Manual from the Manufacturer.

The Conclusion

When I married my wife, she was a Quality Manager for a large computer company. Her mantra was “process of continual improvement.” This means, you can always improve. In our marriage, this has translated into attending a course together every year. Whether it’s marriage, or parenting or simply further our education, it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow closer together. Because the world pulls you apart. Whether it’s work or kids or friends or other interests (although there’s nothing wrong with pursuing your personal hobbies), there’s always something pulling us in different directions. That’s why it’s vitally important to be intentional to spend time together enjoying each other’s company. Because eventually, the kids will leave, work will cease, but you’ll (hopefully) still be together. By building foundations early, you won’t be caught in the trap of looking at each other in 20 years’ time and realising you’ve marriage a stranger.

Vision Sunday

Sunday 30 November

  • Vision Sunday
  • Past, Present & Future
Title Name
Senior Pastor Alistair (Arnie) Hall
Pastor Garey Clark
Children’s Pastor Jamie Acraman
Worship Team Caleb Stickland
Youth Pastor Marty Barrett
Men’s Ministry Carl Graham & James Hippolite
Sound Desk Tane Hippolite
Lights Hamish Hippolite
Alpha Keith Thompson
Baptist Missionary Fellowship Margaret Street
Bible In Schools Murray & Pam Storey
Building Hireage David Jackson
Come Walking Jill Hall
Finances Raymond
Church Historian Doug Snook
Lifecare Counselling Kathy Symons
Events Team Colleen & Ricardo
Filipino Group Mel Garcia / Rey Gumtang
Flavor Café Anne Edwards
Forty Plus Rob & Diane Stone
Girls Brigade Sarah Woods
Indian Outreach Jack Chandra & Manohar David
Indoor Bowls Margaret Rowe
Kids Clothing Exchange Karen Page & Susan Blackett
Ladies Bible Study Marian McIntosh
Ladies Fellowship Heather Hughes
Library Joy Austin
Children’s & Family Ministries Denise
Manukau City Baptist Global Missions Barb Perry
Marriage Course Kathy & Dave, Kev & Joy
Morning Tea Ministry Jenny Prakash
Pasifika in Christ Akaata & Anna Haurua
Prayer Chain Pamela Cammell
Prayer Ministry Ross & Iris Abernethy
Sound Gregory McKinnell
Unicycle Club & Prayer Groups Bryan Page
Her Ministry Aly, Sara, Bex, Alixx & Gail
Te Roopu Awhina Steve Mihaere

I got thanked for my part in organising, praying for & presenting Authentic Manhood, men’s course.

Actual Discourse

For Against
It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many Christianity is too narrow a focus for our pluralistic society.
There is a spiritual hunger, not satisfied in any other way. Conflict with use of time/resources.   Spark shouldn’t be in this business.
Act as conscience (of the company) Harden up
Useful for therapy (improve employee life) We’ve already got HR & EAP
Better to have an opinion and move on, then to wallow in unbelief & inaction. Couldn’t we just exclude the Christianity aspect?
Another method of communication and community within the company.
Aligned, on the same page
Values-based directional counselling has great value.
Good exposure to alternative view increases tolerance. Bad experiences decreases tolerance.

What Would Chaplaincy Offer?

  • Basic Life Principles
    • Boundaries
    • Marriage Course
  • Personal, private confessional (active listening)
  • Directive counselling (talking)
  • Social community
  • Potential measurement: Brand value

Thoughts outlining how I think my session will go

Introduction

  • When I previously introduced myself as “Chaplain,” that was an aspirational role.
  • I am a trained student of the Bible.

Does Spark Need a Chaplaincy?

For Against
(Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s an alternative point of view from naturalistic materialism, which brings comfort to many. (Assuming Chaplaincy implies Christianity) It’s too narrow a focus for a pluralistic society.
Other religions are tolerant of Christian services in an (admittedly post-) Christian society. Only atheists appear intolerant of Christianity in any form. In which case, just stay away! It’s all mumbo-jumbo and I don’t want any resources diverted into such an unscientific endeavour.
I see case after case of spiritual hunger in the workplace that is being unfulfilled. I want to help. Those people can go elsewhere.   Spark shouldn’t be in the business of fulfilling spiritual hunger.
There are some basic life principles that people are not being taught, which will improve their lives (and make their work life more tolerable). Harden up? Such as what?
The Boundaries Course has helped me.
The Marriage Course has helped me.
The Alpha Course has helped me.