Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Working From Home: Adjustment

As I walked down the hallway to the kitchen this morning, I looked down at my bare feet. “When I am in full-time ministry,” I thought, “I wonder how often I’ll wear shoes?”

It’s a strange question. Dale Berning Sawa of The Guardian said in, Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy ,

“That often means getting the small things right, such as having a clearly defined workspace and a routine. Wahle starts work only once she has showered, got dressed and put her shoes on (curiously, she’s not the only remote worker who mentions the need for shoes). As she puts it: “How can you do planning applications, and still be in your pyjamas? It just doesn’t feel right.” (Emphasis mine)

Today was my day off from a 40-hour a week job. I wore jeans, a hoody, and still have yet to comb my hair. Short hair has an advantage. I can put a hat on. I live in the country where people put on their pajamas at 5 pm in the afternoon, door-to-door is taboo, and dressing up your jeans is considered semi-formal. But, walking barefoot reminded me that I need to be thinking of making adjustments to the days or hours I spend volunteering with WorldVenture (which is why Trello’s article on working from home is timely).

Trello wrote 7 Weird Ways to Stay Balanced When Working From Home. In this article, they outlined how to be a more productive person when working from home. I took this article and outlined what my work week might look like from this vantage point when I am in full-time ministry, starting now as a volunteer:

  • Get ready for work as if I was going to commute to an office. I don’t wear make-up these days unless I am speaking in front of a group or visiting a church. Mascara and eyeliner irritate my eyes. Lipstick wears off in ten minutes. Foundation doesn’t really cover up blemishes. Blush makes you look sunburned if done wrong. When I get ready for work, I plan on looking like I’m going to an office off-site. Video conferencing is a normal part of my activities so looking professional will still be important.
  • My hours won’t change in the mornings than what it is now. My morning routine will include coffee, prayer, reading the Bible, and casual and fun reading to relax the brain so it can work all day on creative projects. Writing will be included in my morning activities, maybe even by hand.
  • Going out in public. With no commute in my schedule, I can use that time to take a run or walk, but also I have arranged that I would take my office to a local coffee shop to spend a few hours working at least once per week. The only thing I can’t do remotely is video edit as that is on my desktop.
  • “Place things that need attention out of reach.” I once joked with Tony how I would love a coffee maker in my home office. I could work and refill my coffee without leaving my chair. Trello suggests we need to place these things out of reach. “Taking breaks is a key part of productivity, but it’s too easy to skip them when you’re alone. To avoid permanently bonding to your home office chair, try building regular “required” breaks into your environment.” Trello suggests leaving the phone in the other room so you have to get up every so often to answer it. Or, keeping snacks and drinks (like coffee) out of reach. At work, I would have to rise to refill my coffee. At home, I plan on doing the same thing.
  • Noise in the background makes you feel less lonely. I plan on building a good playlist of music, visit Lynda.com more often to refill the creativity, or have something playing in the background that brings noise and conversation into my quiet space.
  • Most importantly, Trello says, “Work like no one is watching.” Working from home means being diligent in making sure your work is no less than great, you must document you are working, and keep your shared calendar up to date so people are left with no doubt that you are working. Set goals each week to accomplish. You can also sing out loud in the office while you work and no one will hear you.

Yes, I will be wearing shoes when I am in full-time ministry. In the past, when I have worked on projects on the weekends after a full week of work elsewhere, I was more productive sitting in my office, fully dressed, hair combed, and spirit ready to face whatever may come of my day. But, today it’s okay to remain barefoot with hair like Einstein’s, uncombed.

Roots Met Again!

Authors are burning out. Rewrites, marketing, and heavy expectation often do that. It makes you wonder how we get from a place where writing is an art and fun to a chore?

This is what we discussed at Roots Saturday. I wanted a group that doesn’t replace a writers normal fee-based group, but gives support, prayer, and accountability to writers so they recall why they started writing. We wanted a group that would remind writers of all genres why God gifted them with writing and to never let the journey eclipse their purpose.

Many thanks to Third Shot Coffee at Prescott Gateway Mall for allowing us to meet once a month. To learn more, click here.

How to Wait on God

Around this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days grow shorter and colder, those changes trigger a hormone in leaf-dropping trees that sends a chemical message to every leaf that says, in essence, “Time to go! Let’s part company!” – From here.

Like abscission cells that act like scissors to leaves on a deciduous tree, creating a hormone that pushes away the leaf from the tree little by little, I, too, am pushing away things in my life that get in the way of learning what God is wanting to do in and to my life. Why did it take me becoming a worker with WorldVenture for me to see God more clearly? Why doesn’t every Christian put themselves through journeys like this to push away things we cling to (no matter what our age) and grow better?

Fall is a symbol of change. Recently, I just finished reading “Peace Child” by Don Richardson. On page 273, he writes, “One of the beliefs which the Sawi had inherited from the distant past was the belief that it was unwise to attempt anything their ancestors had not previously sanctioned.” Change was difficult for the Sawi people even after they became a Christian, but their response to building a bigger meeting house was, “If we think only of ourselves, we can, of course, make do with a smaller building…” In deciding to build it, they said, “It will be a house of peace in which former enemies can sit down together at the Lord’s table, and a house of prayer for the tribes around us who are still without God’s Word.” (emphasis mine)

I’m also reading a new book recommended by both my husband and Wayne at GBC by Andy Stanley called, “Visioneering: Your Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Personal Vision.” It’s like it was written for me. Visioneering goes into the story of Nehemiah and the wall.

On page 22, it says, “So what did he (Nehemiah) do? Nothing. He did absolutely nothing. He didn’t steal away across the desert in the night. He didn’t fabricate a reason to leave Persia. He didn’t even share his burden with other concerned Jews. But neither did he allow his daily responsibilities to distract him from the burden that had gripped his heart. No, Nehemiah knew what so many of us have a hard time remembering: What could be and should be can’t be until God is ready for it to be. So he waited.” (emphasis mine)

This is a rich period of waiting and learning. The vision still needed work in 2015 when I was appointed by WorldVenture, and when I received my new job description from WorldVenture, I knew THIS was where God wanted me in the first place. Like the tree that sheds its leaves, I had to push away a beloved ministry I managed since 2012 and close another ministry to accept this one so I can take another obedient step in God’s direction just to wait again. The theme of waiting is familiar now since my appointment. Social Media is too new of a field for people to recognize it. People naturally fight change and cling to comfort and sameness. But if a tree doesn’t shed its leaves, ” …they wouldn’t grow new ones.” Growth comes from waiting, shedding, and growing.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. – John 15:1-2

How to Listen in Conflict

 

Remember playing tug-of-war? Two teams tugging at each end to get the other team to cross the line in the middle? That’s how I felt this week. I felt like the rope. How do you practice discernment when you feel like the rope?

  1. Pray.
  2. Listen first to each side, carefully weighing and sifting through the facts. Put aside your emotions.
  3. Be careful of opinions. They may be the wrong ones.
  4. Be kind and compassionate.
  5. You don’t have to take sides, and when you do have to make a decision, go back to number 2.

Romans 12:18-19 comes to mind,

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

This week I learned how to be a peacemaker. I learned to listen better. These lessons I write on my heart and it will take me into ministry when I am fully funded. God is using this season in my life to teach me things I’ll need when serving in ministry.

To become a monthly financial partner (it’s tax deductible), go here. Create a partner account and choose my name as the person you’d like to support. I would love to have you on my team. 

How to Schedule Me as a Speaker

The rest of the year looks clear if you need a speaker. I am open to come anywhere in the United States from Saturday to Sunday to meet your church and share the vision of how God wants me to serve with WorldVenture. This visit won’t cost you anything. However, I do ask for the following:

  • A table to put out my material, including giving material. I am support-based which means I am also raising support to fund this vision. Currently, I am working a day job until I have raised the funds. The trip to have me speak would cost you nothing.

I usually encourage a congregation to utilize social media to support missions and their church and incorporate the vision of your church into my vision so the whole picture is presented. If you have any questions, please email me: nikolehahn (at) thehahnhuntinglodge.com.

Roots Writers and Social Media Group

We have our new website up and running. This writers group has no fees. It is set up as a small group to encourage the writer to become the best Christian leader he or she could become, honing their writing skills to learn how to use the power of ideas to make disciples, not just readers and fans.  Go to this website to view and learn about us: www.rootswriters.cafe.

What is Coordinating?

Managing or coordinating someone else’s brand on social media is time-consuming, especially when your intention with its social media is ultimately digital discipleship. Recently, I posted a comic by Calvin and Hobbes. It went like this:

Hobbes: “Do you have an idea for your project yet?” 

Calvin: “No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.” 

Hobbes: “What mood is that?” 

Calvin: “Last minute panic.” 

Interpretation is up to the reader.

For me, it verbalized what coordinating social media is like when your posts are dependent upon content from people all over the world. My goal is to post twice a day each week. This requires being on social media to scavenge for stories that reflect the WorldVenture story and appeals to the reader. Social media is a tool in the belt of any worker for discipleship, influence, mentoring, etc. My efforts follow daily prayer.

This week, I focused on Venezuela. Because it has been in the news, getting our workers’ stories in front of it means the story has the potential to trend without paying for advertising dollars. Case in point: When a church posted the word Starbucks on their social media, their organic reach was higher than just talking about coffee. WorldVenture is a non-profit. If we can save ad dollars by sharing our workers’ stories around trending topics online, we can help our country and our world understand missions, be more attune to more biased news stories, and grow a compassionate heart. Because WorldVenture is a non-profit, I am considered a supported staffer.

A supported staffer is the same as a worker who must raise the monthly support to do the work needed for a nonprofit like WorldVenture. We aren’t going anywhere outside the country unless for specific assignments, and our work is now, rather than later. This means I am both appointee and worker; unfunded and still serving in some capacity in the job description while working a full-time day job.

I am also a pioneer that believes digital discipleship is the way to go and train nonprofits and churches in Christian ministry to utilize their volunteers and congregations to serve online rather than do what they’ve done historically–leave it to the pastors and missionaries to do the outreach and the 20% who do 80% of the work in church. In serving with WorldVenture, I am also revamping their social media usage little by little to use it as digital discipleship among other things.

“Last minute panic” is a constant state for me. Maybe it’s not really panic as it is a tension to work with the varied schedules across the globe, sensitive areas, and coordinating blogs, social media, and digital discipleship on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, after my overnight trip to Indiana, I have time freed up to focus again. If you would like to have me fly out or video conference in to talk about what I do, please email me: nikolehahn (at) thehahnhuntinglodge.com. Help me get exposure or even consider support. Help me mobilize the churches to serve online. Go here to learn more: www.worldventure.com/nhahn or here to give monthly www.worldventure.com/give.

About Detours

 

Detours are inconvenient, but always adventurous. Traveling down I-65 towards Frankfort, Indiana, construction detoured me down highway 39. Farms and old homes lined the highway. Cornfields stretched for miles, the pattern broken only by barns and silos or clumps of trees. Some homes leaned a little and others were totally collapsed behind a row of corn. I was on my way to Antioch Church in Frankfort, Indiana to stay at someone’s home so I could speak at their church the next day and meet a community of believers.

My hosts were wonderful! They live in a firecracker warehouse. As a camper, hiker, and backpacker, I embrace adventure in all its forms. The more interesting the place, the more interesting the stories. I’ve slept in a church on the Navajo Reservation and heard the snap of a mouse trap in the middle of the night. Sleeping in a firecracker warehouse made me grin, and the generosity of my hosts warmed my heart.

Their home inside the warehouse was comfortable. Every effort to make me feel welcome was in the details even down to the hotel-sized shampoos and soaps. Wherever God brings me, I try to find the joy in the journey. Like when I drove to church in the morning, the fields looked different. Mist lay low over the cornfields. The light was different.

When you talk about social media to a country church like Antioch, you examine their website and Facebook presence. Antioch encourages a daily prayer routine. In my 11-minutes, I encouraged each one to think about how to use social media to encourage a daily prayer routine. Handouts were given to remind them of ways they can serve the globe and their community online. Their closest city is Indianapolis.

Indianapolis is 50% Hispanic and has one of the largest Burmese Refugee populations according to this website. We talked about where to find them on Facebook. More importantly, we talked about how the church will be where mission movements will happen thanks to technology. Small churches like Antioch can use social media to reach the unreached.

On my way back to Indianapolis International Airport, I took highway 39 again to I-65 and paused on this detour to snap a picture of a bridge over Sugar Creek. My role is a bridge, connecting people with technology and ministries that can help them realize the possibilities in missions. All media movements begin with prayer.

3 Ways to Cope with Online Negativity #Christian

As we walked the lakeside path, she said, “Maybe I’ll get off of Facebook after all this is over.”

This comment followed my own on the political climate online.

“Don’t get off Facebook.” And I shared some ideas of how to shine a light as a Christian. We can provide better ways for discussion, like not name-calling, making issues black and white without considering someone’s background or story, and doing our own research online, looking at both sides and verifying facts from opinions. Nonetheless, the negativity is a problem online. Here are three ways to cope with it all:

  • Take breaks from it. Balance your online time and your face-to-face time. Take walks. Get coffee with friends.
  • What is your friends’ or followers’ stumbling blocks? Posting something that may end up cutting off communication is not productive. How important is that topic? Can it be re-worded? At WorldVenture, we encourage online discipleship. Will that topic impede this goal? Coping with the negativity means not taking part in it. With a nation divided, we must think like missionaries online.
  • Don’t neglect prayer and your morning Bible readings. No online discipleship effort can be done without serious prayer. Keep up on understanding who God is by reading His Bible.  His Word in our hearts will keep us strong through any Facebook or social media storm.

Boundaries and Balance

Our work schedules aren’t easy. My husband is also a light sleeper. A Facebook conversation captured my attention at a time of night when we were brushing our teeth, turning off the lights, and about to head to bed. I paused in the kitchen, looking at my tablet, praying, struggling between balance and boundaries.

“Are you coming to bed?” He said after he poked his head around the corner.

“I can’t.” I gave a sigh after I said this.

It reminded me of something someone said about children. You don’t choose the quality time; they do. Time zones or life events can mean instant chat, video conferencing, or an email. I try to keep some kind of normalcy during this transition time with my husband, like getting dinner ready by 6:30 pm when he gets home after a 12-hour day or stopping work by 5 or 5:30 pm so we can have some together time before bed. But sometimes, like that night, some conversations can’t be re-scheduled.

Serving in this field means establishing good time-management, balance, and making sure two factors aren’t neglected–God and my husband. Serving in this transition period means raising support on top of a full-time job, active ministry, and being a wife.

Thankfully, a current financial supporter has upped their support and I am now at 35% support. I have a long ways to go before I reach 100% support, but I celebrate each percentage because that means I am closer to reaching my calling.

To become a monthly, quarterly, or annual financial partner, click here. Or click here to learn more.