Monthly Archives: February 2015

Crucial Conversations

tenseI have always been fascinated with communication.  I suppose the intrigue began at an early age when I realized that some people were really good at it, and others were just plain terrible.  As I matured, I began noticing more and more that those who were good at communication were able to harness the sleeping dragon that many of us fall slave to in the heat of the moment: Emotion.  I mean, who hasn’t said something stupid and paid the price for healthy resolution when in a conversation where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong?  Guilty.

I’m always wanting to grow in my communication skills (even after an undergraduate degree in Communications).  Lately, I’ve been reading a book called Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.  In it, the authors lay out three ways that all crucial conversations can be approached:

  • We can avoid them.
  • We can face them and handle them poorly.
  • We can face them and handle them well.

So simple, yet the tools to handle them well escape many good-intentioned individuals due to an unwillingness to step back from the real heart of most issues.  Why are hard conversations so hard?  Ultimately, because those on the receiving end process feedback through the lens of the world and not the lens of the Gospel.  What someone hears is – “You’ve made a mistake!”…”You’re not good enough!”…”You’re not perfect!”

Is this what the Gospel tells us about crucial conversations?  Matthew 18:15-19 certainly gives us the best way to approach tough conversations, but even apart from structure, how we hear feedback and how we react when we may disagree is a heart condition that is much more about you personally than it is the other person.

So how do you handle crucial conversations?  Do you react emotionally?  Do you gear up to defend?  Are you prepared to tackle a lion?  Or do you work hard to step out of the emotion and see the heart?  Every disagreement comes with baggage.  Every story has a past, a perceived present, and an unwritten future.  Leaders see that and challenge themselves to find the mutual purpose in the disagreement, and bring others along with them toward healing and resolution.

Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

In Service,

Mike Allen
Lead Administrator
5th-8th Grade Principal
Evansville Christian School

Test Time

In a few weeks we will begin the season of tests here at ECS.  In March, April and May there will be ISTEP Applied Skills Testing, IRead, ISTEP Multiple Choice and Terra Nova testing.  All of these are important tools to help us evaluate how we are doing as a school and how students are doing in their academic growth.  Without tests, it is difficult to measure if we are reaching our goals and if progress is being made.

Test picture for blog

Even though these are important tests, there is a much more important test.  In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us that we should test ourselves:  “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?”  How do we test ourselves to see if we are in the faith?  What does that mean?

One of my favorite YouTube videos of all time is an excerpt from a John Piper message that addresses this question.  In this clip, Piper says that we need to understand the “affectional nature of Christianity” to test if we are in the faith:

“Catch on to the affectional nature of Christianity…it is not merely a decision to believe a fact.  It is a heart treasuring Christ and His glory more than football, money, power, play, toys…Test yourself, 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, test yourself to see if you are in the faith.  One of the tests is, do you love football more than you love Jesus?  Do you love golf more than you love Christ?  What does your heart say about Christ?”

Those are some great test questions.  For each of us the questions may be different – shopping, money, popularity, entertainment, convenience, control – do we love any of these things more than we love Jesus?  Do we cherish Jesus more than anything else?  Do we pass the test?

In His grip,

Scott Winslow

Chief Operating Officer

No Doubt About It – God Is Good!

This past week, I’ve spent some time meditating on Psalm 73. The ECS faculty meets before school three times a week to study scripture and to discuss academic topics . During a recent faculty morning devotion meeting, a teacher shared and quoted from this chapter as we were discussing how to live out what we are studying as a group. After reading this chapter in the New International Version, I investigated some other versions.

The Message version begins the chapter this way in verses 1-3, “No doubt about it! God is good – good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I almost missed it, missed seeing His goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to people.”

That hit me right between the eyes! How many times do I make people, ideas, or events my “standard” instead of going to the One who knows me, who lovingly created me, and who sees me yet still loves me? My Biblical worldview begins with verse 17 (The Message), “I entered the sanctuary of God, then I saw the whole picture”.

At ECS, we value “the whole picture” in our mission: Provide an exemplary learning environment to educate and equip students with a Biblical worldview who confidently engage the culture and impact the world for Christ.

Through our curriculum decisions, professional development training of faculty and staff, and commitment to partnership with parents, ECS strives to engage students with the truth of God’s Word to experience for themselves that there is no doubt about it – God is good!