Notes in the key of E, part II: Um, which one is “E” anyway?

E stands for Engagement, which is the second progression champions pass through on the way to full maturity in the cause.

The first step, Participation (P), should be thought of as paving the way for Engagement. The third step, Ownership (O), should be thought of as flowing naturally from it. In other words, Engagement is the sine qua non of Transformational Giving.

Champions are recruited into a cause through Participation (P) in a cause-related project. Good Signature Participation Projects are:

  • short-term
  • high touch
  • high yield
  • understandable without external reference
  • synecdochic

That last piece is really the key: Like Russian nesting dolls, every good Participation activity must have a little E inside it.

Engagement is different from Participation by kind, not degree. That is, Participation, Engagement, and Ownership should never be thought of as lukewarm, heating up, and on fire for the cause.

Or, stated differently:

P + P + P + P ≠ E

Engagement is the phase of transformation wherein a champion comes to grasp the cause in all its fullness, making an explicit commitment, often at the invitation of a coach, to grow comprehensively in the likeness of Christ in relation to the cause, as guided by the scriptures under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Whereas at the Participation level the focus is the project, at the Engagement level the focus is the champion. The champion isn’t just doing stuff. The champion is being changed–maturing into the image of Christ:

  • The Bible defines what comprehensive maturity in Christ in relation to the cause looks like;
  • The Holy Spirit empowers the process;
  • The coach assists the champion in the ongoing discernment of both of the above.

I used to say that whereas Participation was about project, Engagement was about lifestyle. That’s true, but incomplete. Engagement is really about self-identity. It’s about learning to reflect the fullness of Christ in relation to the cause. At the P level, the nonprofit/coach gives me meaningful stuff to do. At the E level, the nonprofit/coach holds up the image of Christ and invites me to let the Holy Spirit mirror it through me.

Big difference.

And a person doesn’t fall into Engagement. When you cross that threshhold, it’s because you’re choosing to do so, almost always in a moment of great resolution and transformation (and, not infrequently, travail).

In fact, the P to E move looks exactly like this:

1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a]with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down[b] the nets for a catch.”
5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

An interesting thing happens when we cross over from P to E:

Learning more about the cause, we wonder whether we set the cause back by doing P in the first place.

More on this in our next post.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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3 Responses to Notes in the key of E, part II: Um, which one is “E” anyway?

  1. Pingback: More than a feeling, part III: When you go to E, take your kids with you « Transformational Giving

  2. Pingback: What the world’s funniest joke has to do with your practice of TG « Transformational Giving

  3. Pingback: Coach Your Champions Corporately, Part II: Individually Mature Donors and Disciples are “Unimaginable” | Transformational Giving

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