In 2022, our team initiated a field test of the “listening project” to sit down with national LDHR leaders/members from different countries and listen as they shared their strengths and needs and how we might serve them better. It was so helpful and well-received that we have decided to make it a regular part of our ministry rhythm every July/August.
This year we had the privilege of interacting with 16 LDHR leaders (or former leaders) from 13 different countries/regions (Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, EA 1, EA 2, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Pakistan, Jordan, and Turkey) for Listening Project appointments. We enjoyed connecting with leaders around the world and listening about things that are going well, things that are not going well and how we can come alongside to assist them. Following is a summary of what we heard:
Key areas going well:
By far the biggest area that is going well, with 11 responses, is related to the training/equipping they are providing (the specific areas of training mentioned most were team leader training/BPMT, career path planning training, and leadership development). Other things going well are Processes with 6 responses (including processes being digitized, recruitment/interview processes, and policies), Care emphasis with 6 responses, New Staff Training with 5 responses, Spiritual formation focus with 4 responses, Good strategic partnerships (between MCCs, with churches) with 3 responses, and good involvement in field ministry with 2 responses.
Key areas not going well:
The most common area that is not going well is that their LDHR Team lacks manpower capacity (hard to recruit for LDHR, high turnover, part-time focus, and the leader feels overwhelmed) with 9 responses. They also feel a need for better development (senior staff, younger staff after NST, Team) with 6 responses, a need more/better recruitment (few contacts, high turnover) with 6 responses, MPD challenges with 3 responses, challenging government or society restrictions with 3 responses, the new generation of staff lacking long-term commitment with 2 responses, and the pressing need for resolving conflicts/difficult conversations with 2 responses.
Key areas global can assist them in:
Suggestions/requests included providing specialized trainings (coaches, BPMT facilitators, leadership, Crisis management, career path planning, etc.) with 6 responses, providing encouragement/mentoring/care (regular interaction, mentoring/coaching, help with accountability, etc.) with 4 responses, assist with staff development in areas they lack capacity (senior staff, younger staff) with 2 responses, continue producing/developing resources with 2 responses, and keep them updated on global happenings and practices in other countries with 2 responses.
A special thank you to all who participated in the Listening Project – we appreciate you! Overall, it was a very positive experience and those we interacted with shared that they felt cared for and valued.
Please add your comments below: What areas in this report resonate with you? What things would you add? What solutions have you tried for improving areas that are not going well?
Dennis Metcalf is married to Trinidad (Dang), and they have two adult children and three joy-giving grandchildren. He has served in LDHR at the area level (East Asia Area LDHR team leader) and the global level (Global HR team and now on the VP LDHR team) for over 20 years.