Baltimore…Where to go from here?

A New Fork is Coming!!
A New Fork is Coming!!

Well, last week I promised to add Biblical principles for organizational development as our Wednesday blog theme. Who knew we would see a melt down in Baltimore? So I dedicate today’s blog to Baltimore.

I thank Peter Senge for the concept of “creative tension”. Let’s see what it has to do with Baltimore this week. Let me show you what  creative tension is.

Peter Senge's concept of "Creative Tension"
Peter Senge’s concept of “Creative Tension”

This is not my best artwork, but it is straight off my workshop  flip chart .  All healthy people and organizations maintain a forward creative tension.  They have a vision of their future and the hope, faith, and belief in their ability to be successful.  That pull has to be strong enough to overcome the backward pull from past experiences and memories that  cause them to fear their own failure or unworthiness that will keep them from their hopes and visions.

If the vision is weak, the frustration leads to anger that is at first paralyzing, so that no forward progress happens.  The feeling of being stuck or disempowered takes over.

If this continues the backward pull increases with increasing daily experience with failure. Eventually this anger erupts in many ways. For individuals it may erupt in bursts of uncharacteristic violence. In a community, if a lot of citizens experience this frustration continually, the community is a prime target for riots and being stirred to rioting by those who incite them for fun.

This is what we have seen in Baltimore in the last days. The large number of disenfranchised and fearful citizens, mostly youth, were incited to riot and the results were tragic for individuals, businesses, and the police and Mayor.

Today is calmer, thanks to the good people and grown-ups in the community with the courage to step up and do the right things. images-5images-9imagesThe big question is how solid is this calm? Is it really a new calm, or merely a respite before a new and possibly worse storm. Another good question is how many other communities are in a similar state of unstable calm and need to join Baltimore in  citizen-engaged continuous improvement action teamwork.  Such a situation requires immediate action to reestablish forward creative tension. It’s the only answer to the backward pull of destruction.

Many have commented in the last few days wondering why these people haven’t learned from past riots how destructive  this is to their community. Let’s first recognize that for 95% of the rioters it is not an analytical time, but a highly emotional time.  If the community does not create a continuous improvement momentum for it’s citizens, frustration will pull people backward again and riots will happen again.

So where to go from here?

There is nothing more powerful for healthy individuals, a companies, or a communities than a positive upliftting shared vision.  And “shared” means shared engagement and involvement that leads to a wide spread sense of ownership pulling people forward in their shared belief in their future success.  When this positive tipping point is achieved, constructive momentum takes on a life of it’s own.

The citizens have many grievances in Baltimore. This will pull the community backward again if those grievances don’t get a fair hearing and treatment in an overall continuous improvement process.

The first thing to do is to start a credible and trust worthy community-wide team building process including all strata  of citizens to work together to create the new vision. The team should have enough authority represented that they can believe that improvement actions will follow. It also needs to be led by someone who is in it for the long haul and not quit when things get tough, because they will.

Such a cross-functional team should include citizens of all ages and interests, business owners, government workers, police, educators, spiritual leaders. Resist the temptation to get all postive folks. This is a partner making process. It is an opportunity to enlist some of those who have felt the most disenfranchised!But all must be committed to participate as though they are on the same team.

The temporary vision is that everyone will roll up their sleeves together and work as partners to make the community continuously improve in ways that are most important to all. But the team, once formed will create the actually vision and signs of success from which  real actions will flow.   Then they begin planning, steering, and monitoring, and celebrating the success milestones as they are achieved.

The excitement and good will that will come from a credible process like this, will begin to reestablish the forward pull of creative tension to a future everyone owns and believes in.

Without vision, the people abandon restraint,
but those who obey the Law are happy. Proverbs 29:18

Next Wednesday – How to create a Team Vision.



What Turns ON Young People for GOOD?…#Baltimore or Anywhere!

I have been involved in youth ministry much of my adult life and I know they can be engaged to give their lives for GOOD and for GOD.

Teens in PrayerThese are all TEENS in prayer! They respond powerfully to the Love of Jesus & the Holy Spirit!

If we are to be relevant today, we must be talking about #Baltimore and the YOUTH REBELLION taking place there! I have listened nonstop to press conferences about all the police being called out to put down the riots they expect again tonight.  Not ONE public official considering an approach that might change that dynamic.

I have a vision of a YOUTH Fair of Christian Worship Teams covering the streets of #Baltimore to minister to the young people. I devoted the morning to tweeting for that ministry approach. I have seen lives transform miraculously when inspired by the Word of God. That was where Dr. Martin Luther King derived his power! But somehow, today, his message seems so yesterday to so many.

ButGod’s Word is not yesterday, it is relevant for #Baltimore and anywhere today. No I am not stupid enough to think that prayer alone will transform a community in chaos. But that community needs to come together, talk together, plan together, and forgive one another together, heal together. This is the only way they will involve everyone, even the youth, in planning for tomorrow. That is where God’s Word will get a community doing loving things together for each other.

The only bright spot last night was when a group of spiritual leaders marched the streets of #Baltimore singing gospel. Unfortunately, led by politicians, they seemed to be there more for the cameras than for solving problems. Things visibly calmed down as these leaders did their half hour march. But everything erupted as they left!

Christians dedicated to being disciples of Christ, need to go into these angry streets and stay there to minister to the people. Love them into  better versions of themselves.

Just when I was losing hope for #Baltimore, a bright light came shining through. Over a thousand citizens stepped up to begin cleaning up the mess and helping devastated business owners. Then came my new HERO, Pastor Donte Hickman. He is pastor of and was building the senior citizen housing center that was burned to the ground last night. Admitting that he was disheartened last night, he said he faces today with new resolve to help #Baltimore transform. HALLELUJAH! He also said he had called the leaders of his church to meet him and go to the streets to minister…”out of the view of the cameras’. YAY!!! May God bless this strong Christian leader and send more to support him!

These problems are spiritual problems that take spiritual solutions so that people will work together to identify and solve the pressing problems of poverty, joblessness, education barriers, and racial tensions. If church leaders will come out of their buildings to the real church, God’s people, and lead them, countries will be transformed.

If my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land. 2Chronicles14:7

Watch For a Fork in Our Road

A New Fork is Coming!!
A New Fork is Coming!! will continue to support our online ministry and bring you news of our Twitter Chats and the TGL family & friends. We will also continue to  post  topics on living the Christian life by applying Biblical truth to daily challenges.

But starting this Wednesday, I will begin drawing from my quality management consulting experience as well and posting practical lessons on “Leadership and Teamwork from the Heart of God”.

7.4_ProcessExcellenceBiblical principles are the foundation of true excellence in the workplace, as people work together to build legendary  teamwork!th-1Leading with the heart of God is what it takes to build this kind of dynamic excellence focused organization . Small or large organizations all need to do the same thing….engage the hearts of their people!


Watch for my practical tips for workplace excellence and handout downloads starting this Wednesday! 


Following the Manufacturer’s Warnings

God's Majestic Sky

Just read Psalm 19. WOW it’s beautiful. It is telling us that God’s laws, precepts, and decrees are beautiful and designed by a loving God to keep us safe and bless us. The Psalmist writes of the dependability, beauty, and warmth of the sky and sun as a metaphor for God’s creation of His laws.

As I got to the end of this Psalm, I heard on the background news that Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of 1st degree murder of his friend, Oden Lloyd. It struck me as such a stark reminder of the TRUTH of this Psalm.

Aaron Hernandez was a handsome young NFL $40mil/year star. He had all the blessings that anyone could imagine. But he decided he could leave the laws of God behind. The result is that he will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

We are always at risk when we step outside of God’s laws, yet people who keep them are often the target of scoffers. We’ve all heard how narrow minded and “square ” Christians are. We’ve heard we should loosen up and have more fun!

When a pilot gets into a plane there’s a manufacturer’s warning that says not to climb to steeply or fast or the aircraft will stall out and crash. The pilot, thinks,”Good to know!” He/she does not think, “Oh that boring ol’ manufacturer just wants to keep me from having fun! What a buzzkill!”

But when it comes to life, some people want to take the place of the manufacturer and be their own Gods, leaving the manufacturers warnings behind. Our prisons are not full because too many people follow the laws of God. Many only learn this hard lesson after they have tried to be their own God and make up their own rules. By that time, the may lose their freedom for life…just like Aaron Hernandez, and so many like him.

God has given us rules because He loves each and every one of us and wants to keep us safe. His words are the Manufacturer’s Warnings so our lives don’t stall out and crash.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14