Cyber-Space Ministry – A Method For Present & Future

Validation is a crucial exercise. We do all sorts of things in life, yet it’s the things we do that find favour amongst others, especially others we richly respect, that compels us to continue to do the things we do.

I found reassurance in this fact recently when I read one of the most respected and time-honoured pastors in Perth give his blessing to those, like I, who minister in the ether. Those of us engaged in speaking about God using internet tools like blogs, Facebook and Twitter etc can safely look to our elders who’ve preceded us in this work.

And when I cast my mind over some of these local champions of faith I thought of three (amongst many) that have made such an impact on the immediate world around them. These are Pastors Margaret Court, Phil Baker and Graham Mabury. The latter-most is the person who’s effectively blessed the practice of cyber-discipleship and cyber-evangelism. (I’d call myself more passionate regarding the former than the latter.)

But, let us get it into context. This is why I love the Bible–the words never change (though our meaning for those words can change due to our growth with God).

Graham Mabury’s benedictory quote goes like this:

“God bless every one of you who is prayerfully, creatively, Holy Spirit powerfully being salt and light in cyber space. You are His witnesses in MySpace, Facebook and to the uttermost blog on the net. Go into all the [virtual] world and make disciples, and He will be with you to the end of the [technological] age”[1] –Technologically ‘enhanced’ paraphrase of Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.

This unreserved ‘blessing’ does not come without qualification. We who do this are to do so considerately, and with respect and fairness i.e. prayerfully. We who do this are to do it in a way that hopefully inspires and enlarges people’s lives and their visions of life i.e. do it creatively. We who do this are finally to do it in a way that is powered by the Holy Spirit, for we cannot be salt and light to the world without living a spiritually-congruent ‘called’ life.

Who knows what medium we’ll be using in 5-years, let alone twenty. Let us hope we can urge those ambassadors of God to also be prayerful, creative and led by the Spirit in the way they do ministry. Most importantly, however, because we are ‘in attendance,’ let us carry the present baton with distinction.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Graham Mabury, “On air with Graham Mabury” in The Advocate (June 2009 edition), p. 4. www.theadvocate.tv Graham Mabury presents his program on Perth’s 6PR (882AM) every weeknight from 8:00 pm to midnight. He has also been pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church for many years.

Negotiating For the Successful Entrepreneur – How Do You Do it and Still Get What You Want?

Going into a negotiation and desperately want to win the contract but still make a profit? Here are some pointers to a successful negotiation.

First of all congratulations of doing a pretty good job in getting so far – let’s see if we can improve that for you. I’ve done some pretty heavy negotiating myself so I know how difficult it can be sometimes. Firstly some golden rules:

1. Both parties should leave the negotiating table feeling that they have been successful and gained something from the proceedings.

2. It is not a contest but a process where mutual agreement is being striven for.

3. Leave egos, prejudice and fixed ideas behind. Bring only your willingness to listen and your manners into the room.

4. Ensure that you know what you can give away, what you can’t and what you must most definitely not give away.

5. Be respectful of the culture of the people that you are negotiating with – this means not just the company culture but the culture of the company – an Asian company negotiates quite differently from an European or an American!

If you remember the above the process is very simple:

1. Prepare yourself, know what you are negotiating about, know what you would like the end result to be and know what your bosses have authorized you to agree to and not agree to. Understand as much about your fellow negotiator as possible.

2. Bring in all the documents that you need to the negotiating table and have someone handy on the phone in case you need more.

3. Make the negotiating room comfortable and friendly and non intimidating with refreshments and regular comfort breaks possible.

4. If you are the receiver of money you start. Start low and leave plenty of space to move to a middle area that is comfortable to both parties.

5. If something is not possible at all – politely explain why. Sometimes it helps to refer to a high level boss who won’t let you – but do not give away the authority that you have to negotiate to completion.

6. The answer you are seeking is Win Win

One last piece of advice: Listen, Listen, Listen to what is being told to you and what is not being said. Sometimes silence will win you the deal.

Timeshares and Timeshare Presentations – Dare to Say No

Some owners have purchased multiple timeshares because they just don’t know how to say “No.” In fact, timeshare owners are more likely to purchase another timeshare than a non-buyer. It’s hard to even begin to comprehend how many timeshares a single couple might end up owning because of this apparent fear of the word “No.” So for the timeshare owner or non-owner alike, here is your best tip on how to say “No” at a timeshare presentation:

Request a copy of the timeshare contract for your lawyer.

If you ask for the timeshare contract for your lawyer to read and review, you’ll create an impasse. Timeshare sales people are trained to never let you remove any documentation from the presentation room. It might contradict what may have been said during your visit, and the length of many timeshare contracts is enough to scare off buyers. So more likely than not, you won’t get that copy you respectfully requested.

Regardless whether you get a copy or not, you’ll probably want to leave at this point. Yet the sales process has yet to go through the gauntlet of sales techniques used at these presentations. So be prepared for these timeshare sales people to stall or change the subject away from the requested documentation.

They may ask why you need it since there is a rescission period during which you can cancel your contract. You can respond by saying that you’d be more comfortable taking the contract to your lawyer, or that for large purchases at presentation-style sales meetings, you feel that its necessary to take precautions and get your lawyer involved before committing to a decision.

Don’t worry if you don’t really have a lawyer. If you feel guilty about fibbing to the timeshare sales people, just know that you probably know someone who knows a lawyer, or happens to be one and wouldn’t mind acting as your lawyer.

The beauty of this objection is that you aren’t really saying “No” to buying a timeshare, just that you want to take the time to investigate it properly. Sales people are trained to overcome “No” responses. They may even be able to overcome the “Take the documents out of the room” objection as well, but it’s definitely not as easy a task because it’s not heard as much as “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t take enough vacations.”

So keep this tip in mind the next time you find yourself at a timeshare presentation. Remember, if you REALLY want a buy a timeshare, purchasing a timeshare in the presentation room is the most expensive place to do it. Try your best to walk out of the room as soon as you can, but be prepared to stay a while. Even the most effective objection won’t get you through quickly.