Monday, May 17, 2010

Transparency in Transition

This is one of those world-colliding, mega-shifting, paradigm-questioning posts that overlays all the different strands of our lives and turns them upside down. It is not so dramatic because of the content but because of the implications that we would like to challenge you to consider just as we are doing the same.

What happens when something challenging and life-changing comes up in your life? What do you tend to do? Most people that we have known tend to hide the challenge.

And they use the following logic in doing so:
1. If people see my life in turmoil they will think there is something wrong with me.
2. If I act confidently then new opportunities will present themselves.
3. What people don’t know won’t hurt them.
4. Besides, I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems.
5. If I share, then when I see “so and so” next it will be awkward.

So as people slog through this recession, many choose to go it alone using one or more of the points I shared above. But if you decide to use this approach, you are missing out!

But before I share why, let me explain why we are writing about this today. As many of you know, Mindy and I have been on a journey. Last year, just as our second book was released (Through the River), we transitioned out of a job that we really enjoyed as Executive Director of Strategic Communication for HCJB Global and went to a fundraising start up. We made this move out of a deep conviction to work together as a team and to learn a discipleship-driven donor development model. However, 8 months into that learning process, the group we joined went through a merger process and several transitions that resulted in the elimination of our job. So here we are, jobless but convinced that God wanted us to make the move and unsure of what He has next in our journey.

It is with that context that we now want to share three reasons why hiding a transition and going it alone are exactly the wrong thing to do:

1. Authenticity: In today’s world where people are surrounded by gimmicks and half-truths, they are searching for authentic voices who speak from their hearts and engage people with truth. But the truth they are looking for is a truth based on humble learning. That is what we learned as we wrote our book: Through the river: Understanding your Assumptions about Truth.

2. Generosity: In our idea economy, you get influence by sharing ideas and then putting those ideas into action in creative and intentional ways. Your transition will birth in you many ideas that need shared and discussed. In fact, as you go through a transition, you will need others to process with and to understand what happened. Your generosity in transition will likely lead to your next opportunity.

3. Innovation: Unless you engage others with what you have been through and the ideas you are developing as a result, there will be little chance for innovation to arise. If you live transparently through your transition, you will have opportunities to share ideas, hone them and possibly apply them in ways you never imagined. It could be that God has allowed you to be in transition so that a new idea can be birthed for His glory. If you spend time on our Innovation in Mission blog, you will notice that disequilibrium is a powerful force for innovation.

We do have one caveat in all of this: transparency, authenticity, generosity and innovation don’t ensure that you won’t get beat up, abused, ignored or drug through a long transition process. In fact, you may have to endure many things you did not expect if you choose this route. However, we can guarantee that you will come out the other end a stronger and more trusted voice for the causes you love. You will certainly be positioned to be a better Kingdom servant than if you deflected and hid during your transition.

So over the next months as we go through this transition, we are committed to being authentic, generous and innovative in our efforts to find out what God has next. And if you have any inputs for us in that journey or any ideas we should consider, we want to hear from you at jonhirst(at)

Our prayer is that this transition in our ministry life will end up inspiring and blessing countless others as we faithfully live out our faith in community.


Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

To the two people who just posted a note to us, we accidentally deleted them when we tried to approve the comments. Our apologies!

Ty Stakes said...

Hey guys...sorry to hear the news, but grateful for your approach to the situation. It's much broader than just this situation, though, isn't it? As we have often discussed (when you had that wonderful position at HCJB Global...), authenticity and transparency are the stuff of every day life. Their application may indeed guarantee your suffering, but it worked for Jesus, so why should we expect anything different?! Keep moving ahead with "nothing to lose, nothing to prove and nothing to hide."


Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Thanks for your words Ty! Your friendship means alot.

Ellen Rasmussen said...

Jon and Mindy, you are totally going to make it! This situation is just full of opportunity for you! I can't begin to tell you all the ways our Father has been faithful to take care of us during our time out of the workforce. We have everything we need and then some. In fact, we have more than we started with. We are more certain than ever that God is all we need. He is our provision, our strength and our life. We could only learn all that we have learned through our experiences sine 2008. I am excited to see how He reveals himself to both of you as you walk with Him.

Also, just this morning I was thinking of you guys and wondering how you were doing. I assumed the Holy Spirit wanted me to pray for you and so I did. We will continue praying. I love you guys!


Paul Nethercott said...

Thanks for your post. I was sorry to hear of your loss -- that kind of unexpected major change can be so very challenging to deal with.

I am glad you are posting about it as challenges like this so common and we ALL have a lot to learn about dealing with them.

Warmly, Paul

Nancy said...

My prayers are with you

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Ellen, thank you for your encouraging words. I know that you guys have been through alot and that God has provided in some amazing ways. Following in your steps, we pray for the same provision in God's timing. We know that God may have much to teach us before He gives us certainty in the next steps, but we see that as a process that will only make us more like Him!

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Paul, thanks for your note. Yes, these challenges are all around us for countless people. In the spirit of our passion for being Generous Minds, the only thing we could do was share what God is doing openly and help people in similar situations think through the issues.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Thank you Nancy for your prayers!

David Armstrong said...

It is worth the pain of the process. Sharing is not what most do, but you, and others will benefit greatly from the transparency.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Thanks for the encouragement David! You are right!

Lucy J said...

Totally empathise with you on this! It's the narrow way, but it's the best way because it's Jesus' Way!

Gerard Adriaanse said...

Jon & Mindy, sorry to hear you're going through a transition again. We'll be praying for you guys. God will find you a good place to serve him for sure!

All the best,

Gerard & Rebeca.

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...


Thank you for your kind note and prayers. Please pray that God will give us discernment as we listen to Him and courage as we obey.