What Is Your Buy-in?

What is your buy-in?

The idea that people willingly submit themselves to some ideal or authority figure or expert amazes me.

Sports are a great example of this. The people with the talent listen to the people with ideas in order to make both successful. At any point, if the talent decides they no longer wish to follow the ideas, the team is headed for disaster.

It is the same in the workplace. The people who bear the burden of the heavy lifting, so to speak, listen to the people sitting in board rooms making decisions. At any point, the workers can decide they no longer wish to follow the guidelines established around a conference table. When that happens, the employer begins looking for new people to do the heavy lifting.

It is the same in the classroom. The students do the work laid out for them by the teacher in order to attain more knowledge of a given subject. If the student decides the teacher is not worthy of respect (or the student has the incapacity to give respect) education ceases and tension increases.

At FaithWorks of Abilene, I present a well laid-out career counseling curriculum to a group of adults who are seeking skills and confidence necessary for employment. The curriculum is good. The other material we present (7 Habits, Conflict Resolution, Gospel of Matthew, group counseling, individual counseling) is also good. However, regardless of how good the program is, it will not be effective if the students do not buy-in to the fact that the material will benefit them.

I am asking students to trust me when I offer my help to them. And no matter how prepared, educated, informed, and ready I may be if they do not buy-in I cannot be effective.

The buy-in is needed.

So what is your buy-in?

Where are you committed to bring about change? Or to maintain the status quo? Why?

I am committed to God’s idea of justice expressed throughout the Bible that His people should care for the widow, orphan, and foreigner (in other words, the groups of people that are not privileged). As I continue working more and more with people in poverty it is becoming more apparent how our system is flawed. I am becoming more aware that as Christians we should be doing more than we are.

Don’t get me wrong, the system helps a lot of people and a lot of Christian churches and organizations are doing a lot of good. But we need to do more.

We need to acknowledge that people are not pawns for political fodder. We need to admit that at times we have barricaded ourselves behind the doors of our churches to pray about people and raise money to send elsewhere.  All the while, we walk past the people right in front of us who need help hoping they do not make eye contact with us.

I have bought in to the fact that we need to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions: How are we maintaining institutional racism? How are we maintaining gender-based biases? How is our silence perpetuating the evils in the system? How would my life change if I were truly committed to being Christ-like?

These questions do no assume that we are doing anything wrong. They do assume that we could be doing even more that is right.

But only if we buy-in to the fact that we need to. Only if we buy-in to the fact that there are problems we must attempt to fix.

Without the buy-in, our attempts will be ineffective.

So what is your buy-in for 2014?

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