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I hold graduate degrees in political science, so I began my academic career teaching government and politics courses. Later, when I became a university president, I told people “I don’t teach politics anymore, but I practice politics every day.”

Writing for Radio For over 16 years, I was privileged to write a daily radio program. Doing so was not my idea. It was our vice president for broadcasting’s idea, and his vision for what it could do proved correct. Nothing I did garnered more frequent and more positive response, or opened more doors for my day job as president, than the “Making a Difference” radio program.

Philosophy of Life My philosophy of life, something that for years I’ve called “Proactive Stewardship,” also helped me in leadership. Proactive stewardship may be an inelegant phrase, but it captures what I believe the Word of God teaches about leadership. It means that I should be forward-thinking, “pro” rather than “re”-active, and that I am accountable to God for the time, talent, and treasure he’s given me. So I tried to develop a leadership style characterized by a high degree of energy, a strong work ethic courtesy of my father’s and two grandfathers’ influence, a fairly quick work pace, a lot of ideas and “vision” (doesn’t always need to be your own; can embrace anyone’s good ideas and vision), and a hunger to do more and better for the Lord.

Organization Charts One of my favorite maxims regarding perennial debates about organizational structures is that “Any system will work and no system will work. It depends on the people in the system.” I’ve yet to find an organizational chart silver bullet that fixes everything. So, I’m pretty open to changes in the chart when it seems warranted, including titles, because such things are all means to an end: accomplishing the mission. But you also have to remember that titles mean something to people and changing a title can unsettle as well as reinforce personnel.

Developing Leaders I believe in developing leaders throughout the organization. Two corollaries: I believe in strong, which is to say proactive and effective, leadership at all levels, trustees, the president, vice presidents, deans and directors, and personnel. And the stronger the leaders at each link the stronger the chain. And I believe in accountable leadership, first to the Lord as I noted above and then to others.

Making Hard Decisions Making what I called “hard decisions,” those involving people’s job performance or continuance in the organization, are the most stressful any leader faces. The most difficult decisions are those involving the termination of an employee for cause or, even more difficult, a reduction in force required as part of an organizational budget adjustment.

My most challenging time in leadership occurred when the university experienced financial shortfalls and we were forced to make adjustments laying off several staff members. It hurt, relationally, emotionally, physically. It was one of those times in leadership when I had trustees speaking in one ear saying, “You’re doing the right thing,” or “We’re with you on this,” or the one I’ll never forget from a close trustee friend, “I’m walking right beside you in this.” At the same time in the other ear, some personnel, students, or members of the general public called my actions, even my character, into question.

I learned a great deal:

  • God’s love is “unfailing” as he promises in the Psalms,
  • Some friends are indeed fair-weather,
  • The media thrives on controversy not necessarily facts,
  • A leader must step up, lead, take the hits, and keep his or her eye on the goal,
  • “Laying off” is not the same as “firing,” but it feels the same to the person on the receiving end, which means that only later will this difference make a difference,
  • There’s no easy or pleasant way to inform people they’ve lost their job, and there’s certainly no easy or pleasant way to receive this information, but it can be done with dignity and professionalism, and it can be done appropriately in a Christian organization focusing upon its stewardship.

Since that time, I have tried to call or write leaders who’re experiencing difficult times, not to assess or take positions on their actions but to support them as individuals. They always respond with surprise and gratitude and I consider this a new kind of ministry that God has given to me.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I grew up in a small town extended family in which virtually everyone was a believer and in which my maternal grandfather, "Bones, was the lively, hilarious spiritual patriarch of the family. He was also a leading deacon in our church. I now understand this experience was a rare gift. Both of my parents are yet living and both are dedicated Christian people and have been since before I was born. Mom is a retired piano and organ teacher who has participated in church music since her teens, and Dad has been a member of my home church deacon board for over forty years.

It’s not a stretch to say my sister and I come from a “Christian home” in the best sense of that term. And I made a personal profession of faith in Christ at six years of age and was later baptized.

In my family I learned and I believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word and our guide for faith and practice. As a young person I attended Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School, Church camp, Teens for Christ, and you name it, I was there. I did everything a kid from a Christian home and a fundamentalist Baptist church was supposed to do.

Don't get me wrong. I was no angel. I was just a kid who experienced all the blessings and lessons of a Christian home. Then I attended a Christian college.

Aside from a Christian family upbringing nothing has marked my life more than my undergraduate Christian college experience. I loved every minute of it. While I was in college God delivered me from a spiritual struggle. Early in my Christian life I wrestled with doubt—not in the existence of God but in whether or not I was truly saved. My struggle ended with the assurances I found in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Later, I discovered others who struggled with doubt, so as one outcome of my spiritual journey I’ve often spoken with college students about doubt, using Os Guinness’s work on the subject as one key supporting source.

It was also in Christian college that I found and pursued what became a wonderfully liberating understanding of the Christian faith, what we at that time called “a Christian theistic world-life view.” My growing understanding of a biblically based Christian philosophy of life gradually allowed me to set aside certain fears, undeveloped views, or limited understandings rooted in my good but sometimes legalistic church experience in favor of a still thoroughly biblical but culture-engaging, forward thinking perspective of life. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer began writing his influential books just before and while I was in college, which he continued until his passing during our young married years. His books helped me look more positively and confidently upon the world, life, and learning, knowing the Christian faith offered “true truth,” as he called it, and that one need not fear learning something that would someday undermine one’s faith. My Christian college years also provided me with an excellent writing and critical thinking-based undergraduate education, with an attraction to the teaching profession and a sense of calling into Christian higher education, and, perhaps most importantly of all, with a friend who would become my wife of now 36 years.

Years hence I was finally able to write what I consider something of a personal manifesto, Christian Liberty:  Living for God in a Changing Culture. This book expresses my understanding of how to apply a biblically Christian worldview so one may live “In the world” while being “Not of the world,” yet remembering God said to go “Into the world.” I consider myself a conservative evangelical.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


T-shirts, like bumper stickers and license plates, have become individual Americans' shout-out billboards. We proclaim our politics and theology, root for the home team, and express undying affection for this, that, and the other.

When you travel, reading t-shirts is one way to keep the mind active and the travel-weariness at bay.

Here are a few I've seen recently:

“The Sarcasm Society, Like we need your support.”

“If blondes have more fun…do they know it?”

“Just hand over the chocolate and no one will get hurt.”

Chicago: “Don’t hassle me. I’m a local.”

Knoxville: “I ran out of sick days, so I called in dead.”

Paris: “Shouldn’t the Air and Space Museum be Empty?”

Minneapolis: “I Love Boobs.” – The "I" is a bowling pin and text on the back of the shirt provides details re "bowling for breast cancer." By the way, a woman was wearing this t-shirt...

And my all-time favorite that I saw in Phoenix years ago: “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.” Picture shows a human skeleton lying up against a cactus.

Is this a great country or what?


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow at

I'm into social media, Facebook, Twitter, so this is not a Luddite rant. But along with others I've mused about what the social media juggernaut seems to mean or imply for thinking, writing, and civility:

  • People say things in print they often won't say in person.
  • The quantity of online expression may be inversely related to its quality.
  • Because something is posted doesn't make it so.
  • Road rage has given way to cyber rage with neither one amounting to much.
  • It's easier to misrepresent, even lie, with more extensive, longer-lasting negative impact than it used to be.
  • No leader(s) can any longer stay ahead of or respond in a timely fashion to real-time events because people are communicating about the event as they participate in them and as they happen.
  • It's possible to say something profound in 140 characters, but this won't often happen.The number of followers or fans one counts is more a measure of celebrity than significance.
  • Christians should be active via social media like they should be active via anything else that doesn't violate the moral will of God.
  • Both the noble and the ignoble show up in social media because people are involved.
  • Tweeting what one had for breakfast says more about the tweeter's need for affirmation than the tweetee's need to know.
  • Relationships can be developed via social media, but the same character criteria should be applied as in any other relationship.
  • Social media is no longer limited to youth.
  • If international Christian ministries want young people to learn about, care about, and engage with missions, the ministries had better increase their online presence because youth live in cyberspace and if a ministry isn't there it doesn't exist.
  • Static websites, i.e. limited changes in content over time, attract one-time visitors.
  • Websites still form a foundation but they're almost passe in favor of more dynamic, rapidly changing real-time interaction available via new media.
  • Personality and character show up in social media expression, print or audio or video.
  • You are what you post?
  • Almost no one, let alone a notable leader or celebrity or otherwise recognizable person, is ever now in a truly private circumstance beyond the reach of cell phone video or still shot cameras, voice recorders, and of course, the emails, text messages, or other communications of people nearby.
  • The more we're plugged in, the more we live on the grid, the less we're unplugged and live life off the grid...what are we missing our Grandparents understood?
  • Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears are easy to envision working in social media, not so much Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Mother Teresa.
  • In the movie "Gladiator" the Maximus character said, "What we do in life echoes in eternity." True, in the hands of Providence, but now what we post echoes for all our life in Google.
  • Wonder what the next Twitter du jour will be?
  • © Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    This week the SAT-7 Field Staff spent time in two seminars focusing upon "asset-based giving." Both sessions reminded us that "God owns the cattle on a thousand hills." He owns all that we are, have, or ever hope to have.

    Randy Veltkamp, President of West Michigan Christian Foundation, led the first seminar, along with VP Jamison Kuiper. Both men explained that most people give to charity out of an approximately 7% cash or liquid portion of their net worth. In other words, we work from our checkbooks. Meanwhile, for most individuals, whether wealthy or not so wealthy, our actual giving capacity is tied up in some 93% non-liquid assets, like property, stocks , or other investments.

    While Americans are very generous people, giving some $307.65 billion to charitable causes in 2008, still, on average Americans only gave about 2.5% of their incomes. Their net worth and thus full giving capacity is far higher, so the percentage Americans gave of their actual ability to give is much lower than 2.5%. Christians don't give appreciably more and, thus, don't remotely approach the 10% tithe God commands in his Word. So the story of American generosity is a good news, bad news scenario.

    What we need to do as fundraising officers of Christian nonprofits is to help people understand giving spiritually: it's a mind thing, developing a theology of giving; and it's a heart thing, developing an obedience to God's direction and a compassion toward others. Once people understand giving spiritually, they'll give more cheerfully, more often, more faithfully, and usually just plain more.

    In a second seminar, Richard Dorsey, Planned Giving Director for The Salvation Army West Michigan and Northern Indiana Division, reviewed several issues, questions, or concerns people raise when they're presented with opportunities to give. People say, "I cannot afford to give more" or "My assets are tied up in real estate, what can I do?" Or "I'm going to sell my real estate...etc soon." All of these concerns and more are legitimate, but none of them prevent a person from becoming better stewards of the resources God has given them. They just need help seeing what options are available to them, ones that legally and appropriately reduce their tax liabilities while increasing their ability to care for themselves, their heirs, and their favorite charities.

    People sometimes look upon fundraising as manipulation, trickery, or strong-arming, sort of a bucketful of ways shysters leverage money from people's pockets. Unfortunately, at one time or another fundraising, or rather fundraisers, have been all these things.

    But fundraising rightly understood and implemented is simply a process of placing in front of people opportunities for them to help others by being good stewards of the resources God has entrusted temporarily to them. Helping people grow in their understanding of giving and their capacity to give is helping them to experience the joy of giving while they're living.

    Learning to give wisely out of ones total assets, not simply available cash, is a win-win. It's beneficial first to the giver because it preserves assets from undue taxation and moves them toward personal support, family, or charitable causes. And second, it generally means charitable causes, the ones closest to the giver's heart, experience greater support and therefore ability to fulfill their mission.

    SAT-7 USA is developing its sophistication in assisting supporters' spiritual well-being and their stewardship. In this we trust God is pleased.

    © Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

    Philanthropy is the act of giving money, goods, or services to charitable causes. It's a Christian concept. God says a great deal in His Word about wealth, and philanthropy is one major focus.

    In Proverbs, God says that "one man gives freely, yet gains even more, another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell" (11:24-26).In 1 Timothy, we're told to "be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" (6:18).

    Giving is an expected part of the Christian life, not only in the form of a tithe to God, but also as offerings to good causes over and above our tithe. In all this, we are to be cheerful givers (I Cor. 9:7).

    Christians in colonial times took God's giving commands so seriously that they encouraged each other to give even more than tithes and offerings in order to endow schools, colleges, orphanages, missions and more. In fact, a person who died in possession of great wealth was disdained as a poor steward.

    Philanthropy is not just a task and an opportunity of the wealthy. It is the responsibility of every Christian within the level of means God has provided. In the New Testament, Jesus praised the Widow for her faithful and sacrificially given mite, one of the smallest of Middle Eastern coins.

    God blesses all gifts given in true charity.God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He does not need your gift, but He expects it and He will use it.


    © Rex M. Rogers –All Rights Reserved, 2010

    Revised "Making a Difference" program #136 originally recorded, September 22, 1994.

    This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part but must include a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at