Ignorance in Marketing – Is Poor Grammar Making You Look Stupid?

The scary thing about ignorance is that you don’t know you are ignorant about something until you are made aware of it. And at that point, not only do you realize you were ignorant, but now you are also ashamed and embarrassed, to make matters worse. While everyone is capable of making mistakes whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, I have found that there is no better way to learn something than through the humiliation of being caught in an error, no matter how inadvertent. While ignorance may be bliss, its ramifications are truly mortifying!

As marketing professionals, it is our job to mastermind brilliant ways to bring success to the clients we represent. A marketer’s tools include effective use of language, visuals and sounds, all of which should work together to create a memorable and powerful symbol of appeal.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, (should be “more easily said than done” but the original is an idiomatic expression and is acceptable in its cruder form). If a marketer suffers from a lack of knowledge about any of the components within his repertoire, the work he produces may suffer as well.

Grammatical errors seem to take predominance. Examples can be found both in written and spoken form, published and broadcast in news, commentary and advertising formats, as well as weather and traffic reports. No one seems immune these days and the more such errors proliferate through the media, the more the population seems to adopt them as proper form. Often these errors are difficult to trace, whether originating as gang-speak on the street or trickling down from the most reputable icons of our sources of cultural information.

One of the most prevalent of these errors involves the addition of the preposition “of” where it does not belong, as in “not too big ‘of’ a deal,” or “not too bad ‘of’ a ride,” which more correctly should be “not too big a deal” and “not too bad a ride.” I understand where the confusion comes from since it is correct to say “not too much of a problem.” Why is one correct and not the other? It is all based on whether the word before the word “of” is a noun or an adjective. If it is a noun, following it with the word “of” is correct. If it is an adjective, following it with the word “of” is incorrect. Here is a very helpful explanation from wiki.answers:

“The word ‘of’ only belongs with words like ‘much,’ so ‘too much of a problem’ would be correct, but ‘too big of a task’ should instead be ‘too big a task.’ This goes for most adjectives, for instance: ‘too blue a shirt’, ‘too tall a building’, ‘too deep an ocean’, etc.”

The word “much,” which can be an adjective, an adverb or a noun depending on the context, is used as a noun in this instance, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, unlike the words “big,” “blue,” “tall” and “deep” which are used as adjectives. A simple formula to apply for clarification could be:

Too (adjective) a (noun) or…

That (adjective) a (noun) or…

Quite (adjective) a (noun) or…

How (adjective) a (noun)…

…as in “too sassy an attitude” or “that high an elevation” or “quite boring a speech” or “how wonderful an occasion.” The consensus seems to be that interjection of the word “of” in this context seems to be indigenous to North America and is largely informal in use. If this is true, I predict that its current prevalence in language (particularly within the media), no matter how incorrect it may be, will eventually creep into our cultural lexicon to become the permanent rule as opposed to the exception – something I find disheartening after all the effort it takes to remember, understand and apply correct usage.

This reminds me of something my mother taught me many years ago which continues to make me feel like someone from a different planet when I still obey her today, though she’s been dead for more than twenty years. When the phone rings and I am asked, “Is Marilyn there?”, the proper response according to my mother and proper English usage is “This is she” or “I am she.” I am probably the only person on earth who feels compelled to reply in this way leaving the inquirer to think I am putting on airs to elevate my social status, when in fact I am only trying to avoid the guilt of motherly disobedience. The reason it is correct is that there must be agreement between “This” or “I” and “she,” all of which must be in the nominative case. If I were to say, “This is me” or “This is her,” the words “me” and “her” would be in the objective case and would not agree with the subject “This” in the nominative case. But I digress.

What really gets me is that when errors like this are so flagrantly repeated day after day, week after week, within radio traffic reports, for instance, no one of any authority makes an effort to correct them, comment about them, apologize for them or otherwise address them as incorrect. Am I the only one to notice these things?

And why is it important, anyway? Some people feel nitpicking about usage of the English language is pointless since the meaning is clear regardless of such minuscule aberrations. Anyone complaining about these seemingly archaic grammatical rules should “man up” and “get a life!” In today’s world, slang seems to be the universally acceptable format du jour.

Someone like me who is paid to write a wide variety of business marketing items such as letters of introduction, ad copy, website content, press releases, etc., must do so as professionally as possible which includes adhering to proper grammatical usage of the English language. To do anything less than that would be a disservice to my clients who hire me because they cannot do it themselves. Therefore, it is my responsibility to know the rules of syntax thoroughly to be able to defend whatever I write.

But more importantly, having command of the English language in its proper form differentiates a writer or a speaker from those who do not, elevating one’s skills to a more sophisticated level and defining one’s style as eloquent, articulate and expert. Absence of grammatical errors is not something which normally attracts any attention. But subliminally, it evokes respect for what is being presented as authoritative, trustworthy and believable. Interject even a typographical error and suddenly the source of the document is suspect as a charlatan!

I find that if using proper grammar makes you feel pretentious as per my phone retort example above, there is always another way to express oneself and such an exercise actually improves your skills as a writer or speaker since you are constantly challenging yourself to be the best you can be. For instance, instead of struggling with the horrendous “This is she” reply, why not just say, “This is Marilyn” or “I am Marilyn”? Better yet, identify yourself upon answering the phone so there is no need to beg the question.

Need more proof of ignorance run rampant? Among the huge numbers of errors which include misuse of such words as it’s/its, utilization of double negatives, and many others, here are a few examples of common usage issues I encounter frequently in the media:

Of all the accidents reviewed, none were considered serious. (WRONG!)

Of all the accidents reviewed, none was considered serious. (RIGHT!)

Why? Because none implies “not one” which is singular and must be followed by a verb which agrees.

What about use of the Latin abbreviations: i.e. and e.g.? What do they mean, and when and how do you use them? The Latin abbreviation i.e. literally translates as id est which means “that is,” or, “in other words.” The Latin abbreviation e.g. literally translates as exempli gratia, which means “for example.” Therefore, i.e. is used to specify exactly what you mean while e.g. is used to merely provide some examples of what you mean. A comma always follows either abbreviation.

The lecture focused on war, i.e., World War I and World War II.

Soldiers injured during war was part of the discussion, e.g., spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, etc.

Often in songwriting, grammatical errors occur for the sake of rhyme or rhythm and is apologetically referred to as poetic license. (One example from Jim Morrison and the Doors: “Till the stars fall from the sky, for you and I” This comes to mind because of a common error with objects of the preposition.

With confidentiality as a concern, the investment advisor revealed financial losses only to my wife and I. (WRONG!)

With confidentiality as a concern, the investment advisor revealed financial losses only to my wife and me. (RIGHT!)

In discussions between Bob and I, we agree there is only one correct investment strategy. (WRONG!)

In discussions between Bob and me, we agree there is only one correct investment strategy. (RIGHT!)

Why? Prepositions are followed by the objective case.

And errors pertaining to disagreement of singulars and plurals are extremely common:

Those kind of things. (WRONG!)

That kind of thing or those kinds of things! (RIGHT!)

Errors using the words Fewer and Less: The following are correct examples.

We need fewer problems and less strife in the world.

With fewer hours to work, we accomplish less.

Less milk, fewer bowls of cereal.

But “I want to pay less taxes” is incorrect. While the intention is to convey the idea that you want to pay less money toward your taxes, and the correct “I want to pay fewer taxes” does not truly communicate that meaning, the way to say it correctly could be:

“I want to pay less in tax.” Or, just rephrase completely to say, “I pay thousands in taxes and I want to pay less!”

Errors with the words “Amount of” and “Number of” These examples are correct:

She drank a large amount of milk with her cake.

She passed a great number of lakes on her trip.

A large amount of oil has spilled in the gulf.

Often an additional error occurs in these instances with lack of agreement of verbs with preceding subject (singular or plural)

A large number of fishermen have been impacted. (WRONG!)

A large number…HAS been impacted. (RIGHT!)

Let’s look at the word “lay” which is so commonly misused everywhere. Conversationally, professionally, musically. Ah, yes. Back to the musical violations. Bob Dylan leads the way with “Lay, Lady, Lay” followed closely by Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down, Sally”

In Bob’s case, unless he is referring to laying eggs and Lady is a chicken, he’s way off base. Eric doesn’t have a prayer. He’s just dead wrong, as they say.

How do I remember what is correct? I don’t always but I am not too proud to do some research… in fact, a lot of research. Even though I’ve always had a very good memory for these things, what I remember most is what sounds correct because of my upbringing. My mother was obsessed with teaching me proper English perhaps because her mother only spoke Hungarian. So she hammered exercises like the following into my young brain, day in and day out. Maybe it was her pet peeve but I thank her for her tedium today. Of all the things my parents gave me as a child, I would have to say that their efforts to expose me to proper use of the English language was their greatest gift of all!

Lie, Lay, Lain; Lay, Laid, Laid

I lie down today.

I lay down after supper last night.

I have lain down after eating quite a bit lately.

The dog has been lying there for hours! Lie down, Fido!

Think: recline.


I lay the book on the table.

I laid it on the table about an hour ago.

I have laid it on the table many times.

Just lay the book on the table, Melissa.

She is now laying the book on the table.

Think: put or place.

As a marketing professional, I have a natural interest in mainstream marketing. Lately, I have noticed a couple of grammatical infractions in radio advertising for extremely popular brands. Not that this is so uncommon, I just find it unfortunate because our culture, particularly the younger members of our population, mainline the media’s message through sound, often more than through print, ingesting such errors as acceptable forms of speech. While I can understand the use of less-than-perfect English to represent a fictitious character rather than a true person, (the way snarky Popeye had to eat “me spinach,” true to the sailor-man that he was), deliberately saying “This is one of them cases” when the word “those” could easily have sufficed makes no sense to me. Likewise, saying “It worked pretty good” instead of “…pretty well” may have been for the purpose of appealing to a more blue-collar market but hardly can be justified as responsible advertising if it is teaching our children to speak like street urchins.

Often clients complain if I add a hyphen where it belongs when they send me a slogan to use verbatim. I regard it as my duty to explain why I added the hyphen but give them the option of omitting it if that is their preference. After all, how many years did we listen to the defiantly improper, Madison-Avenue-produced branding: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should”?

So, while it may be acceptable in some contexts to regard proper grammar flippantly, doing so on a professional level may result in a blow to your reputation, doubt about your expertise, and ultimately loss of business. If you compromise the language knowingly, that’s one thing. But if you do so out of ignorance, you do so at your own risk.

Administering The Local Church Through Mobilization For Evangelism

Many churches are dead while many are dying as an organization. This is owing to failure in administration and failure to fulfill their purpose of existence effectively. Reflection through the historical past, patterns utilized in the first century ecclesiastical community and biblically contextualized patterns from the pastoral practice of the church through the centuries, can be very essential for formulating relevant aims and objectives to revive our dying churches and to enhance effective growth through evangelism.

Dynamic and effective leadership is a key to growth and success in any organization, including the Christian church. The scarcity of leadership skills in our society does not merely mean scarcity of people, but rather a scarcity of people who were willing to assume significant roles and get the job done effectively. Churches today need competent leadership that will maintain high motivation and moral within their communities.

In this article, we shall focus upon the necessity, hurdles and strategies for effective evangelistic mobilization. Let us firstly have a preliminary consideration of the words we will be focusing on.

Preliminary Consideration

It is expedient to establish a full explanation of what is meant by administering the local church through mobilization for evangelism. Basically, three key words or concepts need special attention and they are Administration, Mobilization, and Evangelism. We have earlier defined administering in the introduction. We shall define mobilization and evangelism.


The term mobilization has its root in the word mobile which basically means movable, to move, changeable or capable of being easily moved. The word mobile could also mean an individual’s ability or a group’s ability to move from one social level to another. Thus, the verb mobilizes means to put in a state of readiness for active service. It would also mean to organize or undergo preparation for action.1 Similarly the Oxford Thesaurus gives some synonymous words for the word mobilize which include: activate, rally, call up, prepare, levy, muster, organize, enlist, enroll, conscript, assemble, marshall.2

Administering the local church through mobilization requires a motivational leader with the ability to motivate and move people into action in an organized way or planned target or objective. In his book, Be a motivational leader. Lair Elms underscores that a highly motivated people are hard to stop.

“To a group whose motivation and moral is high, problems

appear conquerable, goals seem attainable, and opposition

is nothing more than a stepping-stone to success. If under the

power, guidance, and control of the Holy Spirit, the leader can

develop a warm zeal for the task in the hearts of the people…

then his job is a joy. But if the people are cold and

uncommitted his job is a drag”.3

There are key questions for this topic, which are essential for consideration:

1. What makes a leader a mobilizer?

2. What do some leaders have that can inspire people to enthusiasm for the work God has given them?

3. Is it the gift or an ability that can be learned?

We could note that it is the knowledge and practical application of sound leadership principles that are biblical and relevantly contextual which would make a leader the mobilizer he ought to be.


Several New Testament words are used to clarify the meaning of evangelism including such words as preach, herald, teach, witness and disciple. One clarifying word is that which is often translated “PREACH“. It is the Greek word evangelizo which means “to announce good tidings” or “to preach the gospel”. In Acts 21:8, Phillip was designated as the evangelist, which means he went about telling the gospel. The New Testament evangelist is one who spreads the good tidings of redemption and attempts to persuade people to receive Christ (acts 13:32/Heb.4:2).4 Hence the Living Webster English Dictionary defines evangelize as “to instruct in the gospel, to preach the gospel and convert.”5

The other Greek work is Kerusso which means “TO HERALD” and is also translated to “preach or proclaim. The messenger of an ancient king went from village to village heralding the decree of the king. The emphasis is on a simple setting forth of a truth, not on the response of the hearer, but on the proclamation of the gospel… (Matt. 3:1:4:12:24:14: a Tim. 3:16).6

The third word is the Greek word Didasko which refers to holding discourse with others in order to instruct and it means “TO PREACH“. Teaching means more than announcing the truth: it involves clarifying and illustrating the plan of salvation. When a person responds to the plan of salvation by accepting Christ, teaching becomes evangelism. In describing the evangelism of Jesus, it refers to holding discourses with others in order to instruct. Jesus secured eternal results through teaching …Matt. 9:35.7

The fourth word is the Greek word Mathateuo which means “TO DISCIPLE“. The term is concerned with results and carries with it the idea of converting. The converted one is made a learner or student and therefore a disciple or follower. Jesus commissioned His disciples to make disciples of others – Matt. 28:19.

The last word is the Greek word Martureo which means “To bear witness: A witness gives evidence(s) or substantiation of the truth. A witness tells what he has seen, heard, or experienced. A Christian witness tells others what Christ has done for him – that is, what he has seen, heard and experienced (Acts 1:8; 2 Jn. 1:1-4).

The task of evangelism in view of the above-mentioned concepts is rightly stated by C.E. Autrey in the following way: “evangelism is to bear witness to the gospel with soul aflame and to teach and preach with the express purpose of making disciples of those who hear.” Also John R. Mott defines evangelism in the context of result: “the declaration of the gospel of Christ, either privately or publicly by a messenger of God so that man might repent of their sins, turn to God and live abundantly.”8

To have a full comprehension of the dynamics in administering the local church through mobilization of evangelism, the above stated considerations must be taken into account. Consideration of the meaning, scope and concept of the key words such as administering, mobilization and evangelism is inevitable.

The Necessity for Mobilization

One of the great dangers facing the church in evangelism is the lack of concern and active involvement in touching the lives of others who are without Christ. A revitalized zeal must be evidenced in churches’ programmes so as to transform Christians into active soul winners.9

In real evangelism, every possible method and every effort must be applied inside and outside the church door to bring people to Faith in Christ and membership in His church. Each new generation of Christians must communicate the gospel to its peers. Methods and techniques used to do this must take into account biblical mandates and contemporary society with its values. Francis Schaeffer, in his book, Escape From Reason, underscores that “those who would share Christ must understand those to whom they minister and relate to them appropriately”.10 It is essential that warm emotional feelings should accompany evangelism. No matter what culture or method is used the warm evidence of Love MUST radiate from the soul winner.

Many reasons could be given to justify why mobilization is necessary in any form of administration, especially, administering the local church. Four key reasons are given for our consideration.

A. Mobilization is Necessary to Control the Operation

Necessary control is the only way the results achieved in evangelism will conform to plans previously made. This implies that planning is involved as well as organizing and directing in the whole process. Apart from these major tasks the leader must perform activities designed to ensure that the results achieved conform to plans made and approved. When authority is delegated or directed the leader is still responsible for the work and controls are built into the assignment such as deadline, periodic progress reports or a budget.

Several factors influence the effectiveness of controls: (1) using mistakes as a basis for improving future performance, instead of taking pride in triumph and gloss over errors; (2) being systematic in personal activities, scheduling and controlling the work of other people and the resources available; (3) having a sense of timing in making things jell in your church or department by knowing the people, mastering the fundamentals while using logic over emotion and (4) knowing how to use information to improve operations.11

B. Mobilization is Necessary to Equip Workers

This whole area of mobilization or motivation centres upon involvement with people and it includes the ability to gain the respect of people as to having influence over them. Competence and excellence in leadership require meaningful relationship with people. A leader essentially must manage, direct or lead people. One important aspect of leadership role is the manner in which you talk to, help and relate to people.

A leader must be able to relate to others for many reasons: 1) It helps to induce change in the leader and the other person; 2) It helps a person develop his own personality by opening up; 3) It helps in understanding where the other people are.12 Gene a Getz puts it this way:” For communication to be qualitative, it must get beyond the verbalization level into the visualization and then to the level of involvement.” Also he emphasized that there should be a balance between a ministry to groups and a ministry to individuals as demonstrated in the life of Paul to Silas and Timothy. Effective Christian motivation must include an in-depth ministry to a select group as well as a ministry to the larger group of Christians.13

God gives the leader the responsibility to develop the people committed to his charge. Every person needs further development and training (2 Tim. 2:2; He.12J. Each one has been given a gift by God that the spirit of God can use to enrich and deepen the lives of others for their work of service in building up the body of Christ. Apart from Personal development, people could be mobilized through special training in skills for evangelism. Such training could be formal as in a classroom setting or informal as the trainee learns by doing.

In my interview with the pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in Freetown, Pastor Carew of the New Evangelical Assembly of God church on Wellington Street, he said to me, “I train my evangelists by going out with them and, let them see and do the job themselves. I teach them some principles, I organize them, I supervise them and let them learn on the job. They become very excited and they grow also from their mistakes.”

C. Mobilization is Necessary to Achieve Objectives

The managerial functions of planning, organizing, motivating and controlling are all engaged in getting things done with and through people. An effective leader gets things done because he utilizes a workable method and has the ability to motivate others highly. He also becomes successful when he is task-oriented. This means he must learn the resources available to his church organization and study the means to arrive at goals and approved plans. He must have the ability to define policies and procedures in order to organize the activities of his people toward the common goal. This is the art or science of getting things done through people.

Goal setting is the starting point for results and it must be special. State the objective with tangible reasons for achieving it and an outline plan to achieving it.14

D. Mobilization is Necessary to Maximize Meaningful Participation

Several reasons and factors may serve as impediments to maximum participation in the outreach program of the church, but effective motivation and mobilization can overcome unwillingness and carefree attitudes. The mobilizer needs to study the situation and come up with tangible reasons why it is necessary that the people should do what he wants them to do. In the case of mobilizing the church for evangelism, there are manifold convincing reasons that church members cannot escape. The reasons for evangelism listed below should cause the believer to examine and evaluate his own evangelistic interest or activities and be motivated to help in the evangelistic and ministry of his church: (1) Jesus commanded His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). Hence evangelism is a command that each believer must obey. (2) Love for Christ compels evangelism. Jesus said to his disciples, “If ye love me keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15) also Paul indicated that the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ in the believer should motivate him to evangelize (2 Cor. 5:14); (3) The lost condition of men should compel Christians to evangelize. All men outside of Christ are lost (Rom. 3:3; 6:23; 3:6), and Christ is calling them to Himself (Matt.11:28). Love for our relatives and fellowmen should compel us to evangelize them as Andrew did in John 1:41; (4) God has entrusted believers with the stewardship of the gospel according to God’s directive (1 cor.4:11); (5) The lack of workers is a very serious issue to challenge believers to evangelize. Very few are witnessing. More must evangelize. This attitude of neglect in fact caused Jesus to address the issue in Matthew 9:37. The primary emphasis of a local church should be evangelism. Social action, education, fellowship or community services are secondary.15

Mobilization as an indispensable ingredient in leadership is necessary to control operations, to equip workers with willingness and competence, to achieve approved objectives or goals, and to maximize meaningful participation.

The Hurdles toward Evangelistic Mobilization

It has been established that highly motivated people are hard to stop. While this statement is highly true on the one hand, it is also true on the other hand that there are possible impediments that may slow or completely kill every mobilization effort. Some of these impediments may be spiritual problems, physical problems or natural problems. Some may be from the mobilizer or from the people being mobilized or just from the environment. It is important to identify each hurdle and find a strategy to overcome it. Difficulties and hurdles for leaders usually come in two forms: (1) problems with the group, and (2) problems in the life of the leader (mobilizer). We will consider three elements, which can stand in the way as hurdles.

A. Poor communication as a Hurdle

An effective leader should keep the lines of communication open, if not he may be heading for disaster. Poor communication leading to misunderstanding kills every good intention a person has and in fact puts people at war against each other. This is vividly illustrated in the life of Moses when he killed the Egyptian who attacked his Jewish Kin. Scripture says, ‘for he supposed his brothers would have understood” (Acts 7:25). But they did not understand his intention. Had they known Moses’ intention they, along with Moses, may have killed millions of Egyptians secretly. Instead, Moses was accused by them so embarrassingly, he had to flee from the Egyptian palace for his life.

Some leaders fail in this area. They assume that people know what is going on. Therefore, the people should respond accordingly to their intention. Only God knows what is the mind of each person without that person disclosing it. In fact, a leader may have a good intention, but poor communication may cause nobody to see the value of it or understand it. Effective communication to your church members will create likemindness and an agreement to embark upon an adventure. The message of effective communication makes sense to the listeners. Effective communication accomplishes something. At least it should motivate people into thinking or into action or both. It should unite your mind with the minds of the listeners (likemindedness). Likemindedness creates unity, agreement in purpose and cooperating to execute a particular goal.

B. Spiritual Failure as a Hurdle

From the Garden of Eden, Satan had always tried to distort or destroy God’s programmes through man. Therefore, Satanic forces may be in operation to destroy any good evangelistic plan by a church or a group of believers. As a mobilizer, a leader of an evangelistic expedition, it is important that one becomes very sensitive to spiritual impediments. Prayer and fasting help to remove spiritual obstacles as well as physical ones. Also, holy living is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare (Jam. 5:16-20). The use of the biblical authority of the word of God as the foundation of one’s plans or evangelistic expedition helps to bring spiritual success instead of failure (Jos.1:8; 2 Tim. 3:16).

In his book, The making of a Christian Leader, Ted W. Engustron outlines some hurdles of leadership which he calls the “Price of Leadership”. His thesis is that every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag in terms of hard work, patience, faith and endurance. He lists some aspects in which the cost is high for any person in leadership as follows:

1. Criticism – Every leader has to expect some criticism. If one cannot handle it, that means he is emotionally immature. This defect will eventually show up and impede his and the group’s progress towards the common goal.

2. Utilization of Time – Managing our time really means managing ourselves. One who plans his time more effectively will far outperform others who don’t. Also, Christian leaders must take time for creative thinking, meditation and determine the best methodology to meet the goal, as well as problem – solving.

3. Making Unpleasant Decisions – Many a time it becomes the duty of an effective leader to remove or rebuke someone who is not performing up to the stated standard. A person who consistently fails to perform with distinction is a hindrance to a church’s or organization’s effectiveness. When an evangelism team is confronted with such a hurdle something needs to be one. It is not easy especially when it needs to meet the approval of the church.

4. Rejection – so many reasons may be given for the rejection of a leader or a good evangelism plan for the church. A Christian leader must also be prepared to face the hurdle of rejection. He must lean upon Jesus and develop good ego-strength to cope with rejection.16

C. Personal/Interpersonal Problems as Hurdles

While pride, jealousy, hatred, slander and other sins may be manifested as well on the interpersonal level, other personal problems such as lack of interest, excuses, incompetence and other things may serve as impediments.

In my interview with Pastor Carew of the New Evangelical Assembly of God church he told me that some unwilling members have given lots of excuses, some he managed to counsel and they joined the evangelistic work of the church. Most of these turn out to be very faithful and fruitful. On the other hand, some have genuine excuses and do not join at all.

Pastor Carew also underscores that failure in a particular adventure has sometimes served as an obstacle in that it brought discouragement to the team and the young immature ones became downcast. Hence good planning is very important, taking into consideration feasibility study, finance, logistics, manpower and a month of special prayers before launching out.

Man as a social being sometimes encounters friction in his personal interaction with his fellowmen. Pastor Carew also told me that sometimes interpersonal friction comes out: However, as a Pastor, he exercises his pastoral function to counsel those involved and encourage them to maintain unity, peace, and a forgiven spirit (2 Cor. 2:9-11). Like Lair Elms, Pastor Carew believes that the value of a united team cannot be overstated. He has the concept that all of us will do more and do it better than a few isolated individuals (1 Cor. 12:20-27).17

In administering the local church through mobilization for evangelism it is expedient to communicate effectively, because poor communication can lead to disaster. The administrator or Mobilizer must be sensitive to spiritual discrepancies such as critics, use of time, unpleasant decision-making, rejection and other negative effects due to satanic forces. Prayer, fasting, holy living and the use of biblical authority in spiritual warfare is necessary. Moreover, interpersonal problems must be resolved interpersonally and with pastoral care.

Strategies Toward Effective Mobilization

In terms of strategy much has already been said in each Chapter and subheadings. Almost all of the points covered have some kind of strategy or principle toward effective mobilization. Thus this section will comprise a general overview of systematic strategies.

A. Some Basic Principles to Consider

Before a person takes on a leadership responsibility, he should weigh the matter carefully. The leader will be held in more severe and stricter judgment than his followers, (James 3:1). However, when God has called you to a task He will work in and through you to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Seek to be a goal-oriented leader who is aspiring and working efficiently.

Secondly, an effective mobilizer for evangelism must be one who makes an impact on people’s lives. One who makes an impact for God is wholehearted (2 Chron. 31:21; Col. 3:23; Ecc. 9:10), and single-minded in his approach to his job.

Thirdly, it is very important to understand the dynamics in the excelling of some leaders. Leaders who excel are those who put out programmes that are fresh and alive, with the people involved very enthusiastic, motivated and productive. These are leaders who desire to do things with excellence in Christlikeness. They are initiators and they are creative in trying new and different things to get more done for the Lord.

A mobilizer or Christian leader should have as one of his prime goals, the meeting of the needs of the group or church entrusted to him. It should revolve around the deepening of the spiritual lives of the people he leads so that they grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, developing in them effectiveness for Him and deepening their devotion.18This aspect of meeting needs is interfused with resolving difficulties and surviving dangers.

B. Some Basic Methodological Steps.

From this writer’s own experience and information obtained during research for this book the following steps have been offered as practical strategies for evangelistic mobilization.

Step One: Vision

As Isaiah worshipped in the Temple a vision came to him. He saw his own unworthiness as well as that of his community, but cleansing and enlightenment came to him and he was commissioned and sent with a special task Isa. 6:1-13). It is very important for a leader or mobilizer to spend time with the Lord and get vision from the Lord. A clear vision from the Lord can give assurance of the Lord’s presence and vindication of whatever ministry or task Christians undertake. A vision would be a foresight of what lies ahead. At this point of vision it is important to do some critical thinking as to the nature, scope and anticipated result of whatever evangelistic expedition is to be embarked upon. Herein is a leader who is goal-oriented. He takes the initiative to establish a sense of direction in order to ensure progress and achievement.19

Step Two: Personal Contact

Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, surveyed the task he went to perform, and personally met with the people to share his plan and vision with them. (Neh. 1:11-18). A Christian leader or mobilizer ought to make personal contact with people to share his dreams, aspirations and visions. Some would include only personal friends, but for an evangelistic expedition for the Lord it is important to open-up to whoever the Lord may send (especially gifted and competent people). At this point it is basically to share and discuss with experienced Christians who would counsel and support your vision or aspiration. They may even support prayerfully if they are unable to be a part physically.

Such a kind of personal contact helped this writer when he was the chairman of the Outreach committee of the Sinkor Evangelical Church in Monrovia, Liberia. It was like an underground work to mobilize church members into getting involved in the church outreach activities. I visited some at their homes and some I talked with after church service on Sundays. Some gave me advice; some gave me support while some became key figures in the outreach activities of the church with zeal to work.

Also, Pastor Carew of the New Evangel A.O.G. Church told me that he reaches out to personally contact those with gifts and potentials for ministry. Then, he encourages and trains them to be more effective.

Step Three: Planning

After obtaining insight from other people, proper planning is to be done. At this point the Christian leader or mobilizer must apply his ability to define policies and procedures, and to organize the activities of his people toward the common goal. Hence technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills must be appropriated. The technical skill enhances the ability to use knowledge, methods, techniques and equipment necessary for the task. Human skill enhances the ability and judgment in working with and through people. Conceptual skill enhances the ability to understand the complexities of the overall organization and where one’s own operation fits in.20

Step Four: Publicity/Motivation

The idea of publicity is likened to sales agent who wants to sell his product. Publicity would be to declare publicly your desire or vision in an appeal so as to have other people support your campaign. This is the time to really motivate people. Publicity of a church should utilize the announcement time, bulletin board, handbills and other communicational media to attract people.

Step Five: Organizing People and Activities

In order to avoid confusion, disorder or anything that may bring failure, proper organization of people and various activities is inevitable. After publicity many people may come to be part of your campaign. This is the time for the formation of different committees or teams such as singing group, prayer group, counseling team, evangelists, tract team, etc. The purpose of organization is also to basically achieve goals. Also, time frame logistics and the utilization of resources to achieve objective are some of the major tasks. These are all important in effective mobilization.

Step Six: Control of Operation

From step one to the end of each evangelistic campaign, the mobilizer or Christian leader must be in control of the entire process. This means he appoints and delegates responsibilities to faithful members as well as takes responsibility of the entire success or failure of the campaign. It is very important to have this in mind especially when you are dealing with a bright church or a big crusade or campaign. Control of operation is important whether it is door-to-door evangelism, open-air evangelism, tract evangelism, church evangelism or crusade evangelism.


Mobilization for Evangelism is an asset in promoting the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. The love of Christ in believers is passed on to a sin sick world through effective evangelism as a way of life. It is a thrilling experience to see non-believers coming to the faith in Christ Jesus and becoming members of a local church. We have looked at the necessity, hurdles and strategies pertaining to Mobilization for evangelism. The Great Commission of Christ is still the unfinished commission.

End Note

1Colin Brown ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology

(Exeter, Devon: The Pater Nostra Press, 1980), p. 638

2Ted W Engstorm, The Making of a Christian Leader (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), p. 24

3Webster, p. 613

4Urdang, p. 75

5Leroy Eims, Be a Motivational Leader (Wineaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1987), p.8

6Elmer L Towns, Evagelize Thru Christian Education (Wheaton, Illinois: E T T A., 1981), p.7

7Webster, p. 339

8Towns, p. 8

9Ibid., p. 7

10Ibid., p. 8

11Ibid., p. 5

12Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason (Downers, Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1968), pp. 93-94

13Engstrom, p. 179

14Ibid., p. 194

15Gene A Getz. Sharpening the Focus of the Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), pp. 182-185

16Engstrom, pp. 137-138

17Towns, pp. 10-11

16Engstrom, pp. 95-101

19Eims, Be a Motivational Leader, p. 115

20Leroy Eims, Be the Leader you were meant to be (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1987, p. 116


22Harold Commins, Starting New Churches (Nairobi: Baptise Publishing House, 1980) pp. 10-11

23Ibid., pp. 11-24

24Jack Redford, Planting New Churches (Nashville: Broadman Pree, 1978), p. 121

Vince Lombardi’s Nine Principles of Success

Vince Lombardi’s Nine Principles of Success:

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Vince Lombardi

1. Commitment- “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi. Lombardi goes on to state, “A winner must be committed to discipline, committed to sacrifice and self-denial, and committed to hard work.”

How committed are you? If you are an athlete, are you the first one at practice, and the last one to leave? If you are part of an organization – are you making sure that you efforts are helping the entire organization? Are you willing to jump in and help others even when “it is not my job.” As an educator, do you take the time to visit with other teachers in your field – learning ways to make yourself more valuable in the classroom? Are you willing to WIT? Whatever it Takes to be successful?

2. Truth- “In football and business, a leader must be honest with himself and the people he is working with. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” Vince Lombardi

Are you being honest with your greatest fan and your strongest critic – yourself? Are you doing the things on a daily basis that will allow you to do more, be more, have more? Or, are you being dishonest to yourself and those who count on you on a daily basis? With today business ethics or lack of ethics, people are looking to be able to deal with reliable, trustworthy individuals and organizations.

3. Excellence- “If you demand perfection of yourself, you’ll seldom achieve it. Fear of making a mistake is the biggest cause of making one. Instead of pushing for perfection, relax and pursue excellence.” Bud Winter

Lombardi stated, “No one is perfect. But boys, if you’ll not settle for anything less than the best, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with your lives. You’ll be amazed at how much you can rise in this world.”

Perfection rarely happens…it is the perfect game thrown by a baseball pitcher, but requires the help and support of his teammates. It is a 300 game in bowling, rarely reached by anyone but the best bowlers. It is the hole in one in golf…a feat rarely accomplished. However the pursuit of excellence should be a goal we all seek.

4. Results- “Winning is not everything, but making the effort to win is.” Vince Lombardi

Hall of Fame basketball player, Bill Walton, stated this about winning- “Winning is about having the whole team on the same page.”

In team sports, there is usually one team that wins, and one team that loses. The team that plays together can often overcome a lack of talent to be successful. A team with lack of character may win games, but will not be successful in the long run, and success will be short lived.

We always set goals for our teams, and winning were not a major goal. We felt if we could reach the majority of the goals set for every opponent, the winning would take care of itself. We wanted results. We wanted improvement each and every time out. What is it that you expect for yourself and your organization?

“There is no limit when no one cares who gets the credit.” John Wooden

5. Passion- “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” Gayle Sayers

Are you passionate about what you do? Do you have the first one to the office, practice field, classroom mentality, or are you dragging in as things are starting? Do you believe in what you are doing, in your teammates and/or co-workers, do you have it in your heart, your mind, and in your soul – and are willing to take no excuses from yourself and your teammates? Does that fire burn deep within you?

“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.” Vince Lombardi

6. Habit- “The difference between a successful person and others in not a lack of strength, nor a lack of knowledge, but rather the lack of will.” Vince Lombardi

It has been said that doing the same thing today as you did yesterday and expect different results is a definition of insanity. Habit is an act that we repeatedly do. It can be good or it can be bad. Psychologists estimate that 90% of the things we do is habitual. Think about it, starting with your morning routine, and ending to when you retire at night. There are hundreds of things you do the same way every day, often without thinking about them.

Robert Ringer, author of Million Dollar Habits states-“Success is am matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific simple habits that always lead to success.

7. Mental Toughness- “If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head, and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.” Vince Lombardi

You often hear coaches tell their players, “We have to be mentally tough.” Just what is mental toughness? It is one of those words that are difficult to explain. I think my definition of mental toughness is- proper mental and physical preparation that enables you to forget the price- the sacrifices that you must pay for success. It is the thing that allows us to climb off the mat one more time after we have been knocked down. It gives us the ability to strive on inspire of the hurt and the pain that we may be experiencing. It is what allows us to rebound from temporary failures that life sends our way.

When I was coaching, we were down 92-75 with five minutes left in the game. I called a timeout and asked my players how much gas they had left in the tank. I knew the other team was tired. I needed them to tell me that they could reach down inside – give it their all for the remainder of the game. We began to press. Our frame of mind is we were not going to lose. The gap closed, slowly at first, and then like someone had opened the flood gates, we were magically back in the game. With :08 seconds left in the game we hit a three to send it to overtime. Our opponent was spent……but mentally we were ready for the challenge. We wound up winning the game 119-111 in overtime.

8. Discipline- “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” Julie Andrews

Normally when we hear the word discipline we associate it with punishment. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, discipline can be defined as: to train or develop by instruction or exercise- especially in self-control; to bring a group under control. George Washington stated, “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”

For most of my coaching career, I did not saddle my team with rules. Our basic rule was to be where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you are supposed to be doing it – and doing it to the best of your ability. By following that simple set of rules, my players graduated, for the most part grew into the individuals I can be very proud of today.

9. Perseverance- “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge

Persistence and perseverance may be the single most common quality of successful people. They refuse to lose, to give up. They know the longer they hang in there, the greater the chance for success. Thomas Edison failed to invent the light bulb over 1000 times. When asked by a reported how it felt to fail so many times, Edison responded he didn’t fail, he discovered ways not to invent the light bulb.

H. Ross Perot, Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate says this about perseverance- “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”

There are going to be times when it isn’t easy. People will doubt your ability, your effort, or your value to the organization. They may not believe in your dream, or have the same passion you do. They may think you are over your head or over the hill. What if Kurt Warner had believed all of the things people were saying about him before the Arizona Cardinals run toward the Super Bowl?

I have been fortunate to know some people who have overcome tremendous odds to reach their goals. Kevin Saunders, bronze medal winner in the Para-Olympics (Barcelona, Spain) wrote a book about his journey title appropriately enough, “There’s Always a Way…Never Give Up!

I leave you with this thought- “The power to hold on in spite of everything, the power to endure-this is the winners quality. Persistence is the ability to face defeat again and again without giving up-to push on in the face of great difficulty, knowing that victory will be yours. Persistence means taking pains to overcome every obstacle, and to do what’s necessary to reach your goal.” Anon.

The Teacher As Disciplinarian: Ten Ideas That Really Work!

Ten Ideas You Can Try Right Away

“Discipline is not the Enemy of Enthusiasm!”

– Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark

When it comes to Discipline in the schools, there are many well-publicized and well-marketed “systems”. People sometimes get carried away with systems, or programs, structures, textbooks, etc., arguing passionately, for example, that block scheduling is better than traditional scheduling, or integrated math is better than traditional math, or whole language is better than phonics, or this discipline system is better than that discipline system. Similarly, real estate agents will include the name of various school districts in their advertisement for a particular home based on how beautiful the district’s buildings are.

The focus, wrongly, is almost always placed on things, and not people. The truth of the matter is, and I’ll wait while you etch it in stone, my system will do better than your system if my people believe in our system and are passionately committed to its success. So when you hear the arguments, ad nauseum, for this system over that system in the schools, know that it is not the “thing” that caused the success, but the caring and passionate people working within the system.

The rules of golf, my friends, state that you are permitted to have 14 clubs in your bag. In the “golf course” of life in the schools, do you remember the teacher who only had a “driver” in his or her bag?

As we approach the topic of School Discipline, we must begin with the a priori acknowledgement that the American Juvenile Justice System is built on a rehabilitative model. This starts with the understanding that kids- you were a kid too, remember- are not perfect, that they will make mistakes, and that it is our duty as grownups to help them acquire the social skills needed to function as a productive individuals in society. If the Juvenile Justice system is set up this way, then how much more so must the school disciplinary approach be one that attempts to assist young people so that they improve their inappropriate behavior and become productive individuals? Naturally, this means that kids are supposed to get second and third chances, and some attempts at modifying behavior might take several years.

If the people who work in the schools were able to actually “fly the plane” in all respects, there would be no “Zero Tolerance” policies, either, and you would not read about kindergarten kids getting expelled for having a nail file, or because they gave a member of the opposite sex a hug. These coward politicians love to show how tough they are by passing legislation to expel kindergarten kids for hugging somebody or having a pocket knife. Media people, please listen: No real educator would ever come up with a policy like that- even criminals get three strikes- the one strike baseball game was concocted by politicians trying to get votes, not the educators you criticize when this tragedy occurs!

In the Broadway Show Bye Bye Birdie, Paul Lynde, bemoaning the behavior of teenagers “today” (circa 1960) sings in one of the songs this phrase- posed as a question… “Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way…what’s the matter with kids today, etc.?” A school I attended as a child had this quote on the wall by John D. Rockefeller… “What I am to be, I am now becoming.” So, everyone listen carefully… The kids you have right now or are going to have when you are out there teaching have not, unlike you, attained to perfection yet!!! However, perhaps through your caring efforts, patience, and rehabilitative strategies, they might get a few steps closer to the target- but they are not there just yet. So you will have discipline problems.

There are still teachers around who make kids stand in the corner and hold a dictionary in their outstretched arms or have someone write the dictionary, or “I must not talk in class” 500 times. We have all heard the horror stories of actions taken by teachers that do nothing but guarantee that the student will continue to do the wrong thing- often with greater enthusiasm. Don’t forget the line from Bye Bye Birdie…they are not perfect yet like you! Remember also that we are not selling a system in this book. You can buy books and take courses. Our purpose in this chapter is to give you a variety of tools- more like 14 clubs for your disciplinary “golf bag” if you will. These are strategies that have a high degree of success and can effect quick change.


1. Start With a Positive…

Very few kids are discipline problems the first day of school or the first week of school. You probably already have an idea about the reputation of most of your students because the grapevine has informed you. The kids that have the potential to be problems have parents who usually are also aware that their child is a problem because that same child is a problem at home. So when these parents come to school angry at you the teacher, it’s really a case of misplaced aggression because it is their kid who is driving them over the edge. These same parents have literally cried on the telephone to me when they received good news about their child from the people at school- because it never happened before this. What’s the message for you? While it’s still early in the year- before the problems have manifested themselves, look for something positive that these potential problem individuals are doing and contact the parents to tell them the good thing that their child was doing.

Later, you will need the help of these parents to help change their child’s behavior and they will remember this phone call and view you as a nice person- a fair person- maybe the first person in the school district who has ever said something nice about their child. When you call later, you begin by saying… “Hi Mrs. Smith. This is Mr. Jones from the school. You probably remember that we talked when I called you about the nice thing your daughter was doing in my class.” Mom will say that yes, she remembers you. You then say, “I need your help with something.” Then you explain the discipline problem that her daughter is involved with and ask her if she could get involved at home and perhaps, working together as a team, you and Mom can help the child to improve this problem she is now having. Most of the time, the parents will go out of their way to help you. They will also remind the child that you actually said something nice about them and we want to keep this nice teacher on our side- he’s a friend. This potential problem child may start acting better anyway because he realizes that you also make good comments, not just negative ones like everyone else. This is an example of a teacher being PROACTIVE.

2. The Unknown Time-Out

Although this strategy works best with younger students, used sparingly, it will also be equally effective with high school students. Make a plan with one of the secretaries, the Athletic Director, the Principal in a smaller school, or some other person- perhaps the Librarian, the Nurse, Custodian, etc. You can arrange multiple destinations for the Unknown Time-Out maneuver. When you have one or more particularly difficult students or ones that start well but get mixed up in any of the commotion that occurs in class, you call one of the students up to you desk, hand him a colored envelope that has something in it with the name of the person the envelope is going to on it. You tell the student to take this envelope to the person and wait for a response and then bring the response back.

When the recipient of the envelope sees that particular student or that colored envelope, he or she knows what is going on and tells the student to sit in the waiting area while they get the answer ready. Now they take 10 minutes to prepare the response, give it to the student and tell the student to take it back to you. This student just got a “Time-Out” lasting perhaps 15 minutes without knowing it. This Proactive strategy kept the student from being yelled at again for what would have been his inevitable misbehavior, he has done something that seemed to be responsible, and so you the teacher comment on his reliability and thank him. The anticipated daily problem never occurred in the first place. In this process, the envelope, not the student, can be the indicator, so more than one teacher and additional students can be involved in this process. It is unlikely that the students- even high school students, will ever catch on to this strategy.

3. Inviting the Principal to Provide the Positive

If you had the pleasure to attend a Catholic Elementary School in the mid 50’s, you may remember this- ruefully, I do. The report cards were distributed every 6 weeks, so every 6 weeks, the priest would come into class on a Friday to be involved in the process of handing out the report cards to 65 or so students in the class. As the Priest gave out the report cards, he always added a moment or two of editorializing. To this day, I have bad dreams about him saying… “Daniel. Hmmm. Let’s see…My goodness, I know your Mother…The Poor Woman will be broken-hearted when she sees this awful report card.” Of course, everyone is sitting all prim and proper with their hands folded, but your buddies are looking at you and silently making faces and laughing all the while. All of this had quite the dramatic effect.

What’s the message for you? DON’T INVITE ANYONE IN FOR A NEGATIVE!!! But, invite the principal in and when he is there, publicly acknowledge the student by saying something like… “By the way Dr. Stevens(The Principal) Billy here has been one of my most improved students this report period- he is doing some very nice work!” – Or, “Billy, why don’t you show Dr. Stevens your excellent Social Studies project?” Billy has been doing some excellent work lately Dr. Stevens! The principal knows that this is his cue to congratulate the child and talk more about how nice it is to see students behaving this way, etc. This is another very proactive way to reinforce any positive behavior being shown by a student who does not show it that often.

4. The Sandwich Technique

The Sandwich Technique comes to us from the world of sports psychology and has been an effective tool for modifying behavior and encouraging people for over 30 years. It has application to almost every area of human endeavor- in fact, you can even use it with your spouse. It begins by getting a person’s attention by saying something positive. We say this because, for the most part, whether you are a spouse, an athlete, or a misbehaving child, your ears tend to close when you sense that a negative comment is coming your way- we all tend to tune this stuff out. So we get people’s attention by saying something positive first- the ears perk up. The positive is followed by what we really wanted to say- the criticism or negative and any disciplinary action that might be occurring. It is followed by a final upbeat and positive comment. Thus the negative is the Peanut Butter and Jelly, and the positive in front and at the end are the two pieces of white bread.

We’ll leave it to you how best to apply it in other walks of life, but consider how it can be used in the school setting by looking at the following hypothetical:

Johnny misbehaved in you class again today. He’s actually an intelligent individual who simply is not working to the best of his ability. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but for the most part, is usually at the center of any commotion that goes on in class- he’s been turning in some sloppy work lately as well. Write a script of what you would say to Johnny making sure to apply the Sandwich Technique.

It might go like this: Johnny, you know that I like you- you and I have developed a pretty good friendship over the last couple of months haven’t we? That’s why I am surprised that it is you I have to talk to so much. I have looked at your test scores and I have seen some of your work and it is excellent- you have the ability to be one of my brightest students. Here’s the problem, though…this is the fourth time in a row that you have turned in such sloppy work. So I am going to just keep giving it back to you till you do it correctly, and I don’t care if it takes you a month to do it correctly. You will have to come in after school to redo the work, Also, if you do not change the quality of your work, then I am going to have Mom and Dad come in, and you know what your father said he would do if I call him about you, don’t you? What do you think would be a good way to fix this problem? (Avoiding the Yes-No question)All right. Let’s get back to work, but I want you to know, I think you are a sharp kid, and I was just talking about you in a good way to Dr, Stevens. So let’s start doing the work I know you are capable of. Etc.”

5. Divide and Conquer

In this situation, two students are a constant disruption in class. Take one of the students and treat him in a way that is a little less strident than the other. This can be done by rewarding one of the students for doing something right and making it seem as though he is not the real trouble maker in all of these class problems- it’s the other guy. The second person will not stay too friendly with the first person, and the first person will begin to distance himself from the second person. You say to the first student, “You know Billy, I look at you as one of my better students and I don’t think of you as a troublemaker like some students seem to be in this class. What do you think you could do to improve this problem? (Again, not a yes-no)Following the private discussion, you move Billy making sure to explain to him that you want to get him away from the problems so he can do good work and not be bothered all the time. The partners in crime will not be so friendly with each other after you take this action.

6. The Phone Call From Class

Signal for the misbehaving child to join you in the hallway. Tell the child that you have your cell phone “right here in your hand”, and if you ever see this kind of behavior again, you are going to call his or her Mom at her place of work right here from class and the child is going to have to explain to her Mom the reason why the call is being made. The teacher then asks the student how happy he thinks his Mom is going to be to receive such a phone call from school when she is working? When he replies, “Not very happy”, say, “Right, not very happy, so I expect to see some very quick improvement in your behavior- got that Billy? This is one time where a yes answer is all that is needed. The next day, or for the next few weeks or so, if Billy is acting out, the teacher merely holds the phone up and looks at it and then looks back to Billy. Billy will understand completely. Additionally, can you imagine the effect this will have on the other students, notably potential problem individuals when they find out that someone had to actually call his or her mother from class!

7. The Letter in the Drawer

Let’s say that a child uses foul language in you class. First you tell him that this kind of language is not appropriate for class and that you and he are going to have to talk about this after class. Quietly, without any overreaction and typically after class, although there might be occasion to use this technique within earshot of classmates, you tell the student the following: You are really surprised that a person like him would be speaking like that. You then tell him to write down what he said on a piece of paper. Make sure all of the words and details are included in the writing. Then, with a flourish, you place the writing in a business envelope and put a stamp on it and tell the student that normally, this would go directly into the mail with a phone call to let Mom know it is coming. Also, you dramatically write out a disciplinary referral.

Then you might tell the student that you are going to give him a detention for his behavior, but since you the teacher are such a nice person, you are going to keep this letter and the referral in your desk for mow. If this behavior ever occurs again though, both of these items are being sent along with a second mailing for the additional offense. Then you tell the student that this will stay in your desk till the end of the marking period at which time you will dispose of it if he, the child, continues to behave properly. Like the technique involving the cell phone, if the child is starting to misbehave a few days letter, you can point to the letter or the referral as a silent reminder. The child will get the point and probably appreciate your kindness.

8. Invite Mom to come in

This is a great technique for improving everyone’s behavior because one visit to your class by someone’s Mom who sits right next to her normally misbehaving child for one or more periods and everyone will behave because they will fear that they might be next. Kids would rather have root canal than have Mom come in to sit next to them for an entire period or several periods. The process works like this: You make an effort ahead of time to establish a good working relationship with the Moms of some of your most significant problem individuals. You call Mom and invite her in because Junior is misbehaving. Mom comes to class and sits right next to her child and can remain for one or more days. Nobody wants to endure this humiliation. Do it just once and many of your discipline troubles will be over. The next day after the visitor leaves, the teacher can say… “Well, you saw a parent in here to visit because there were some problems I wanted her to see…who’s next?” Don’t expect any hands!!!

9. Involve the Guidance Counselor

Without fail, you will find guidance counselors more than happy to assist you in dealing with a student experiencing problems because it gives them the opportunity to do what they went to school to learn how to do. This is important to guidance counselors because, in the present national testing zeitgeist, they have all too often become the de facto assessment coordinators for their school. They have less time to actually counsel kids because much of their time is being spent checking bubble sheets, counting booklets, and filling out forms for the state as well as sifting through mountains of paperwork related to special education, for example. As a teacher who sees the same students on a daily basis, you know which students have the most pressing issues related to discipline and which ones would profit most from a visit with the counselor as opposed to a visit with the Principal or Dean of Students. Not every matter needs to go to the principal.

On the other hand, you are out there amidst the masses and you hear various stories about kids regarding things that are happening in their lives. Sometimes you have established enough of a rapport with a student that he or she shares it with you himself. Once a student was talking to me about where she was going for the holidays and matter of factly told me that she and her two sisters are from 3 different fathers and they would be going to see all of the fathers as well as the related grandparents, and even though one of the fathers used to “beat my Mom up”, things are pretty good around the holidays as long as he doesn’t get too drunk, etc. The child acted as though this was completely normal, and although she was a discipline problem now and then, after hearing this story, I looked at her much differently. I realized quickly that this was something that should involve the guidance counselor.

Remember also that kids spend more time around the people in school than the people at home, so you will often know immediately when a kid just does not look right which might be an indicator of sexual abuse, drug use, eating disorders, pregnancy, self abuse, etc. Maybe the grapevine knows about a death, a loss of a job, marital unrest, etc. You are the first line of defense in this process. The counselor has all of the right contacts and phone numbers of professionals that she can bring into the process. When a kid who was never a discipline problem starts to become one, or his work starts to take a negative turn, pay attention and don’t just turn directly to the discipline code page in the student handbook. You and the counselor, working together, can be a great force for changing a kid’s life- and the matter never has to get to the discipline office. Don’t be upset, however, if after the counselor gets involved, he or she is unable to share all information about the child with you. There are some issues with Confidentiality involved, so maybe all you will hear is that “The matter is being taken care of.” That might be all you are able to find out.

10. Careful About Examples

Do you remember the movie Home Alone? In it, Mc Cauley Culkin, the child who was left behind is talking to the old man who used to scare him. They are sitting in a church and the kid tells the old man that a certain third grader got “nailed” when kids found out that he wore dinosaur pajamas. If you are not careful about certain examples you speak about to misbehaving kids, you might get somebody “nailed”. To clarify, if you had brothers or sisters, do you ever remember hearing this from either of your parents, “Why can’t you be more like your brother who always makes the honor roll- he always does all of his work so neatly!

If, as a teacher, you make an example like this by saying, “Why can’t you people in the back turn in neat work like Jimmy here- he is such a wonderful student?”… you may be insuring that poor Jimmy is going to get “Nailed”. The world of kids is difficult enough, don’t put someone in peril because he or she is a model student. You can still have pageantry involving awards, but never expressed in a comparative way as in, “Jimmy got this, but look at you Billy, you only got this!” Your parents did that. It did not necessarily endear you to your brother or sister when the comparison was made.

An in Depth Look at the Future of Jail Kiosk Bail Bonds

Competing Fees.

For awhile now, there has been a huge shift toward bail bonds companies offering not only payment plans, but little to no upfront down payments and interest. Much like other industries, such as law firms, doctor offices, etc, it is not difficult to have clients simply not afford their service unless the business is willing to take additional financial risks and offer flexible payment options. Smarter credit card users may realize once they factor in how much they would pay in residual interest, even credit card bonds have their downsides. While also becoming subject to credit card late fees, the payment options bail bonds companies offer start to look rather enticing.

Although in-house kiosk fees are only 7%, a decent amount less than the 10% to 15% bail agents must charge, it’s a fee needed to be paid in full; often an amount more than a defendant can afford. For small non-felony bonds this might not apply, but would the bail industry really prefer someone remain detained in jail for hours, sometimes overnight, so they can charge a $100 minimum fee? The answer is hopefully No.

Disguised Online Threat.

Perhaps these kiosks might affect small mom and pop businesses, but there is still plenty of time before this option is made available to all jails. A larger threat for small businesses is the relatively recent developments of bail bonds companies hiring aggressive search engine and social media marketing services. Driving into any city, one is not hard pressed to find a bail bonds company especially near jails and court buildings, so the industry appears to be doing rather well. For example, if just a handful of businesses within a city closed, largely it would go unnoticed and bail kiosks could hardly be described as a punishing blow to the industry.

With search engine trends showing an increase in bail bond related searches, we can expect throughout these next 5 years smaller businesses being driven out due to increasing online competition rather than to bail kiosks.

There is no shortage of literature describing how the recession has impacted the bail bonds industry negatively. This can be seen by the competitive payment plans offered, but the market itself is growing. The leaders of the industry routinely make 7 figures annually. The amount of individuals with a bail license writing bonds alone, vastly outweigh the number of companies with legitimate store-front offices, employees, website, etc. This is analogous to realtors; you can’t expect that everyone with a real estate license to compete with large realty companies much like every bail agent can’t expect to survive the economic and legislative fluctuations all businesses face.

Defendant Responsibility.

The bail bonds industry was rooted and remains to be built on responsibility. Bail agents are paid a fee to make sure defendants appear to court so that they do not have to stay in jail meanwhile. Bail bonds companies cannot be successful without adhering to this responsibility and maintaining very low forfeiture (also failure to appear) rates. If courts allow this responsibility to become lifted with these credit card bonds, then there will not only be a higher failure to appear rate, but State costs will rise with having to contract people to apprehend fugitives. In Nevada for example, there are over 100 Las Vegas bail bonds companies. Imagine the total addition of responsibility and overhead for each County to bear if kiosks became widely used.

One way or another, there will always be a need for a group to take responsibility. For this reason, credit card kiosks will more than likely plateau in use and serve only defendants that have very minor crimes (also misdemeanors). Potentially in the future what could happen is that bail kiosks are sold to bail bond companies to manage within jails. This would be analogous to how people are able to readily purchase DVD kiosks from OEMs and offer the movie rental service as a private business. The kiosk manufacturer would profit from the sale of hardware vs. the management of equipment. Of course with bail kiosks provided by jails, there will always be concern of whether the defendant will appear in court, even for unintentional reasons. Operationally, this is something the kiosk manufactures cannot provide and fundamentally law enforcement apprehends fugitives and suspects on a completely unrelated basis.

Bail Schedule Increase.

For defendants recognized as being a “flight” risk, judges may impose a higher bail to either (1) indirectly prevent bail being posted because it becomes unaffordable or (2) make indemnitors so invested into the bond, that there becomes extra pressure from family or friends to appear in court. If credit card bail kiosks become widely accepted, the State might impose higher bail amounts for crimes in the event there was an increase in fugitives. Any changes like this would most certainly help the bail bonds industry by creating on average larger bonds to write.

Those who have not needed bail bonds service may be unaware the fee (also premium) required for some defendants can be equivalent and sometimes higher than the monthly salaries of your average doctor or attorney. Not a bad day’s work right? If the State increased the bail amount for common, smaller crimes, the bail industry could look forward to a measurable increase in revenue. In addition, the appearance of a crime problem within a city can be created by the misconduct of even one individual or group. If the number of fugitives increased due to bail kiosks, surely the potential for changing the bail schedule for certain offenses would also increase. However, the County may reduce the number of kiosks or tighten restrictions of its use to offset a problem before increasing bail amounts. There’s a common saying, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”


All in all, the advent of new kiosks providing credit card bail bonds will not significantly change the business side of the industry as a whole. People with the ability to bail out quickly should be able to do so because jails are unarguably over crowded with non-violent offenders. Although the image of the bail bonds industry could use improvement, it has remained throughout all these years virtually complaint free as far any failure to provide a valuable, around the clock service with incredible payment flexibility. Occasionally you read or hear stories of bondsman soliciting service illegally, but not at such a high frequency as to raise wide-spread national recognition, such as the mortgage loan modification scams of 2009, which made headlines weekly. As for now, what the future holds is only speculation, but those in the bail bonds industry should not fear things changing overnight. For the most part, County credit card bail bonds will not change the industry as a whole and with some outcomes potentially being helpful, concerns should settle as time passes.