Today, I had the privilege to meet with a group of men who have done an extraordinary job of turning around a branch of our organization. The ministry is called Here’s Life Inner City and these leaders represent a national effort to bring hope and help to the inner city. A few years ago there was a leadership void. It was a fragile time that called out for some fresh direction and thinking. A leader was chosen and the change process began. It was fascinating and encouraging to hear these leaders tell their story. Three aspects of this change initiative stood out to me.
1. Getting the Right Leaders-We studied their newly revised organizational chart and we engaged with some of the top leaders that have been put in place in the last few years. The chart revealed that there were young leaders with fresh energy and their were more mature leaders to provide wise experience. There were ethnic leaders that thoroughly understand the missional audience. There were men and women to add a balanced perspective to the needs of both genders. It was also clear that the top leaders had carefully placed the rest of the leadership team in roles that tapped the best of who they were and stewarded them well toward their best contribution.
2. Engaging the Main Stakeholders-This leadership team also spent countless hours engaging staff, interns, and partners about a new direction and new initiatives. They spent many hours in contemplating their future branding and the implications of how they might be even more powerfully represented among their chosen audience. They took the time to be sure that those who had invested well and were vested deeply were able to contribute their thoughts to the broader discussion.
3. Clarifying the Vision & Direction-One thing that clearly stood out today from the report we heard was the emphasis on being partner centric in the mission. As these dedicated staff seek to bring help and hope to the inner city they keenly understand that they must come along side urban pastors and other leaders to serve them. Effectiveness lies in not coming in from above, but in coming along side. This team also desires to provide some great tools and resources that will allow those churches to bless their own neighborhoods. The hope is to make the local pastor the hero, not our national organization. That is a direction that is worthy, compelling, and elicits whole hearted effort.
There are many good books that talk about the change process. And some of the above principles are replicated in those writings. But it was really fun and encouraging to hear it live from a group of leaders who have done it and are living it.
Here is the link for Here’s Life Inner City-take a look.