I’m writing this “hot on the heels” of a very important meeting of the Wheat Ridge Board of Directors. During this meeting, our Board enthusiastically committed to a new strategic business model that will, God willing, significantly increase our mission impact over the next four years. More about our plans for the future appears elsewhere in our June eNewsletter.
The in-depth planning process in which we have been engaged for the past 12 months has served as a reminder to me of God’s amazing way of providing the right ingredients at the right time to accomplish His purposes. Here are three of the ingredients for which I am so very grateful:
A Community Dedicated to our Mission – The initial step in our strategic discernment process was to invite 25 “thought leaders” from among our many stakeholders and constituents to join our Board of Directors and senior staff for two days of intensive thinking, sharing and prayer. This “Future Summit” took place in April, 2012. During the Summit, we considered Wheat Ridge’s history of service from our roots as the Wheat Ridge Tuberculosis Sanitarium to our current work as seeders of new health and human care ministries. We explored the challenges and opportunities that face our organization today and into the future. And we identified trends in the church and world that may impact the future pursuit of our mission. It was an honor to be in the room with gifted leaders and to listen and learn as they shared their ideas, expertise and hopes for the mission of Wheat Ridge. A specific product from this gathering was a collection of seven “common ground statements” that represent the participants' best collective thoughts about what the staff and board should consider as we planned for the future. These statements served as an important base for the ideas and plans that we developed. Words of support and encouragement from the participants have continued since the time of the Summit, serving as a great reminder to our staff and board of the thousands of individuals and organizations who care about our mission and who want to be involved in pursuing it.
Leaders – If you have engaged in a planning process at your workplace or in your church, you know how important it is to have skilled consultants and facilitators guide the work. Extraordinary leaders blessed us throughout our planning process. Thanks to Chuck Dull, Les Stroh and Kurt Bickel for guiding us through the rigors of the Future Summit. Another very talented consultant, Gary Hubbell, used his unique talent and experience to help us develop our ideas and plans during the months following the summit. The chair of our Board of Directors, Kevin Boettcher, invested a great deal of his time and generously shared his expertise in strategic planning to help our plan come together. Likewise, our board members provided input and insight along the way, especially those who served on our board planning committee. Last, but not least, I have been inspired, but not surprised, by the tireless efforts of our staff planning team to develop a focused, creative and realistic plan for our future.
Prayer – As we were in the midst of our planning efforts last summer, I was contacted by Rev. John Denninger who, until recently, served as Senior Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia (John now serves as President of the Southeastern District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod). For years, the Southeastern District Board of Directors has wrapped their decision-making in a very intentional discipline of focused prayer. This process has had a powerful impact on their work and they were looking for opportunities to share the process with other ministry organizations. John and Phil Morrow, a past chair of the Southeastern District board, generously agreed to come to our board meeting to help use focused prayer in our discernment efforts. John and Phil drew from specific portions of Scripture as the basis for meditation and prayer before, during and after the discernment and decision process. Instead of asking for God’s blessing after we made decisions, we asked God to speak to us during our discernment process. Doing so was a profound experience. It changed our discussions and helped us stay focused on discerning God’s Will for our ministry. Our board decided that this important process needs to be a central component of future meetings. Indeed, focused prayer was used again this past April as our board prayerfully committed to a plan for the future.
Ingredients God provides: people, community and prayer. God’s resources offered and invested for the sake of seeding new ministries of health and hope. Awesome!