Comments on VP3 webinar “Cultivating a Culture of Walking Alongside-ness”
Written by Rob Loane on February 24, 2014
Last Thursday Pam Edwards, Randy Reese and I had a conversation around the question “How does one cultivate a culture of walking alongside-ness?” This question has been growing in our minds for sometime. We hear so many stories of individuals transformed by the Spirit within the context of our VP3 processes. We have such a deep sense of gratitude for the thousands of people over the past 14 years who have walked through our processes because someone in their local setting–a pastor, a lay leader, a friend–cared deeply about them and invested in their development and maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16). Beyond these stories of individual life change, we are beginning to pay attention more closely to the factors that lead to a cultural change within the local church community. How does the concern for investing in people’s lives grow beyond a concern of one or two individuals in local church to becoming characteristic of the climate of the church as a whole? Or put another way, how does a local church foster a leadership culture of people investment?
So the format of our conversation on Thursday was captured in a webinar format, recorded and posted on our website if you want to listen in. Here is the link: Cultivating a Culture of Walking Alongside-ness. What we were not able to do is record the insights and observations of the 50-some other participants in the webinar. We received a lots of comments along the way, ranging from the humorous to the profound. I have included here several of them that grabbed our attention during the webinar. The webinar conversation was structured by three questions. I have included the comments under the respective section in which we received them.
Joe wrote, “Henri Nouwen and W.S. Coffin shared statement: ‘The only ones who have a right to speak to the many, are those who have, first of all, cared enough to ‘care for one person at a time’!!’ Many so-called leaders want to bypass the one-on-one-caring and go for the buzz of addressing the big crowd. But real integrity comes best when you ‘care for one person at a time’—those are the persons who have credibility to then address the many.”
Jeff wrote about Pam’s insights on focus and rhythm in a leaders life, “I have found that “balance” is not a helpful (or biblical) word, but rhythm is. Focus on “yes or no” is part of that, but with that focus also comes rhythms of intensity and rest, of action and consideration (contemplation).”
Cathy wrote regarding cultivating communities mindset—“We cannot do what we have not seen, experienced and can observe ongoing. Nor can we give it away to others if we have not gotten it. So we need to begin doing and it will spread.”
Joe wrote, “Many pastors are exhausted and lonely, amidst ministering to many people, because they have overlooked the value and regular practice of solitude-and-prayer.”
“As pastors and church leaders, our ‘center-of-gravity’ must not reside in our God-given-talents-abilities-and-personal-charisma, but in our intimacy-journey-of-faith-and-formation-in-Jesus. Then and only then will our abilities, talents, mark ability, and charisma find their proper placement and be instruments of God’s providential purposes.”
Anthony wrote, “When Jesus calls the disciples away from the fishing nets to the practice of ‘fishing for humans,’ we get a picture of a call to inefficiency. Nets are easier. Relationships are more difficult, but more valuable.”
Dave wrote in response to what motivates a leader to begin really developing his or her culture. “It seems to me that question grows out of a leader’s soul crisis or quiet. No?”
Doug wrote, “Walking alongside-ness cannot be felt in its fullness by sitting across-ness. So many times we see mentoring as a meeting and in doing so we miss out on the more intenseness of doing/being together and speaking into the whole story for each other. This kind of togetherness is very challenging to achieve, give and receive.”
Matt wrote, “This conversation for church and how we structure our growth and connectedness is pretty big picture, strategy, tactical. What about stripping it down and even looking at the family as a place of beginnings in this? Can we create a culture of walking alongside-ness with our kids, modeling it from the beginning? It is a deeper and slower work, but long term has great outcome. Is the church teaching this in a child dedication setting, or parenting classes?”
Cathy wrote, “The paradigm shift of alongside needs a ruthless commitment at leadership levels to remove language that sets the current cultural bar for success-“being how many butts are in the pew or names on the roster or money coming in” as a measure to how great a leader you are to what is transforming in your life and in those you are discipling and in the lives of your followers.”
If you have the time I would encourage you to listen in on the whole webinar. We at VP3 are looking forward to further growing into this conversation and providing a more helpful approach and framework for cultivating a culture of people investment. Spirit of God be generous among us…
“As long as God’s word has been heard, Jesus encounters us in varied forms, seated around some very different tables. But we must pay attention because we are so forgetful. We need one another’s encouragement and listening ears so that we will remember what God has done and is doing in our world, in our communities and in our unique lives. There is a tremendous need today for people who will seriously consider Jesus’ gracious service in their lives. We must continually ask one another, How is God cultivating servant communities in our world today? How is God cultivating servant communities in our local communities?”
Reese & Loane Deep Mentoring:Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey, 202-203
Don Morrison On February 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm
I have not had a chance to listen to the webinar, but I am thunderstruck by Doug’s comment, “Walking alongside-ness cannot be felt in its fullness by sitting across-ness.” It’s been my observation that those who boldly move into the space between the two eventually become the most effective and beloved leaders for Christ. Michael Card’s mentor is a sterling example of this boldness.