Over the past number of years I have had the privilege of spending time with pastors, staffs and sharp lay leaders discussing how the VP3 processes have created a good sort of stirring. The amount of consistent lives changed has cued them to scootch up to their balcony to get a broader perspective of what is happening within their setting regarding the formation of their adults.
When I met with these good people, I would often think of other good people who were hanging out in their particular balcony, and believed that somehow these same perspective seekers could learn from one another. As good as it was to visit each of their settings offering a question or word of advice, I felt the nudge to invite them to come together away from their setting in order to pay attention to what they noticed from their balconies, to trust what they found themselves caring about, and to come up with a way to address what they now noticed from the balcony.
Vista means “a big and beautiful view.” We felt it an appropriate name for this new initiative at VP3 of inviting small groups of sharp people to our table for some great conversations and learning around what they find themselves deeply caring about.
Each participant brings along a “case” from their context that reflects a concern they’ve identified that needs some attention. Their task in this case cohort way of learning is to develop a change strategy to address their concern. I was praying for five persons who would be willing to embark on an eighteen month Vista journey. Twelve (interesting number) remarkable people signed up! The bad news in the good news is we now had to develop two cohorts in order to give ample time for each person to unpack their concern, and for both Pam Edwards (gifted VP3 staff person at helping make systemic connections from each person’s caring) and myself to offer some zinger questions and thoughts.
The crew below is the “Blue” cohort: Me, then Jodi Gras (Paramount, CA), Darcy Smith (Kelowna, BC), Charlie Contreras (Dyer, IN), Doug Tensen, (Cedar Falls, IA), in the left chair Jason Koleba (Cochrane, AB), Shane Pearsall (Calgary, AB) and Pam Edwards (Waterloo, IA).
The “Red” cohort is made up of the following: Me, then Ron Rouintree (Huntington Beach, CA), John Messer (Lake Okoboji, IA), Mike Altena (Laverne, MN), Tom Rich (Noblesville, IN), in left chair Rick Ahrens (Lake Okoboji, IA), Pam Edwards (Waterloo, IA), and Keith Comp (Noblesville, IN).
Trust me, you would want to spend time with any of these amazing people. Each one has a depth of love for the Lord, a heart that cares for the people within their setting, and an inspiring vision for what it now means for their church to pay attention to the formation of their adults…becoming the Kingdom-way sort of church they know is possible.
The Vista process is guided by three themes of learning: (1) Think: What do you find yourself caring about?, (2) Design: What needs to change?, and (3) Implement: How will you put feet to your solution?
Each of the themes and questions above are processed together in person over a three-day period, with pre and post work needing to be done in preparation for our modular time together. Much of the time in person is spent in good conversation around each person’s central concern–or their “caring.”
Developing an over-arching way of thinking about adult formation, mobilizing an existing church toward missional communities, enhancing a mentoring culture, creating a learning center are just some of the projects being tackled through the Vista process.
If you find yourself on your balcony and caring deeply about how things could be different, the Vista process may be worth investigating. Let me know your thoughts…firstname.lastname@example.org.