"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
An amazing meeting recently took place. Our world, our country, your city and mine all need more amazing meetings or, as Dr. Seuss says, nothing is going to get better. So let's pick the meeting apart to see why it earns such a lofty description—and gather up pieces for use in other settings.
First, a summary to explain what happened:
A group that represented a handful of churches from across the Atlanta area gathered to discuss a shared vision for reaching local at-risk children with life-giving relationships. This mixed cluster of paid staff and avid volunteers agreed to a big next step: to double their size by summer. Their respective positions on org charts meant nothing; their seat at the table meant everything. Through personal connections, networking, or any other reasonable method, they will invite other churches into a fresh and sorely needed movement they hope to create. As the group shared stories, challenges, and successes, pulses collectively accelerated around passion to extend God's love and hope to children desperate for someone to care about them.
Now for picking out pieces, shared in the order described above.
Piece 1: Embrace the big issue = amazing!
A group that represented a handful of churches from across the Atlanta area gathered to discuss a shared vision for reaching local at-risk children with life-giving relationships.
Multiple churches coming together with a vision happens often these days. Everyone loves children and has seen heart-wrenching pictures of kids, so nothing new there, either. So focus on the words "life-giving relationships."
This group knows that many children, too many, lack a positive adult relationship. More than school supplies, another reading program, or new playground equipment (all good things, by the way), at-risk children need someone who personally cares about them a whole awful lot. Without such a person, these kids will remain at-risk. So the Atlanta group decided to embrace the big issue children face instead of settling for little ideas.
Piece 2: Passion trumps position = amazing!
This mixed cluster of paid staff and avid volunteers agreed to a big next step; to double their size by summer. Their respective positions on org charts meant nothing; their seat at the table meant everything.
I once hosted a ministry conference session that featured an interview with the director of volunteerism for the American Red Cross, the largest volunteer organization at that time. She shared an interesting organizational structure component; every staff position was made up of an equally empowered pair of people—one paid, the other a volunteer. Apparently, a paycheck might mean less than some might imagine. The group in Atlanta welcomed input and assistance from anyone with zeal to tackle a big challenge.
Piece 3: Progress wins the day = amazing!
Through personal connections, networking, or any other reasonable method, they will invite other churches into a fresh and sorely needed local movement they hope emerges.
The group knows they have an appealing program, a needed solution, an approach easy to replicate. They also realize that keeping it to themselves—or simply piloting rather than providing—would deflate enthusiasm and prolong any potential momentum. So they chose to boldly move forward and share what they have with others right now.