By George Bullard
A quote similar to this title can be found in many places attributed to various people. The exact quote and who said it first is not the point of this article. The meaning of the quote is the point.
To me it means that if you are willing to empower others who do same or similar work you do to serve the same or similar clients you serve, then your desire is for your current and future clients to succeed more than for you to succeed. If you have to be the one who is helping them succeed, then you have made yourself the client for the leaders, teams, or organizations with whom you are working.
In this article I choose to apply the meaning of this quote to those persons and organizations helping congregations achieve vitality and vibrancy as Christ-centered, faith-based communities. It really does not matter who gets the credit as long as congregations are empowered in response to God’s call upon their life and ministry.
As President of The Columbia Partnership [TCP] that is the stance we are taking with our new initiative called FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community. This is a learning community for congregational leaders plus the congregational champions who work with them as third-party providers in their effort to respond to God’s leading and to be on a purposeful, significant, and intentional spiritual and strategic journey.
Where does this quote come in? It comes in as we ask other third-party providers and their organizations to allow us to highlight their work and ministry, and present it to the learning community. It comes in when we connect congregational leaders with leading edge third-party providers to congregations to see if an empowering relationship can be formed with TCP or any of the third-party leaders and organizations we are highlighting.
If an increasing number of congregations are vital and vibrant in response to God’s call upon their ministry, then we are successful and I hope significant in the realm of Christian third-party providers.
In case you have not gotten it yet, what we want to accomplish is for congregations to be vital and vibrant, and we do not care who gets the credit. Admittedly there is both altruism and pragmatism in this focus.
Jim Collins and Succession Planning
A highly impactful continuing education experience I attended in 1996 involved Jim Collins of Built to Last, Good to Great, and Great by Choice fame speaking to the pastors of very large to mega congregations. The topic was succession planning.
Near the beginning of the day he said something like the following: “If building these great churches has been all about you, then do not worry about succession planning. But, if it has been all about the God you serve, then it is worth spending 20 years working on a succession plan.” That was a powerful statement to make to these leaders. It was also one that caused them to pause and think about the implications of this statement for their ministry.
To a certain degree the FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community is the initiation of a succession plan for The Columbia Partnership. Two years ago our board made the decision that TCP would not be a permanent organization. At some point in the future we will merge with or sell our assets and intellectual property to another third-party provider of services to congregations. Do not worry. This is not tomorrow. It is likely five or more years away.
Many third-party provider organizations continue to emerge. As the expression goes, “the woods are full of them”. More will be coming. Part of this is a reshuffling of how services are provided to congregations that is resulting from the lack of the shift of denominations to speak into the new realities of congregational services. Parachurch organizations are often providing more excellent services than can be offered by denominations with reduced staff and budgets for congregational services.
There Must Be an Economic Engine to Empower FaithSoaring
Spoiler Alert: Yes there is a sales pitch in this section.
To move into the arena of helping congregations connect with the best possible resources for FaithSoaring, wherever they may be found, it is necessary to focus time and energy on building a high quality learning community that really helps congregations and their leaders address significant opportunities and challenge to becoming FaithSoaring.
For that to occur long-term there must be an economic engine that drives it. At this juncture there are two. First, is that participation in the FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community is not free. There is a cost. Right now the cost is $99 per 12 months.
As one of our learning community members said to us recently, “This is a great deal. The continuing education possibilities for $99 make this the best money I can spend.” What she is referring to is the impact of some of our key services over a period of 12 months such as the following:
● 22 Conference Call Dialogues with third party providers and congregational case study leaders.
● 22 Webinars on various subject that empower FaithSoaring.
● 44 reproducible articles on various subjects that empower FaithSoaring.
● See other benefits by downloading the chart of benefits.
If you would like to connect with this learning community click HERE to register and pay your $99 fee. Join the 90 people who have already connected.
Second, is that we are seeking sponsoring organizations. These are organizations who will bring a minimum of seven people to the learning community at a discounted rate. These organizations become part of an advisory board or editorial board for the learning community. If your organization is interested in being a sponsor send an e-mail to Client.Care@TheColumbiaPartnership.org or call 803.622.00923.