Are You Making Progress on the Issues that You Care About?

Clouds in northeastern Kansas
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One of the Kansas Leadership Center’s Civic Leadership Principles is:

Our own defaults, how we would usually or unconsciously react or intervene in a situation, can be significant barriers to making progress on the issues we care about.

There is a lot to be said for this principle as well as the others in the list, but today I wanted to focus on the final part of the sentence – “making progress on the issues that we care about.” I have realized that this is universally applicable.

Everyone wants to make progress on the issues that they care about.

It may be:

  • Foster children in the community
  • A new worship service
  • Development of one’s children
  • Creating an effective committee structure
  • Living into God‘s dream for one’s life
  • Availability of clean drinking water
What issues do you care about and are you making progress on them?

Pollyanna Principles for The UMC

Several months ago, I read the post The Pollyanna Principles for Social Change, which lead me to The Pollyanna Principles. From the website:

The Pollyanna Principles

The Ends:

1. We accomplish what we hold ourselves accountable for.
2. Each and every one of us is creating the future, every day, whether we do so consciously or not.

The Means:

3. Everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent, whether we acknowledge that or not.
4. “Being the change we want to see” means walking the talk of our values.
5. Strength builds upon our strengths, not our weaknesses.
6. Individuals will go where systems lead them.

While these principles were not primarily designed for religious organizations, I believe that there are clear correlations to the United Methodist Church. My response to each of the above principles in light of The United Methodist Church:

  1. Whether it is worship attendance, budget, baptisms, confirmation, small groups or some other metric, whatever one measures in the local church becomes that around which efforts focus for continued development. Ultimately we should be holding ourselves accountable to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  2. Each person that is part of any United Methodist congregation has influence in the future of the denomination. While the official decisions from General Conference prove influential on a macro scale, the experience and sharing of any local community shapes the understanding of the entire denomination for that area. For example, a church that is thriving and individuals are sharing good news with their neighbors will create a future for the denomination in that area that is positive. In the aggregate, the denomination is shaped.
  3. Related to point 2, the joys and concerns are shared. As in the body of Christ, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
  4. If one hopes to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, one must live as a disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  5. This is true for the UMC as for nearly any organization.
  6. There is an interesting connection between individuals and systems. In connection with point 2, individuals can influence a system, however ultimately it is most likely that someone will guide others in the way that they have been guided.

What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about all this?

The Leadership Summit 2009

This will be the third year that I am going to be a part of The Leadership Summit at Resurrection, which is serving as one of the satellite locations.

This is a two day event that originates from Willow Creek’s central campus in the Chicago area. Resurrection will receive a live satellite feed as will multiple other locations. It is generally an encouragement and I appreciate the opportunity to receive encouragement and some good leadership principles.

I hope to tweet some of the event using the #tls09 hashtag.

Will you be attending The Leadership Summit this year? Which location?