Surveys, vision and leadership

4 07 2008

So why am I sending out surveys to our leaders? You may be wondering if you missed a meeting where it was decided to do a bunch of surveys? Well, perhaps I should have explained more on the front end why the surveys – if you felt imposed upon please forgive me. Here are my thoughts/presumptions as to why the surveys:

• God’s vision for a local body is at least confirmed – if not discovered – within that body of believers – hopefully including the leaders.
• We need to stop operating on vague presumptions. Our relational cohesiveness is fragmented and we infrequently disclose what we really think and feel to each other.
• The results of the surveys will hopefully provide a motivation to talk about the “elephant under the rug” – or at least our sense of where we should be headed and our willingness to sacrifice to get there.

Please also don’t think I am claiming to have the corner on this form of dialogue. I certainly can’t think of all the questions or even categories of questions that should be put on the table. So please jump in – send out your own survey – invite us to your blog – or just simply send a group email – you don’t need to get permission.

My real life experiences of being stuck in the mud have always required more than one person to get out of the jeep, get muddy and push. I don’t think our current situation as leaders is much different.




One response

4 07 2008

I’m a big fan of surveys, especially those that stay focused on a single issue. I’ve been reenergized with Bob’s recent commitment to elder-led small groups but that certainly isn’t the answer to all our problems. One fundamental consideration that has yet to be addressed is how do we, as a church, fulfill the Great Commission? That has many layers but my concern is wide variety of opinions within our leadership as to who we should be reaching with the gospel. I can identify at least three distinct philosophies at Wildwood, based on geographic proximity alone, but first some background. Being born and raised in Tallahassee, I watched our community change from a sleepy southern college town that hustled and bustled twice a year; once when when the legislature came to town and again when the Seminoles played football. The number of college students, post-college and related cultures are everywhere now except north of I-10. “White flight” from low-rent apartments, crime, noisy parties and city buses has sent thousands of old yuppies and semi-retired WASPS like me to the high-rent district. Heck, I even moved my business north of the tracks and celebrate the construction of almost every new eatery north of the “big barrier”. Wildwood has followed the same course, starting from a downtown church north to Meridian Road. The next move was north again to Ox Bottom and to find the 55 acres we think we need to reach the lost; well you see the pattern. The new location, just the the current one, will be smack in the middle of the only part of Tallahassee that is not racially and economically diverse which means if we define our community as a 2-3 mile radius we will have to focus our evangelistic efforts on upper-middle class white people. Some fraction of our leaders are all for this, believing that a certain types of church structures and programs will atract like-minded people (like-minded except for Christ, of course). “Let the Centerpoints, Door of Hopes and E-3 churches reach those south of I-1o folks” is a common mantra of this group. There is another group within our leadership that takes the opposite track, believing that our mission is to all the nations of the world. (Or at least those where we have relationships already established) This groups really likes GO part of Matt. 28:19. The last group is harder to define but I think it consists of guys like me who want Wildwood to stay fairly close to home, reaching out to the complete diversity that is Leon County. I could go for a facility that is known for its ministry to the poor, the non-white, clueless college kids, fixed income seniors, public housing, etc.. I’m not sure what that looks like but my hope would be that people would actually drive the 15-20 minutes it might take on Sunday morning to hear the Word preached and fellowship with those stuffy white folks who brought them food the week before. (spiritual or physical as the case may be). If they started bringing their kids we would certainly need a larger facility. Finally, I wish I knew how many leaders there were in each of these groups and if Bob has any vision or one or the other. Until then, I wait for the fog to lift.

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