It’s Wednesday morning, May 9. I just arrived at the office to write this blog after our annual Seattle Urban Academy (SUA) fundraising banquet at Benaroya Hall. Over 245 people heard the stories of three students who have had life transforming experiences through their involvement with SUA. This is a high school for youth at-risk with a faculty (one of which is a Fulbright scholar) and an administration that not only are great educators, but show up every day with a deep, genuine love for the students.
96% of SUA seniors graduate from high school. 89% go on from SUA to college, trade school or sustained employment. You only get this kind of outcome when you have people who are genuinely called by God to do their work, and therefore are gifted—and equipped—to do the work.
This is what CRISTA is all about. The CRISTA family of ministries serve people around the world through excellence in education, senior living, media and global relief and development. The CRISTA mission is carried out by highly professional, committed followers of Jesus Christ expressing their love for Him.
We want to continue to grow closer to Christ and grow in our ability to do His work in practical and life-changing ways in every one of our ministries. If we are called by God, I believe we should strive to be the very best at whatever we do. No mediocre work by His followers!
Last week we gathered 93 of our leaders for our annual three-day training session. Every year, this is one of our most important events. We invited Bill Robinson, President Emeritus of Whitworth University, to speak to us about leadership. This topic selection came out of a critical look at feedback received from our staff. Our goal for the time was to, as the leadership group, become 100% transparent and clear about what we expect of ourselves as leaders and how we can communicate that expectation to the 2,000 staff serving so enthusiastically in each of our seven different ministries.
It will take a few months to finish the process and I will make sure to keep you posted via this blog. I am grateful for the unity and commitment God is building through these great leaders He has brought to CRISTA.
We ended the training with the below quote from Henri Nouwen that exemplifies the kind of leaders we want to be.
“Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are ‘subject’ to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose ‘subjects’ we are willing to be. It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.”
More than ever, I am determined to continue building leaders of compassion here at CRISTA.