It’s no small task to keep our One Challenge leadership well connected as a global agency. To address this challenge, twice each year our six area directors (ADs) travel from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia to meet. Also twice-a-year, in March and September, our One Challenge U.S. Board of Directors meets in Colorado Springs. This year our One Challenge President Dr. Dean Carlson scheduled the Area Director meetings so that they overlapped for a few days with the Board meetings, March 3-5.
“This is a time of change and relationships are paramount. We are moving toward vision and some decisions will be hard, but good. We need to come together first in friendship,” says Dean of the reason behind the overlap of One Challenge leadership meetings. He went on to emphasize that the goal is to be operating together as a kingdom community. Merging the meetings occasionally creates opportunity for greater awareness to face challenges together. “We want to build trust, especially in light of tough financial decisions. We’re one team committed to reach the same goal,” Dean continues.
One board member said, “It is always a powerful time when different groups of leaders connect. That was definitely true of the recent board/area director time. The synergy of leaders from multiple parts of the OC movement gathering, sharing, praying and collaborating will do a lot to move the movement forward.”
One Challenge Leadership Meetings
For their twice-a-year meetings, our six area directors gather once-a-year in Colorado Springs and once-a-year somewhere else in the world. One area director comments, “We have a weekly call, but that doesn’t get to the same level as when we are face to face, having shared experience … and through extended sharing and prayer.” Another says of the bi-annual meetings, “I have always greatly appreciated our meetings, and am glad they have been twice a year. There are subtle and not so subtle limits on online communication.
Meeting each year at the U.S. office is great because it enhances our bridging function as ADs. Meeting each year on one of the fields is also very valuable – we gain new insight into each others’ lives and ministries.” In spite of the added expense, gathering in person is very helpful in maintaining a sense of community among the wide-spread area directors, spouses included. It also helps nurture a sense of alignment and accountability to the One Challenge vision and mission. Joining the area directors this time were two new area directors who will be succeeding the current ones.
Bringing the OC Board Together
The main role of the OC U.S. Board of Directors is to secure the future of the organization. This means positioning the ministry for the greatest long-term contribution to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The Board accomplishes this through the strategic planning for adequate resources (finances, personnel, partnerships, etc.) and through the provision of strategic leadership for the most effective long term strategy. Joining in the meetings this round were a few potential board members. Before making a decision to join, it was important for them to experience the leadership and gain a fuller understanding of OC.
Positive Connections in Shared Meetings
The response of the area directors to the shared meeting times was also very positive:
“Most (board members) were new to us.” said R. “It was really good to hear their own stories, and to see the quality of people the LORD has brought to us. Wow! Not just meetings, but fellowship over meals was very valuable too.”
L added, “It was so helpful to meet with the board, to put names with faces, to be able to share our lives and stories. I think it was beneficial to them, to be encouraged in hearing firsthand about what is happening around OC’s world. For us, I think it was helpful to hear their hearts, hear about why they are passionate about OC, why they volunteer so many hours to serve us. Knowing that they, too, are making sacrifices for the kingdom, for OC, for all of us was very special to me.”
All concluded the time that the ADs and the board members had together was very valuable. The ADs saw the roles and responsibilities of the board more clearly, and the board members saw theirs as well. “For me it was good to have a bit of insight into the complexities they face in the US context,” commented one AD.
There was a strong sense of connection and mutual appreciation. Especially meaningful for all were the times of prayer for one another in small groups, board members for field personnel and vice versa.
Dean concluded, “Friday night worship time was powerful. It was a time of enjoying the presence of the Lord together. We all felt that God met with us.” Going forward Dean plans to bring the two groups together again, perhaps in a couple of years.