It has been said that “traditional historical revivals built on past successes.” Starting with this post, we will attempt to recall successful activities in the past to remind our current officers and guide the future leaders of our organizations. In the case of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA), the breakthroughs undertaken by the association were largely attributed to the formulation of vision-mission statement and strategic thrusts.
I can still recall the participatory process we underwent using the “Appreciative Inquiry” (AI) approach. The term was first used by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva for the Board of Governors of the Cleveland Clinic. The report created such a powerful and positive stir that the Board called for ways to use this method with the whole group practice. From the website of the Appreciative Inquiry Commons we can find the interesting AI story.
On the other hand, Richard Seel, an ordained minister in the Church of England and a freelance writer and magazine editor offers a concise introduction to the theory and practice of AI in his Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry. He started to trace the reason why change initiatives does not pick up. Either, people are not involved or such initiative bring up so many negative feelings. Appreciative Inquiry takes a different approach. It explores the positive aspects in organization and uses that as a foundation for future development. A life-affirming approach Appreciative Inquiry builds on what is positive in organizational life. It seeks out stories of success and tries to ignore stories of failure.
My first encounter with Appreciative Inquiry was through a good friend and partner in development, Bro. Andrew Escuban, who excitedly shared his new discovery fresh from a national seminar he attended. He was still the Area Manager of Share An Opportunity in Panay-Guimaras and Romblon at that time. Amused by the approach, I invited him to give lecture to the CBMA Board of Trustees and facilitate the first stage of the Strategic Plan of our association
Using the guide questions, we started the first activity of the 4-D cycle, i.e., Discover. We shared the best practices and positive experiences including what we valued most in the organization. Answers were written in meta cards, posted on the board and clustered later after discussion. It was an inspiring experience as there were no wrong answers.
Then, we proceeded to the next step – Dream for the association in coming three to five years. Similar process in stage one was done after each has done respective share. From the product of the first two stages, we were led to the next step. i.e. Design. Here, we spent some time in consolidating our answers into provocative statements. It was on this stage when we decided to end the session and scheduled another meeting to resume the process. This is another plus factor for the Appreciative Inquiry. It is flexible and not so taxing or burdensome. We enjoyed the process.
Having internalized the process, we took responsibility of the succeeding sessions and repeated the process in expanded group involving the committee members and chapter presidents. We also incorporated the inputs from both consultations and informal talks with pastors. Until finally, we presented the draft plan to the general assembly before the formulation of the final vision- mission statement and thrusts of the association. An in unconventional way, I formulated acronyms for an easy recall of the aforementioned areas.
For the first time in history or second time if records deceived us, we had collectively set a direction for our organization. We know it was not the ideal but the best we ever have. Thereafter, we made breakthroughs as the members support become constant for they have shared ownership of the vision-mission and thrust as these represent their aspirations.
Approved during the May 2005 Assembly, the following vision-mission statement was affirmed during the 2008 General Assembly
Vision: An organization committed to God’s calling of fostering mutual relationship and Solidarity towards Holistic ministry, Abundant life and Responsible stewardship (SHARE).
Mission: Holistic Enhancement of the Life of Pastors (HELP) characterized by exemplary obedience to Mission, ever conscious of their Identity as servants of God, skillful in Networking and partnership for Integrated Services among themselves and towards Total ministry with Enabling skills in Resource generation and other mobilization endeavors (MINISTER).
MINISTER also serves as the paradigm framework of the Association’s program thrusts, as follows: Ministerial identity, Institute, Networking, Integrated services, Spirituality, Team work, Entrepreneurship, Resource management.
Under the slogan SHARE, HELP, MINISTER, our association has soared to unprecedented heights. Summing up the vision-mission statement and paradigm thrusts, the slogan captured the ideas, needs, aspirations, of pastors. It has provided the direction of the association which broke the cyclic tradition and set the foundation for continuity.