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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Embrace Messiness

November 9, 2020

Right now I’m in the middle of a busy season working with several churches on visioning and strategic planning. Typical organizations express vision in dry, bureaucratic language that gets stuffed in a file cabinet and forgotten. But that’s not our goal! We want to help churches develop an authentic and accessible set of core values . . . a “True North” the congregation can truly embody and embrace.

“Embrace Messiness” is a core value of University Place Presbyterian Church, which I worked with in a visioning process in 2013 and 2017. This applies to how the church handles the messiness of life – young families with messy kids, single parent homes devastated by divorce, or neighbors struggling with homelessness and addiction.

By embracing this core value, the church now has the largest preschool in Washington State, serves 3,000 meals per month to families in need, and has established a Safe Haven house for immigrants! As a result of aligning to their True North, Pastor Aaron Stewart reports worship attendance has increased dramatically for the first time in over a decade, with over 5,000 in attendance over a 7 day period (pre-pandemic).

When a church truly aligns . . . or re-aligns . . . to their True North, amazing things begin to happen.

-Kevin Graham Ford, Chief Catalyst, Leighton Ford Ministries

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