2021 May

Equipping Leaders to Sustain Anabaptist Values

By Mim Shirk, President/CEO, Anabaptist Providers Group

Leaders of Anabaptist nonprofit organizations are responsible to maintain organizational cultures that align with the organization’s mission and values. Regardless of how familiar the leaders are with Anabaptism, keeping mission and values alive happens only with intention.

Here are three ways organizations can equip leaders for an Anabaptist values-driven culture:

  1. An organization where I serve on the board noted our market had shifted from serving mostly Anabaptists and many employees come from non-Anabaptist backgrounds. We felt good about our mission and values statements, but we wondered if there is a shared understanding of what we intend those values to look like in our day-to-day operations. The board took the lead in crafting a document that linked key policies and practices to our values, institutionalizing “why we do things this way.
  2. In this tight labor environment, retaining good employees is a priority. Anabaptist organizations committed to valuing others can be explicit in inviting team members’ input, leading to new insights or flexibility that make people want to stay. Leaders who do this regularly create a culture of participation that makes team members feel valued.
  3. Make leadership development an ongoing practice as part of operations. When a team is making an important decision, bring out the values statements. I know one organization that has a core value of kindness. How would using “kindness” as a lens shape a decision to lay off staff or relocate a group of residents? This is an opportunity to practice with emerging leaders about relying on values when making hard decisions.

In Matthew 5 – 7, the Sermon on the Mount contains Jesus’ instructions to his disciples. It’s a comprehensive overview of Christ-centered living. The passage ends with these verses: “24 Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25 Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.” Matt. 7:24-25 Mission and values are the solid rock that organizations are built on. Used regularly, they can be a valuable resource for leadership development.

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