God is Still Speaking

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

As I approach the two-year mark of my call to be CHHSM president and CEO, I reflect on our work to create a clearer understanding of who we are as a ministry of the United Church of Christ.

That work led us to the creation of a new value proposition for what membership looks for from us. It has also taken us down the path of reframing our mission, vision and value statements. The next step will take place when the board meets in November to craft a strategic plan for the next year.

This has been exciting, generative work that solidified our understanding – as members, board members and staff – of why we exist and what we bring to the health and human service ministry of the UCC and the wider church.

Our members belong to CHHSM because we assist them in being inspired leaders with shared values who have a bold vision. We all share the faith-based heritage of the UCC’s response to a variety of social justice issues. Our ministries continue to thrive today because we are a part of a national passion-driven movement that has evolved from our early days to meet the ever-changing needs of our society.

We are a true community, much like a church, that supports, shares with and teaches each other. We are constantly seeking innovative ways to serve our clients, new ways to shape future leaders and focus on the “why” we are a ministry – all while remaining vibrant and sustainable.

We will stretch the work of CHHSM as an organization through the strategic planning process to ensure we meet the needs of our present membership while we continue to create an inclusive association that welcomes health and human service ministries of the future.

CHHSM’s staff will communicate this work as we help members become the voice of the UCC’s health and human service ministry. We begin this process with our participants in the Nollau Institute leadership formation experience. Our current class will present workshops that offer their ideas on the importance of servant leadership in today’s workplace at CHHSM’s 79th Annual Meeting. Learn more about how you can join the Nollau Institute here (link).

This work continues every time we gather in our affinity groups or at the CHHSM annual meeting, which will be held in Milwaukee, March 2-4, 2017 (link). The 2017 meeting theme is “Our Bold Vision in Word and Deed,” and draws on the words from Psalm 19: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

The ministries of CHHSM do wonderful service in the name of Jesus Christ. But how do you talk about it? How do you share the message of your mission with your neighbors, partners and communities? When the people you serve share their experiences with others, what message are they giving? These are important considerations for faith-based health and human service nonprofits because the way we communicate with ourselves and others sets the stage in our communities.

Tailoring messages for churches, clients, partners, and friends is nuanced and often difficult work. Framing our communications in the language of mission, vision and values makes that work easier. These are the ways we are working to be the voice of the passion-driven movement of the health and human service ministries of the UCC.

How are you doing this? No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, God is still speaking through all of us. What will you say?

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