Michael J. Readinger

It’s the year 2020 and I just could not resist using the above title for my column this month. Yes, 20/20 vision implies that one has the ability to see clearly. That is what one might hope for and aspire to, but this column is actually about something else. Instead of looking at things as they are today, I want to shift the focus to what the world might look like in the future. During a generative session at the CHHSM Board of Directors meeting in November 2019, we talked about our current state of affairs. We can see where we are right now and that is important. Almost all the decisions we make are as a result of what we know and what we see today. But perhaps a better way of strategizing would be to change the focus and look ahead. Where are we going? What do we need to do to remain a relevant, sustainable and vibrant resource for our member organizations, the United Church of Christ and the wider Church? So, the CHHSM Board and Staff committed to an exploration of “Vision 2030.”

At the March 2020 Annual Gathering in Memphis, we will launch a series of collaborative and generative conversations with our constituents to determine what that future state might look like. We will utilize Appreciative Inquiry and Gracious Space models of uncovering the hopes and dreams of all who choose to participate in this vision quest. Following our time together in Memphis, we will hold a series of task force meetings, conduct some surveys and ask for as many pieces of input as we can gather and assimilate. Our focus will be on macro and micro forces impacting the economy, the environment, health and human services, the association industry and the wider Church.

All voices will be heard. Whether they are optimistic or not. Whether they are consonant or dissonant. Whether we like what we hear or not! We need to gather as much information as possible from our many and varied stakeholders. We have so much diversity in our network of members, their employees, their volunteers, and the people they serve. Please join in the conversation so we can assemble our collective voice and create a meaningful, inclusive and comprehensive “Vision 2030.”

Start thinking about your personal responses to these questions:

  • Where have you experienced the CHHSM Value Proposition of Inspired Leaders with Shared Values and a Bold Vision? What does CHHSM’s vision statement — Together we create a just, caring and compassionate world — really mean? What would that vision statement look like in the future?
  • What does the future of a faith-based association such as CHHSM look like?
  • What will your organization be doing differently in the future? What is one big idea that you would like to see your organization or community make into reality?
  • What is the future of the Church going to look like?

Think appreciatively and allow your vision to soar. Be free to envision the most important and transformational changes possible for the future of the world. Imagine what the world look would like and feel like if these changes came to be. Then, ask yourself, how might we adapt to these changes so we can remain relevant?

Say “what if” and “why not” instead of “how can we” or “we can’t.” Let’s create this “Vision 2030” together!