A strategic part of leadership is knowing things need to change and the ability to navigate it. Often it is said that the most important characteristic to making change is having the courage to make the shifts. But I would suggest listening is just as important because it gives you a guide as to what needs to change and when.
I have served in the capacity of senior director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A. for just over five years. While serving as a Chi Alpha missionary for 27 years, I had been listening to our missionaries, leaders in Chi Alpha and The General Council, and strategic partners.
Listening gave me a window into how people perceived Chi Alpha at the local and national levels. Most importantly, I listened to the Holy Spirit. I knew I needed to clearly hear from Him to have the guidance in the areas that needed a change in Chi Alpha as a Movement.
I will highlight two changes I feel have deeply impacted Chi Alpha. Our first significant change made five years ago was a set of new leadership values in which we would process our speech, behavior, and attitude. These new
values—honor, respect, unity, and prayer—were consistently and frequently articulated and repeated to our national Chi Alpha Movement. Our desire was that these values would assist us in walking in a godly posture and produce fruit of the Holy Spirit. The change was efficacious.
The second change revolves around religious liberty. In recent years, universities across the nation implemented policies that all registered student organizations could not “discriminate” due to religious belief in selecting their leadership. What this meant for Chi Alpha is that our groups would be forced to permit a non-Christian to serve as a student leader, leading our prayer, Bible studies, and worship.
We would not compromise our position that to lead a Christian organization, you needed to be a Christian. The California State University system disagreed with us and we were swiftly derecognized and kicked off California State University-Stanislaus.
This led us to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to meet with congressmen and in multiple state congressional committee hearings. We were eventually permitted back on campus. and became a leader in protecting other campus groups. We also drafted an official belief document, best practices document, and added national standards and safeguards to our local ministry constitutions.
To request a copy of our booklet, Fifty Changes in 5 Years: 2014-2019 go to chialpha.com/50changes to get a good read on the miracles and strategic shifts that have taken place. Thank you for partnering with us in these changes!