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building a community to reach a community

Slow Down….Speed Up

You need to slow down in order to speed up. Some call it impatience. At times it is eagerness. Or just naive enthusiasm. Though one may not mean to be pushy, the person on the receiving end feels used rather than valued. When we enter with our agenda others quickly discern that they are expected to get with the program – our program. There’s a better way.

Recently Brad Smith, president of Bakke University ( which is training leaders for community transformation around the world, came to GFC to assist us as we explore best ways to expand our ministry into the Mountain View community. “Slowing down in order to speed up” was one of his key insights for us.

For three years we have sought to encourage the staff and students at Mountain View Elementary School by serving them in a variety of ways. We’ll continue to do so as we now expand more deliberately into the MV community itself. We learned that the kids are given access to a superb environment at the school for their education – some of the very best teachers and facilities in our area. Yet the chaos and uncertainty that characterizes the home-life of these children is the greatest barrier to their benefiting from these opportunities.

We need to move toward the more systemic problems that are causing such turmoil in these family units. It won’t be easy!

What would be easy for us is to call meetings, form a strategy, raise funds, recruit volunteers and implement our “solution” to the problem. What foolishness! Brad’s counsel is gold. Rather than jump to the STRATEGY and IDEA stage, we need to plunge into the LISTEN stage.

We need to slow down and listen. Listen to the single moms, the fostering grandparents, the incarcerated fathers. Listen to the pastors of churches in this community, to those who run the new community center, to police officers and business owners. Then move beyond the meeting and listening towards relationship. In other words just as we’ve carefully built presence and trust at the elementary school, we now need to start all over and start slow. It’s the fastest way to journey toward our future!

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Note: We just launched “Mountain View Insider” - a monthly E-Newsletter which will keep you posted on developments of our vision. If you want to receive our update please email us!

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