I just spent 16 hours traveling in order to spend 18 hours in Springfield, MO.
First, an apology to all my Springfield friends, but I literally had zero free minutes the entire time that I was there (I am now at an age where I view sleep as non‐optional). I’ll try to carve out a more flexible schedule on future trips.
Which leads me to the point of this post: I’m on Chi Alpha’s newly formed Advisory Leadership Team (ALT). I would have preferred to be in the CTRL or DEL group, but ALT is where they stuck me. 😉
This group is comprised of three local Chi Alpha leaders (presently me, Dick Herman and Mark Briley) along with the resident national Chi Alpha staff and meets every two months to advise the national director on strategic decisions and policy issues.
This is my own quirky and highly subjective take on things.
Things I Learned:
- Scott Martin had to fight to keep the World Missions Summit from opening with a human video (and one involving swords, at that). We all owe him a tremendous debt.
- The biggest Chi Alpha ministries are:
- 600 students at San Diego State University with Sue Hegle.
- 430 at Western Washington University with Brady Bobbink.
- 275 at the University of Central Arkansas with Matt Carpenter.
- ??? at University of Louisiana‐Lafayette with Eric Treuil (his numbers aren’t on file, but I estimate his ministry probably fits here on the list).
- 190 at Florida State University with Mario Solari.
- 175 at the University of Minnesota‐Duluth with Chuck Haavik.
- 175 at Tennessee Tech University with Jonathan Scales.
- 160 at Murray State with Mark Randoll.
- 150 at Missouri State University with Noble Bowman.
- Most Chi Alpha groups meet on Thursday or Tuesday at 7pm.
- Only 19% of Chi Alpha students have an Assemblies of God background.
- Chi Alpha at Yale University saw 40 students get saved last year. Big props to Andy Cunningham.
Things We Discussed There Which I Am Also Free To Discuss Here:
- Filling out the annual Chi Alpha census needs to be part of the annual affiliation process. Not filling it out (and not affiliating) will be grounds for having your paycheck withheld, just as with our monthly financial reports. Also, this needs to be doable online.
- We spent a lot of time talking about Chi Alpha’s decision‐making process and organizational structure. There’s a lot of that I can’t comment on yet because our National Director is going to be talking to many people one on one to explain things to them. Here are things I think I can safely say:
- Chi Alpha doesn’t exist in a vacuum: we’re embedded in the Assemblies of God and are absolutely governed by its constitution, bylaws, and policy manuals. The most important takeaway from that is that the National Director is pretty much the pope of Chi Alpha when it comes to national decisions (as opposed to district and local decisions).
- In addition it is helpful to realize that there are four tiers (for lack of a better word) of leadership within Chi Alpha.
- The National Director
- National Staff
- Translocal Influencers (Area Directors, CMIT Directors, DXARs, national Resource Personnel, etc). This is the most confusing, because most of the groups at this level are entangled (almost everyone who serves in one of these roles also serves in at least one other translocal capacity) and there’s not really a hierarcy among them (for example, CMIT directors are subordinate to DXARs in certain respects but not others and CMIT directors are more influential within Chi Alpha than DXARs). Realizing that they are all in roughly the same tier of leadership (which they express in very different domains) is helpful when trying to figure out how this beast called Chi Alpha actually works.
- Local Staff
- Functionally, each level has autonomy within their assigned level of responsibility (for example, no one can tell a local staffer what to preach on any given week). Micromanaging is the root of all kinds of evil.
- We really need to define for each group exactly what decisions they are empowered to make without fear of their decisions being meddled with. We also need to clarify who reports to whom. This has to be in a public written document that everyone can look at.
- The real challenge that we face is trust. My own take on it: many of the tier 3 leadership lack confidence in tiers 1 and 2. Some lack trust in the competence of the top tier leadership and others lack trust in the character of the top tier leadership (update: I do not mean that they lack trust completely; rather, I mean that they lack complete trust–a nontrivial difference). Most Tier 4 leaders seem unaware of this dynamic–they tend to hold the Tier 3, 2, and 1 leadership in a certain amount of awe and imagine that they’re all best friends. Many of them are good friends, and almost all like one another and are committed to working together effectively. But there’s still a breakdown in trust between the national leaders and the rest. (update: I wrote an article explaining that this is a tendency intrinsic to federal governance)
- We need a national representative to serve our student‐led groups. We’ve invited Dave Short to fill this position (contingent on his district’s approval).
- The probable (but by no means certain) evolution of the ALT will inlcude all the Area Directors along with a non‐DXAR non‐CMIT Director rep from their region. Sort of like the General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God.
Anyway, I put all this online for two reasons:
- As a local campus representative I feel an obligation to let the people I’m representing know what’s going on. As long as it’s not confidential I’ll talk about it freely. If it is confidential I’ll tell you as much as I can.
- To ask for feedback. You can either comment on this post or email me directly. I’ll be sure to post the agenda for the next meeting once I get it so you can give me input on that heading into it.