A Community of Transformation By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
Stewarding A Community of Transformation
Healthy, thriving, and responsive are many of the latest buzzwords used to describe a positive organizational community or environment. These adjectives capture what is most true about organizations, churches, companies, and ministries. They are human – living, breathing – heart, mind, soul, flesh. They are us. Good leaders steward wisely the real humanity present in the organizations they lead. This means they recognize each individual as valued, purposed, unique, and loved AND, likewise, the corporate whole – valued, purposed, and loved. We are one, and we are many. We are whole, and we are parts. And who we are individually impacts who we are as a community.
Paul’s use of the human body for the Church is fitting. His analogy anchors the true nature of who the Church is – humanity. We need this reminder in all of our organizations and corporations today. If we forget that corporately we are a body, then we forget that together we are image-bearers – together we have a soul. And what does the soul of our organization say about who we are and how we are doing?
When we reduce our analogies of organizational life to widgets and mechanisms, we disrupt a vital part of individual soul transformation. God’s design for us is not a singular, insular reflection of His likeness and image. God’s design for humanity is the multitude – the community – connected and joined. Good leaders steward organizational life toward the Spirit’s collective renewing of the mind, toward the corporate bearing of the Spirit’s fruit. Individual sanctification is stunted if communal transformation isn’t cultivated.
I believe that integrity is one of the highest pursuits of organizational life. Integrity invites us to integration and wholeness. Integrity invites the transformation of the whole community’s heart, mind, and soul for the love of God and others. Leaders must steward this integration, paying attention to individual hearts so that each one is invited into the path of wholeness. Integration requires a fearless and honest gaze at our reality – to see our wounds and weaknesses.
When we see our ruptures, then we know where we need healing. Leaders model this fearless self-examination as they become an agent of repair in the organization’s life. Integration leads to interdependency.
There is more to life than our material body, and so it is within the life of our community. The life of a community is more than roles and functions. The needs for security, belonging, attachment, and purpose drive motivations, beliefs, and actions. Individuals’ emotional health and heart shape an organization’s health and heart. This is most true of a leader. Leaders attuned to their needs and emotions create a community where emotions aren’t shamed or invalidated.
This awareness creates a pathway for emotional needs to be expressed healthily. A wise leader is attuned to the emotional well-being of individuals because each person’s heart provides a glimpse of the emotional longings and fears present in the whole organization. This attention to emotional well-being and soul care is essential for any organization that wants to reflect God in this world. This turns communities from being mere producers to becoming creators and meaning-makers. And this makes it possible for creativity, diversity, and even healthy conflict resolution possible because the community understands how difference and unity exist simultaneously without competition and blind loyalty.
Moving beyond transactions
In today’s culture in the US, it appears that so much of our communal life is transactional. There is this temptation to reduce our needs to material needs – if I have a better paycheck, I will be secure or feel valued. Sadly, much of society thinks that human relationships are nothing more than quid pro quo – you do for me, and I will do for you. This attitude deprives us of what God intended for us. A covenant life is more than a contract. Relationships are not commodities. Good leaders create organizations that draw people together rather than promote rugged individualism and consumerism.
There is rampant loneliness in our pews and our board rooms in today’s world. Lonely hearts are crying out for something more—a life of connection and substance. We are created for one another for abundance and transformation within the context of a community, not apart from it. I pray that we are leaders who turn our eyes and ears toward these lonely cries and steward God’s work of healing the body and making us whole – together.
Andrea Leigh Capuyan is the Executive Director of Laurel Pregnancy Center. Andrea holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from York College. She is a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader with Christian Leadership Alliance and a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional.
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