At Vista, there are a few ideas that drive our programming. By definition, we view programs as systems for accomplishing ministry, where ministry is defined as a need of our people to which we have decided to apply our resources. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel with our programs, and we want to recognize that some “wheels” don’t work anymore. Also, if others are already more effective at a particular program, then we want to let them do it and support their efforts. With those things in mind, these two key values emerge: Partnership and Innovation. Essentially, these values mean that we find creative alternatives to out-dated approaches to ministry, and when possible, we include and even defer to others to help us meet those needs. Almost everything we do is a partnership of some sort, but some are more “internal” than others. For example, Kids Community partners with parents and the Kidmo curriculum, but we don’t typically partner with any persons outside of Vista. Lifegroups are a similar sort – we use external training resources, but internal leadership.
Our student ministry on the other hand is primary example of an “external” partnership with Young Life (although many YL leaders attend Vista). Here, we effectively use the expertise, resources and experience of a large and successful organization to help us provide better ministry to students where we are. Cool – right?
So, let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that if we don’t own the program we don’t have a program. If we are finding a creative system to do good, and the right ministry for the needs that people have, we not only have a good program, but probably a better program. Look for ways to innovate and partner – it’s better for everybody.