I just returned this past weekend from my third trip to Bogotá, Columbia. Over the past two years, I have been trying to add value to about 200 church and business leaders through training. This community of people is guided by two transformational leaders, Madelein and Pastor Hector. These two dynamic leaders understand an important truth that we so often overlook.
Both events AND processes are required for a person to experience transformation at its fullest.
It is our nature to be drawn to events because they inspire, challenge, excite, and those in attendance can consume with little sacrifice of time or comfort. Meanwhile, processes are much more difficult for those designing the process and those participating in the process. The process is where true growth, maturity, and transformation occur but not without hard work.
Bogotá: For years, my friends in Bogota have been designing a process that was effective and affordable for those leaders committed to going beyond what a two-day conference can offer. After much experimentation and persistence, they have nailed it! My role is to come in every 6 months to participate in a catalytic event that will help reenergize those in the process and recruit others to join.
CARE for AIDS: As I continued to hear about their commitment to a process, I began to draw parallels to the CARE for AIDS model in Kenya. There are many events we could facilitate to help those living with HIV including HIV testing and educational seminars, but without a proven process, a person’s commitment to and ability to change would greatly diminish as the demands of the day weigh heavily on them. What makes a process valuable and difficult is that it requires an investment of 1) other people, 2) additional resources, and 3) time. For example, the CARE for AIDS model pairs nine-months of training, counseling, and accountability with additional resources such as food and medication. It is this potent combination that results in lasting life change.
Donors: We can observe this law in so many facets of our lives. For example, many nonprofits neglect the process of investing in the lives of their donors. It requires a great expenditure of time and energy to enter into another’s circumstances and serve them well. Instead, nonprofits opt for periodic events to re-inspire their people. Events play an important role, but without a process, they can leave donors fatigued and frustrated. It is for this very same reason that it is easier to raise money for large capital expenditures or one-time needs than it is to fund ongoing operations. People even prefer to give to an event over a process.
Faith: Lastly, the most compelling example of this is found in our own relationship with God. He has made it easy for us to be reconciled to Him by confessing our sins and committing our lives to Him. However, the event of salvation is followed by a long, never-ending, at times painful process of sanctification as we are conformed to His likeness.
Let us not be complacent with events such as church services, conferences, or mission trips that inspire us but do not change us. Let’s commit to a process that will transform us is a lasting way.