This year’s camp meeting featured a visit to the corporate offices of Columbia Sportswear in Portland, continuing a beloved Oregon Young Adult tradition. Participants in this leadership expedition from the final in-person camp meeting of 2019 recall spending an afternoon at the Nike headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon, learning about leadership techniques and teamwork.
The young adult leaders and Megan Pardee, apparel sourcing lead for Columbia Sportswear and a member of Hillsboro’s Crosspoint Adventist Church, spent the morning talking about Columbia’s distinctive leadership philosophy. She instructed them, “We have to leave our egos at the door here.” She said that the cornerstone of Columbia’s leadership and teamwork strategy was cross-departmental cooperation.
According to Benjamin Lundquist, director of young adult ministry for the Oregon Conference, “we look for every opportunity to grow our young adult team and our young adult leaders to that next level.” It is a means through which we can increase the influence of Jesus and the Kingdom.
Learning from leaders outside of the church may seem unusual, but Lundquist’s leadership approach centers on bringing back fresh original ideas. There may be more lessons here for those of us in ministry than you might imagine.
The biggest takeaway after spending more than an hour exploring what Columbia’s leadership techniques might teach us about cooperating with the church was a focus on teamwork.
Collaboration at Columbia Sportswear entails continuously hearing from customers and reassessing how to provide them with improved service. Additionally, it appears to involve bringing together individuals and concepts from a variety of departments in order to produce judgments that are better supported by a variety of viewpoints.
By bringing people together and encouraging idea sharing, we can strengthen our missions. Making choices that are influenced by a variety of cultures, ages, and roles enables us to take into account some of our blind spots and find more effective methods to share Jesus with our community.
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