I believe milestones matter, but have you ever wondered why we reflect most intensely on our lives when we hit an anniversary date divisible by 5? I am celebrating my 15th anniversary working at Christian Leadership Alliance and have been experiencing many emotions as I consider these past 180 months – 780 weeks – 5,475 days.
My emotions range from deep satisfaction, to sadness and confusion, to hope and joy. I’ve had the opportunity to work with three very different, but all amazing, CEOs, as well as two interim CEOs. Staff has turned over, Macs have replaced Dells, paper accounting journals were exchanged for QuickBooks, iCloud now backs us up instantaneously, and I have more gray hair and wrinkles. But what hasn’t changed is my passion for CLA’s ministry to Christian leaders.
In October 2000, I began as a very part-time bookkeeper. It wasn’t long before I was contributing to the membership department, assisting the CEO with administrative duties, and handling all of the finances. Three weeks before the 2002 Anaheim conference, I was assigned to run registration onsite, although at that point I had never even touched a conference registration! “Trial by fire” was my motto that week as caring co-workers continually encouraged me to eat something. I went on to fill every role that existed (except CEO!). Eventually I settled primarily into operations and finance.
Regardless of which hat I wore over the years, my focus was always on the Lord’s vision for CLA and how we could help our members achieve excellence in their leadership and organizational skills. I’ve had the pleasure of working behind the scenes on the development of many programs, including CLA Online Academy, CCNL, Outcomes Mentoring Network, and Leader2Leader, all of which have become member favorites. Talking to numerous attendees at the conference registration desk at The Outcomes Conference, reading hundreds of feedback forms, interacting in online learning discussion forums, and compiling membership survey results for board reports – encouraged me personally and reminded me how much our ministry matters.
And “our” ministry refers to the amazing CLA staff and Board. I am truly blessed to work with a group of completely dedicated individuals who come together as a team under a unified leader in Tami Heim. How can you work in an environment like CLA without absorbing all of the excellent organizational skills we offer to our members? CLA comes very close to living the example we inspire others to achieve. It’s because of this close, personal immersion in high-level leadership training that everyone at CLA feels the passion and vision to see every Christian leader equipped and empowered for maximum impact in the Kingdom.
I recently spent three days at our annual offsite Board retreat. During small group time we focused on momentum and I shared these reflections with my prayer partners. I was encouraged to look at the fruit of my labor – the grapes that come forth from my, and my co-laborers’, dedication to CLA’s members. I was encouraged to look at the milestones in this journey.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV:
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I cannot count on tomorrow, but I still plan for it. I hope to continue my personal mission of serving others for Christ and celebrating many more anniversaries and milestones.
For more information about all CLA has to offer you, visit www.ChristianLeadershipAlliance.org. I hope you will consider joining the Alliance and this movement of Christians who share a a passion to equip and unite leaders to transform the world for Christ.
Suzy West is the vice president of Operations and Finance for Christian Leadership Alliance.
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