Last week, our eight regional directors from all over the United States came to Villanova to discuss the future of the mission. The economic environment, the donation environment, has led us to where we need to make some hard decisions, as (like most organizations) we are having difficulty responding to reduced income.
What impressed me was that the more details we laid on the table, the more transparent we were, the more we said, “Here’s what we’re dealing with,” the more unity there was. There is a cancer in secrets and a freedom in transparency.
But that’s not even what impressed me the most. What impressed me the most was hearing each person’s life story. Each night one person shared, starting with his childhood and walking through to where he is now in ministry – not in three or four minutes, but sometimes a half-hour, forty-five minutes, even an hour. Every one of those testimonies involved tears, pain, and suffering. There was a transparency that took place as we shared our lives with one another, and the result of that was unity.
The result of simply being truthful and honest without pretext and without disguise was unity. I could feel it. I could sense it, even when we talked about difficult decisions we need to make.
I find it interesting that when Jesus entered a situation, people became transparent. When the disciples were unable to catch fish and they caught so many fish the boat was sinking, what did Peter do? He ran to the shore and fell at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Woe is me, a sinner!”
I would encourage our mission to quit whispering and telling secrets because there’s power in transparency. There’s something about when we’re in the light of the Spirit, the light of Jesus. When all our sinfulness, all our pretenses, and all our inability to be transparent suddenly become transparent, we find freedom and acceptance. It’s a great lesson for us all to learn.