Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services has more than 500 employees in 10 locations (and soon even more) where we are providing an array of services from residential care, to community care, to family preservation, to alternative and special education, to advocacy services. I can tell you this: as much as we are doing to pursue our mission, we are pushing to do more!

A friend made a statement recently that surprised me. He thinks I have a stressful job and he asked me how I stay on top of all we are doing in Louisiana.

I explained, first, I don’t experience my work as stressful. It’s rewarding and energizing. I dream of it at night and I wake ready for more, excited about our mission and our progress. I love the people with whom I work. We have exceptional staff who love their calling, love the people for whom they care, and who are deeply committed to our mission. (All that we accomplish is because of their passion and persistence, and I am extremely grateful for our remarkable staff! Simply stated, “y’all are awesome!”)

The 8P ModelSecond, I shared the simple model which I keep in my head. I find it helps me see the big picture and gives me a structure to understand how all the pieces fit together. When something new pops up, there’s already a place for it.

So, here’s my model. Think of it as, “The 8 P’s”!

1. Providence – the foreseeing care and guidance of God over people. I cannot predict the future, but I do know from studying our previous century, God’s grace has been at work in our past. Knowing the past makes me confident of the future.

2. Places – the physical property and facilities available for use in pursuing our mission. These places are anywhere there are people present – a children’s home campus, a family’s living room, a counseling office, a riding arena, or a meeting room in a local church.

3. Proceeds – the financial resources, donated or earned, which are available for use to pursue our mission. Simple theology: it all belongs to God.

4. Programs – the planned efforts to effect positive change for children, families and communities. Implemented and evaluated, we constantly seek to improve our programs.

5. People – the souls who, under the Providence of God, take responsibility for using the available Places, Proceeds and Programs to pursue the organization’s mission. People may be staff members, donors, advocates for the cause, resource experts, or partners in some way. People are individuals and they frequently work in groups. My last three three P’s are directly related to people:

6. Plan – the thoughtful process of people who design a detailed program. Of course, planning is informed by the wisdom of the group, because all of us together are wiser than any one of us alone.

7. Passion – a strong and barely controlled emotion that energizes people. Some of us burn steady like embers, glowing over the long haul; others’ passion burns in repeated flashes of brilliance. I believe it takes both.

8. Persistence – the drive to expend the effort necessary to pursue the mission in face of any opposing forces. Nothing succeeds without persistence.

So there you have it, the “8 P” model into which all of it fits. I hope you find it as helpful as I do!

Rick Wheat
President and Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services

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