Many years ago G.K. Chesterton wrote a wonderful book called Orthodoxy. Among other things he wrote a chapter called the Ethics of Elfland where he made an argument for why fairytales had a kind of resiliency and permanence. His answer was quite straightforward: they last because they are true. Recently LF had a Goose That Laid the Golden Egg type of experience that reaffirmed Chesterton’s insight. First, some context.
Over the years, Street Lights has explored one of LF’s niches: we understand cities to be living, breathing organisms. LF approaches each city through a common framework—LF’s Wheel of Change—while allowing each city’s context to determine their areas of focus. This approach, process over product, allows the city final arbitration in deciding what needs to change for the better. This niche, and keeping it sacred, makes all the difference.
And here is where the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg comes in, and it has less to do with the moral of the story and more to do with the content. Recently a new city was interested in becoming a member of the LF network. One of the steps we encourage is to visit an existing LF member city. The new city took this advice and went to hear from an older LF member about all that God had done over the years, reviewed the size of the budget, the amount and impact of programs and the buildings owned. What became obvious is the new city was becoming increasingly awestruck and began to fall prey to seeing its task as one of simple replication.
During the tour a Leadership Foundations staff member stood up and said the following; “you have just had the privilege of hearing about all of the golden eggs that have been laid in this city for many years. These should be celebrated. However I am here to help you discover the goose—LF’s wheel of permanent change—so your city can have its own golden eggs.”
This, in short, is the key to LF’s effectiveness in cities throughout the world: we plan and pray about the “goose”, allowing for cities to have their own “golden eggs.”