Todd Bartlett began as the Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries in the Oregon-Idaho Conference in 2016. Previously he served an eight-year stint as the Director of the Collins Retreat Center, where the ministry committed to focus on "Gracious Hospitality." The community that was formed from this experience came about because of asking hard questions and staying focused upon a mission and a strategy that proved life-changing. In some other parts of the church there has sometimes been an avoidance of asking hard questions, a lack of clarity of purpose, and an inconsistency in commitment to strategy and reflection upon performance.
Todd points to community, particularly the community built through his time in UMCRM’s Immersion Experience and the Compass Points certification program, as a necessary opportunity to look differently at the changing world and the organization he stewards. “Being in that program helped me form an extension of community with the other learners and instructors,” he said, “so my community is bigger as a result of participating in the program.” In addition to the community formed, the fact that these peers modeled asking the hard questions was important for Todd. “There are at least some who are willing to ask challenging questions. They aren’t fearful, which has helped me ask the hard questions locally in my organization.”
As Todd continues to implement what he learned in the certification program, he understands evaluation and adaptation better as ways of strengthening the organization he serves. “The church hasn’t always asked the hard questions. I find it refreshing and helpful and sometimes uncomfortable. But we are asking in community, so it comes back to that.”