Last week we kicked off GoBeyond 2020 which will be held on May 10-17, 2020. GoBeyond is an initiative uniting people to serve. Each year, dozens of churches, non-profits, businesses and thousands of individuals come together to unify and strengthen our Lancaster, Pa., community through acts of service. Since 2014, we have packed meals for the hungry around the world, brought people together for citywide cleanups, held blood drives, thanked and celebrated our first responders, built handicapped ramps and repaired homes, provided supplies for babies, helped our neighbors and practiced countless random acts of kindness! We Do Good Together!

I have served on the leadership team for the past four years and have enjoyed every single minute of it. We spend time together, we plan, we review, we pray a lot and we laugh.

Recently, I began to think about why this works. What can I learn about people joining together in a world that is so very, very splintered and fragmented? How can this understanding create a bridge in other situations? I am learning daily, so here is where my thoughts are this far.

We understand the WHY! People working together to solve a difficult issue drives us forward. The need is great. The need strengthens our resolve and magnifies our core purpose. While Lancaster County is giving and willing to provide time, resources and energy, there is still great need among people. Families are broken and people face incredible difficulties every day.

Lesson Learned: When leading, focus on the WHY. The why inspires.

Our leadership team loves to be together. We spend time together. We know about each other’s families, our dreams, and our struggles. We connect, we fail and we talk about it all.

Lesson Learned: Leadership teams need time together. Make it happen.

Our focus is on what we all agree upon, instead of the things that could divide us. We have people from different faith backgrounds and different perspectives. We choose to focus on what we have in common rather than our differences. We all follow a Statement of Unity and Convictions, which shows GoBeyond as unified by a common faith in Jesus Christ. This provides the guiderail, but is not a focus of conversation or interpretation. It stays in the background, protecting us, giving each person freedom but not inhibiting us.

Lesson Learned: Have some guardrails in place, it helps.

Unity is Attractive. The unity is genuine and there is no need to manufacture, message or create for public events. It is real. Humility is common. Partners are grown over time—as we try our very best to work well and closely with every person involved. Real unity draws people in. Real unity doesn’t care who gets the credit. Real unity shares resources. Real unity is what our world needs to see.

Lesson Learned: Unity matters. Treat people well; work out differences.

We do. We focus much more on doing, much less on thinking about doing. Meeting needs is central so we don’t have long theoretical discussions about problems. Busy people give freely of their time when something good is happening. So we focus on serving and actually helping with needs. In short, we desire to make a difference, not think about making a difference.

Lesson Learned: There is no try, just do.

We always learn. Each year, we change something, simplify a process, add a step, try something new. It keeps the program both fresh and growing. It can be hard for leaders to change the formula, but change can provide growth and new understanding. We don’t hesitate to move when needed. There are no sacred cows, friends.

Lesson Learned: Hmmm, this is a bit ironic, lessons learned about learning… There is always something to learn. Always.

So, what else can we learn? What do you see that might help to create a strategic partnership for your organization?

For my GoBeyond friends, anything I missed? How do you experience GoBeyond?

I would love to hear your thoughts.