City-Sized Blind Spot
We invited Corrie Smith to share her experience being in a position where she listens to the needs of the city on a consistent basis. Corrie is a longtime friend of Woodmen and even worked in our student ministry for a season. She is now working for a local non-profit called COSILoveYou.
GOOD INTENTIONS CAN HAVE CONSEQUENCES
A few years back, I sat in a leadership conference learning from John Maxwell, a notable author and leadership expert. I felt convicted as Maxwell unpacked the importance of understanding our “leadership blind spots”. He shared how leaders, often unknowingly, operate with significant and avoidable shortcomings. Maxwell explained that blind spots could extend to a variety of areas in our lives, impacting our effectiveness and overall success. I remember soaking up every word and thinking, “I wonder what my blind spots are?”
To share a little about myself, I grew up in Colorado Springs (COS). This is profoundly home and I love it. With that being said, I’ve always operated from a place of familiarity when it comes to my city. Especially growing up, I felt like I “got it”. There were people that didn’t understand the needs of COS, but surely I was not one of those people. I thought my after-school ventures downtown and my youth group outreach events gave me a comprehensive understanding of the marginalized.
I didn’t realize that I had a city-sized blind spot.
Sure, my intentions were not bad; I only ever wanted to help. However, helping can be hurtful when it’s not strategic or purposeful. I certainly didn’t understand the brevity of some of the social issues my city was facing.
FIGHTING AGAINST ASSUMPTIONS
Over the course of my adult years, the Lord has been asking me to listen more. So, I’m trying to do that. In fact, my career is oriented towards listening to the needs of my community, working for a local nonprofit, COSILoveYou. Our mission and vision is to “Unite and ignite the Church to love the city, that every woman, man, and child might experience the tangible love of God.” The work of COSILoveYou is to connect the valuable resources of the faith community, to the specific needs of Colorado Springs. A large portion of my time is spent listening and understanding the needs of my city.
I’m listening to COS experts talk about the issues we are facing: the plight of homeless families, youth mental health, under-resourced areas of our city, school funding, lack of affordable housing, aging out of the foster care system, the need for additional low-barrier shelter beds, etc. I’m sitting with ministry leaders, learning about the communities they serve and the challenges they face. I’m seeking out the wisdom of the organizations and individuals that walk with the marginalized in our city.
See, to shrink my city-sized blind spot, I need to fight against my assumptions and apathy. Tooth and nail, I need to war against the parts of me that think, “I know best”.
The beautiful calling of the Church is to “seek the peace and prosperity of our city” (Jeremiah 29:7, NLT). Jesus meant for the Church to be at the front lines, active and alive. Our role is a big one; we are tasked with restoration and revival (Isaiah 61:4). We can’t settle for a city-sized blind spot, together, we have important work to do.
If you'd like to learn more about the work of COSILoveYou, please visit cosiloveyou.com
Corrie Smith is a long time friend of Woodmen and even served on our Woodmen students team for a season. She is now a coordinator for COSILoveYou listening to the needs of the city and helping create beautiful relationships across Colorado Springs.