My personality type is to always look and move forward. I honor the past but don’t dwell on or romanticize the “good ole days”. However, institutional memory is different! It focuses on the actions, decisions, issues and results of the development and operation of a business, organization or ministry. Too many times the institutional memory is held by the people involved in these things and is not passed on to the next generation.
So, as people come and go, newcomers have no understanding about why things are done the way they are done; they spend time, often through trial and error, trying to figure it all out. This lost time impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Many organizations have rules and policies but these don’t provide real insight.
Knowing this, I embarked on an effort to document the institutional memory of the Foundation, which is contained in a monograph called: “A History of the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America from 1997 to 2016: Investing Where You Believe”. There are seven chapters, plus attachments. It is only about fifty pages and easy reading. To download it, please click here.
It is not a “who dunit,” but digs deeply into the philosophy and principles that guided the early decision-makers and making, and that shaped (and still shapes ) everything the Foundation does.
So why did I write it?
- Having been with the Foundation from its start, I had the most complete record – written and in in my head – of how and why we reached this point, and I felt obligated to put it together in a coherent way.
- With my 20 years of service to the Foundation and the Moravian Church coming to a close, I wanted to leave behind this memory for the next CEO and generation of staff and board members so they could understand how and why the Foundation does or doesn’t do things.
- I wanted to help future generations avoid the mistakes we made as well as any unintended consequences associated in making changes.
What it is not intended to do is prevent change or preserve a legacy. Healthy organizations should and need to change to survive and flourish. On the other hand, too many “solutions” which have negative consequences could have been avoided by simply knowing the past.
The Foundation has been one of the most successful ventures of the Church. Its ultimate aim is to generate more financial resources for the churches and agencies so they can do more ministry. We honor the teachings of the Church and focus on providing a superior customer service experience to everyone we serve. In other words, Christian hospitality is a centerpiece for how we build and sustain relationships.