Learning Organizations: Women Of Faith


My most successful clients are a part of what I call “learning organizations.” These are growing, dynamic churches, businesses or ministries that are seldom satisfied with the status quo. They are always learning and searching for ways to make a good experience a great one, to reach even more people, and to improve on what most people would label as a “wow” product.

This past weekend I had the privilege of joining another learning organization. The Women of Faith tour reaches out to hundreds of thousands of women every year in 30 cities around the country. They have world-class speakers, singers, entertainers and production that’s second to none. I believe every woman would benefit from being in a WFO event no matter where they are in their faith walk.

This weekend, for example, over 12 thousand women came to Atlanta’s Philips Arena for this two-day event. On record, there were 861 women who publicly decided to give their lives over to God and found redemption in Christ’s sacrifice for them. Thousands did business with God in a very intimate way and thousands more were encouraged in their daily faith walk. Everyone walked away from that place changed, including me.

Putting one of these events on takes a herculean effort on the part of hundreds of staff and volunteers. After 12 years of growing, tweaking and improving their craft, the gifted leaders at WOF have each of these events down to a well-oiled machine. Mary Graham leads the entire organization with a lot of heart and is one of the most gifted relational leaders I’ve ever met. She’s constantly taking care of her team, down to the purse filled with snacks for her guests–which I was the recipient of the delicious cashew nuts and gummy bears. Her right hand and general, Amy Chandy, is a multi-tasker extraordinaire. I’ve never seen anyone able to be pulled in so many different directions as this woman and I watch her maintain such composure and positive attitude through it all. I’m convinced that a man could never do Amy’s job. Really.

But what makes this organization even more amazing to me is not just the lessons they have learned and systems they have created in the past 12 years of dealing with millions of people. What gets me excited about working with Mary and her team is their humility in realizing that they, too, must continue to learn. “What can we do better? What do you think we should do differently? How can we do that?” were the first questions to me as I briefly met with Mary and Amy before leaving the arena. I love that about them. Even after all these years, they are still hungry for the organization to grow and not to rest in yesterday’s successes.

This weekend’s experience reconfirmed my commitment to being a life-long learner. If Mary and Amy can continue to ask “what” and “how,” so should all of us.

  • Susan Stern

    Great post, Maurilio. I have been to two WOF conferences and have enjoyed them so much, but I never thought of what happens behind the scene at every event. You're right, unless you continue to learn and improve and ask the "What" and "how" questions things have a way to become stale and what brought you to the party, suddenly, is not able to keep you there.

  • shannon litton

    I completely agree, Maurilio. I would add that their ability to keep their focus on ministering to women, in the midst of all the details they handle, is amazing to watch.

    It has inspired me to re-evaluate my focus and remember that God has called us all to ministry on a daily basis.

  • Jeff Curtis

    I’m glad to hear that there’s still ministry left in large organizations like Women Of Faith. I’ve walked away from a large ministry position because everything was about ticket and product sales and very little thought was given to the people ministry.

  • @Jeff,
    I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that ministry is at the front of everyone’s mind during the WOF events. I had the privilege of being backstage and experiencing the heart of the organization. It beats for the souls of the women, not their wallets.

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