(Editor’s Note: Stadia is celebrating our twentieth anniversary. Our longest-tenured employee, Doug Foltz (Senior Director of Project Development), took time to reflect on what we can learn from the past as we look toward the future).
It’s hard to believe, but Stadia crossed the monumental 20-year mark. And as the person who’s been here the longest (still wrapping my head around that one), I feel both old and privileged to share a unique perspective. So, why does our history matter? Well, let me break it down for you.
Here are six reasons why Stadia’s past is the rocket fuel for our future impact.
- Global Partnerships: A Two-Way Street
Back when I was a newbie, I was introduced to a dynamic leader from Ohio, Greg Nettle. His church-planting fervor in Ohio was infectious as he built a very successful church-planting network. He nudged Stadia to extend its horizons globally and introduced us to our first global partner. All of this before he was our president. A dozen years later, we’re not just investing dollars globally but also leveraging our services and expertise. And our global partnerships? They’re a two-way street—mutually beneficial, driving us to constantly learn from the global church.
- R&D – Pioneering New Church Models
Stadia’s reputation for “launching large” is well-known. But beyond that, we’ve always had a keen eye on the future. Early in his presidency, Greg was instrumental in introducing us to missional communities way before they became a buzzword. We’ve been early contributors to models like Micro, Phygital, Digital, and Hybrid churches. The Lab is postured to continue this innovative posture embracing mission over method and model. Stadia has been and will remain at the forefront of missional exploration.
- The Willingness to Change: Our Paradoxical Strength
Here’s a personal paradox: I’m a creature of habit who loves innovation. While we’ve stayed true to our core values, Stadia has never shied away from change. Organizations that don’t change become irrelevant. And for those of us who find change a tad unsettling, take it from the most tenured guy here: we’re getting better at it, you might even say we are changing. See what I did there?
- Distinctive Services: Setting Stadia Apart
Our Discovery process has evolved beyond dated methods, adapting to modern needs. Project Management has always been about helping church starters focus more on people. In my dissertation research, I unearthed a pressing concern from church starters and leaders alike: the overwhelming administrative demands robbing church starters of precious time with their community. This isn’t just about paperwork; it’s about missed opportunities to make disciples and cultivate leaders, the building blocks of church multiplication. And when it comes to New Church Growth and Multiplication, our strategy ensures churches remain outward-focused, sidestepping the pitfalls of insularity.
- Embracing Failure: Yeah, I’m Not Kidding
Let’s face it: failures sting. But they’re also invaluable learning curves. Failure is evidence that we are taking risks for the kingdom. Some of our ventures have had their share of challenges. But as we navigate these hurdles, it’s crucial to remember that setbacks are often precursors to comebacks. The most known name in North American church planting, Ed Stetzer, started five churches and only two were “successful.” That spirit of resilience is ingrained in Stadia. You can’t be innovative without also embracing failure. The two go together.
- Every Child Has a Church: Our Guiding North Star
Our vision is right. Our vision is vast yet personal. It’s about ensuring every child, whether part of the faceless billions or the familiar ones like the kid next door, has a church. It’s future-oriented and present-focused. The vision sets a forward-looking aspirational target that all can work towards and embeds a sense of urgency in our work. The vision is present tense and suggests that the work we do today will impact the realization of the vision. Our vision is worth the sacrifices we make.
20 years is a tapestry of challenges, innovations, setbacks, and leaps. As we stand at this juncture, looking back gives us profound insights, and looking forward fills us with boundless excitement. Our past has been a rich learning ground, and as we step into the future, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.
Here’s to the next chapter of thriving, growing, and multiplying churches for the next generation!