Local Leadership Development Strategies: Setting a Course with the Community Holding the Compass

Jun 5, 2014

“What do we want to see in place in three to five years as a result of our actions?” This is the question our strategic direction consultant asked us, kicking off a marathon-long day of brainstorming, processing, and dreaming, with the goal of identifying and setting the course for Casa Chirilagua in the upcoming years as a united front.


Sitting around the table were high school and college students from the neighborhood, the President of the parent committee, Kids Club parents, members of the fellowship group, vested volunteers, involved parents from the community, and a few staff and board members who also reside in the community. We shared ideas. We listened to each other. We encouraged one another to dream big. We challenged each other to dig deeper to pinpoint root causes needing to be addressed, rather than settling for simplistic problem-solution responses. Through the process, we also expressed our commitment to one another as our conversations were undergirded by deeply rooted relationships, a willingness to listen to one another and a commitment to act together.


By the end of the day, we identified five strategic directions to guide Casa Chirilagua over the next three to five years in developing local leaders who understand Christian Community Development principles and are actively furthering the mission and vision of Casa Chirilagua. All of us left with a sense of commitment to one another and the calling God has given each of us: to love our community well; participate in the process of developing local leaders; and be witnesses of God’s love, bringing transformation, confidence, encouragement, unity and hope in our community and beyond.

Organizational strategic direction plans are often set at the board or staff level. I am humbled and honored to be a part of an organization that believes the answers to the brokenness in a community reside in the community itself. We believe the community has the best perspective on the obstacles it faces and can identify the most comprehensive ways to overcome those obstacles. I am thankful for a board and a staff who believe we will arrive at a more effective local leader development plan by listening to the community and asking the community to set the course. Once the community identifies the direction, the rest of the Casa family gets to participate in walking the journey, providing support and cheering along the way, as the community (and God working through the community) guides us toward the destination.


This Saturday, the same strategic direction team will convene again to set both quarterly actions and annual goals for the coming year. Please pray for a united spirit as we come together to brainstorm, listen and create plans to implement our organizational strategic direction. And this weekend’s meeting will not stop there — our process of asking, evaluating and employing practices will be a continued effort, which we will keep you posted about as the Chirilagua community’s goals are actualized. We are grateful to ACT for Alexandria for providing funds to support these strategic steps in development. With active community participation, the Casa team will work diligently beside our friends as we research the causes of the obstacles before us. As always, we thank you for your support, prayers, love and walking with us on this journey.


Through community empowerment and leadership, we will identify creative and effective actions to achieve the dream of  strengthened individuals who understand their unique God-given gifts and their role in bringing transformation and unity to Arlandria-Chirilagua.

We are a community of people “learning together to love our neighbors as ourselves” in a Latino neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia.

As a faith-based Christian non-profit with a small staff and over 100 volunteers, we serve alongside more than 100 families and their children (1st-12th grades) each week through our community programs.

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Our relational network of volunteers and donors reflects a diverse group of individuals from all over the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a non-profit, we rely on the community for assisting program directors on-site, being mentors, supplying the needs of our food pantry, and everything in between. Each member of our Casa community holds a unique gift, whether time, talent or treasure.