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Young Adults Develop Leadership Skills at Oregon Camp Meeting

A favorite Oregon Young Adult tradition returned to camp meeting this year with a trip to Columbia Sportswear’s corporate headquarters in Portland. Those who participated in this leadership outing during the last in-person camp meeting in 2019 remember spending an afternoon learning about leadership strategies and teamwork at the Nike headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Megan Pardee, Columbia Sportswear apparel sourcing lead and member of the Crosspoint Adventist Church in Hillsboro, spent the morning discussing Columbia’s unique approach to leadership with the young adult leaders. “We have to check our egos at the door here,” she told them. She shared that cross-departmental collaboration was key to Columbia’s leadership and teamwork strategy.

“We look for every opportunity to grow our young adult team and our young adult leaders to that next level,” said Benjamin Lundquist, Oregon Conference young adult ministry director. “[It's how] we can expand our influence for Jesus and expand our influence for the Kingdom.”

Learning from leaders beyond church walls may seem out of the ordinary, but bringing back new and innovative ideas is a core part of Lundquist’s leadership style — and there may be more lessons for those of us in ministry than you might think!

After spending more than an hour discussing what Columbia’s leadership strategies might teach us about how to work alongside the church, the strongest takeaway centered on collaboration.

At Columbia Sportswear, collaboration means constantly listening to customers and reevaluating how to better serve them. It also looks like bringing together people and ideas from many different departments to make more informed decisions based on a broad range of perspectives.

We can improve our ministries when we bring people together and share ideas. Making decisions, informed by a spectrum of cultures, ages and roles, allows us to consider some of our blind spots and discover ways to share Jesus with our communities on a deeper level.

Featured in: September/October 2022