The purpose of this dissertation is to describe the research and findings of a case study of Vision San Diego (VSD), a non-profit neutral convener organization to impact San Diego County with societal and spiritual transformation. The project began in 2006 through a denominationally funded project called ‘Strategic Focus Cities.’ In 2009, when the project funding ended, the leaders partnered with Luis Palau in 2010 to conduct a five-month Season of Service that brought over four hundred partnerships, primarily faith communities, along with government and business to serve the needs of the San Diego region. The results of the partnership launched a new cooperative spirit that brought over fifty thousand volunteers to complete over 350 community service projects.
At the end of 2010, the leaders of San Diego CityFest decided to see these partnerships continue. In response, VSD (version 2.0) was launched as an independent non-profit organization with a Board of Directors assembled around a strategy that believed the San Diego region was most influenced by its domains, or ‘centers of cultural influence.’ From the Public, Private, and Social Sectors nine distinct domains were identified. The nine domains represent how the county actually works. In other words all nine of the domains were engaged in the day-to-day operations of the region. Two toplevel leaders were chosen from each of the nine domains to create the VSD Board of
VSD wasn’t formed to start new service programs but rather serve those who already led service programs. The position of VSD based on the idea that there are already enough programs and plans in place to solve problems – but leaders often didn’t know each other, which meant they were unable work together. Organization silos abound in every organization and tend to limit the potential of working together.
One of the primary roles of VSD is that of convener and connector. As a trusted neutral convener VSD noticed that an organizing method had to be used that created unity of purpose. The method couldn’t segment people of good faith and good will. A consensus model was adopted so that leaders who cared about the same issues could work together. By using this method people of divergent worldviews could work together
without compromising their beliefs or values. This method not only enabled people of good faith and good will to work together, but it also allowed for much greater trust among people who genuinely wanted to make their cities, neighborhoods and regions better.
The VSD Board members are transformational servant leaders mapped to the anatomy of the city and region of San Diego. The VSD Board provides strategic direction and accountability to three strategies with the ultimate goal of societal and spiritual transformation – making San Diego America’s finest city, a term that has been used in San Diego by politicians to describe San Diego’s attractiveness.
This dissertation looks at three basic factors that are critical in a City Movement. These factors include a review of City Transformation, Servant Leadership, and the operational processes involved in City Movements