Building Cathedrals, Guest Blog by Rob Sheehan

March 19, 2014

Guest Blog by Rob Sheehan, Principal, Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting

What are your dreams?

If you could have it any way you wanted it, what would your organization be like – so that you could make the greatest Mission Impact possible?

Dream and dream big.  It was Longfellow who once wrote:

“’Let us build such a church that those who come after us will think we were madmen’, said the old canon of Seville . . .  Perhaps through every mind passes some such thought, when it entertains the design of a great and seemingly impossible action . . . This divine madness enters more or less into all our noblest undertakings.”

When I read that quote, I cannot help but think of Sagrada Familia – the cathedral in Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudi.  Construction began in 1882 and it is “hoped” that it will be finished by 2026!  It has been said that there is no other church building like it in history.  Talk about “divine madness!”

I think that maybe we need to tap into our own “divine madness” more often as we dream great visions for our organizations, so we can serve our missions even more effectively.

A woman came upon a construction site.  She asked a worker what he was doing and, with an annoyed look, said “I’m laying bricks.”

She came upon another worker and asked the same thing.  This person smiled, then looked up into the sky and said “I am building a cathedral.”

Our day to day work can look a lot like laying bricks.  But we need to keep in our minds the cathedrals we have dreamed and that we are building – one brick at a time – to make even more of a Mission Impact for those we serve.

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