The Superintendent's Responsibility to the
Leonard C. Hunt
The subject assigned to us for this hour is, "The Superintendent's Responsibility to the Community". In preparing this brief paper, which will serve as a guide we hope, to further our thinking of this subject, we felt it best if we rephrased the assigned subject to read as follows: "What does a Superintendent owe to his or her community." We are using the word responsibility in the sense of obligation or owing.
We believe that there are three areas of obligation with which we can start. However, before we become involved in this, let us point Out the following as a matter of clarification. First: A Superintendent is an individual, a man with a personality. Webster defines personality as "the total of an individuals characteristics". The absence of or the inclusion of these characteristics usually are the difference between one personality and another.
In the I.U.G.M. there are over 250 Mission Superintendents each of whom is a personality, an individual. There is no single pattern existent among these leaders as to their total characteristics. But there is basically an agreement.
Secondly: Each work of Rescue has an individuality too, an outreach or program. This is due to many factors, such as leadership, neighborhood (environment) program (area of service) problems (outreach). Mainly, each Mission reflects the mind of its leader or Superintendent, even though located in the same area.
The late Dr. Paul and the late Peter MacFarlane are illustrations for the above. Both of these men lived in twin cities, reaching a similar area, and each starting out in the field of Rescue for men. Dr. Paul, in Minneapolis, established a large downtown work, a Bible Conference Grounds, a mission farm for men and a convalescent home for the aged. Dr. MacFarlane also started in a men's work. He, however, established a great work among the needy children and youth of St. Paul building three clubs and a summer camp. This is what we mean when we say that the work reflects the personality of the Superintendent. It likewise reflects the dedication of the staff, the lack of abundance of support, denominational affiliation, etc.
Thirdly: Each community is individualistic. In the larger towns and cities, the obligation of the Mission Superintendent from a community level is not so easily recognized. In neighborhood work, the Superintendent will have a definite position of responsibility. And in the smaller towns, he is representative of Rescue itself.
With this in mind let us outline three areas of responsibility, each progressing out of the previous area. These three areas are: (1) The Individual Witness of the Superintendent to his community or The Heart of Rescue. (2) The witness of the Superintendent through the Mission program of the Institutional witness. (3) The witness of the Superintendent to the corporate group, such as the churches, groups, etc., and his representation of these to the community.
As an individual witness, there is a good study of the Character of Barnabas which parallels the Mission Superintendent. We shall consider only three of these characteristics.
A good man (excellency of character as well as of moral behavior) full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (taking God at his Word and acting accordingly).
So it goes without saying that a Mission's Superintendent's first responsibility to his community is a consistent, sincere and effective witness of his spirituality.
From this witness will follow the second area of responsibility, that of the Mission. It is unavoidable that our work reflect our personalities. When a Mission man is spiritual, the work is spiritual. When he is orderly, the work is orderly. When he is clean, personally and generally, the work reflects this. Every Mission Superintendent owes his or her community the best possible representation for Rescue that can be had.
Then there is the corporate witness. A Mission man stands for more than the witness of an individual. He in a corporate sense, represents the cooperating churches. Service groups, directors, volunteer families, donors and individual Christian friends. However the effectiveness of this fulfillment will only be realized as the community recognizes the Superintendent.