The Third Turn

Written by Dr. Mark L. Vincent & Kristin Evenson
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Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Aug 26, 2021 9:16:00 AM

This blog post, originally published in 2009 and now updated in light of yet again another devastating earthquake in Haiti, is as relevant as ever.


Gary Moore, widely known for his writings on faith and economics, once pointed out that the ancient Greeks are the forerunners of modern socialism, the ancient Romans the forerunners of conservative capitalism, and Judaism is the forerunner of what he calls Stewardism, the idea that God owns everything and we manage on God’s behalf.

How do you think about these matters? In the middle of all the economic debates over bailouts, stimulus packages, cap and trade, and nationalized health care, it seems people are much more Greek or Roman in their understandings rather than Jewish. This Jewish notion that I work on God’s behalf carries over to those of us who take Christianity seriously. Read the opening chapters of Acts and you quickly discover that the early church is not into private enterprise, nor against it. Instead, it is into using what it has to care for the least of these.

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Topics: stewardship, stewardism, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, creating a culture of generosity, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn, The Third Turn Podcast, Kristin Evenson

Contentment: the fruit of renewal.

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jul 22, 2021 10:23:00 AM

A notice from the Economist that the largest category of religious identification is nothing in particular combines with phrases I heard recently while traveling.

  • Work comes first!
  • I postponed vacations for five years.
  • No, I do not want to switch seats so I can sit next to my husband.

So much for pandemic-driven togetherness and a re-examination toward kindness and  life-balancing priorities! So much for renewed confidence that the larger community in which we live intends to serve the flourishing of the world for our grandchildren's grandchildren rather than the expedient moment! As a needed antidote I pulled and updated a sermon I preached in Eau Claire, Wisconsin some years ago....

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Topics: Suffering, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn, The Third Turn Podcast, Kristin Evenson

Becoming a discernmentarian: a little more humility please

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jul 8, 2021 7:28:00 AM

I’ve had enough clients in the middle of farm country to be able to feel farmers feeling spring.

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Topics: organizational development consulting, unknown unknowns, unknown knowns, church decision making, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, organizational design, group process, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn Podcast

A mission project form letter (I am happy to offer this service)

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Feb 1, 2016 5:37:05 PM

In anticipation of a new rash of these letters, we repost one of our favorites originally published in 2010.


Each spring Lorie and I receive about thirty requests to help people we know with their missions trip or service project by making a contribution. We give to one or two each year, usually because we believe in a young person’s potential and want to assist their formative experiences.

But each spring we also marvel at the inefficiency of these projects, the cultural mis-assumptions they perpetuate, how much they seem like mere tourism, and whether there is any real religious or humanitarian benefit. Not that we are opposed to people traveling and gaining experience. We would, however, support a better way should one emerge.

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Topics: Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, Fundraising, fund raising, missions trips

A steward leader is more than a servant leader

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Mar 27, 2012 5:19:00 AM

In Kent Wilson's 2010 doctoral research for the University of Aberdeen on what makes for a steward leader in nonprofit organizations, a good number of the CEO's he surveyed identified steward leadership as not much different than servant leadership. 

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Topics: process design, process consulting, nonprofit leadership, servant leadership, leadership basics, becoming a steward leader, organizational development consulting, stewardship, stewardism, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, steward leadership

The Muse: Aretephobia Apathy Syndrome, a disease of the young

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Mar 1, 2012 6:15:00 PM

Here is a guest blog from my son, Zach Vincent, writing about the need for young adults to care about excellence.

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Topics: process consulting, emell vee, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, aretephobia

Process consultation visits Louis L'amour

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jan 18, 2012 6:52:00 AM

I am committed to read a lot of biographies and memoirs in 2012. Design Group International grew so much in 2011 that we made some internal changes to better serve our clients and our Senior Design Partners challenged me to live more fully into the CEO role. A reading list of significantly accomplished and respected people emerged. I expect some of what I discover will find its way into this blog from time to time.

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Topics: process design, process consulting, Process Consultation, organizational development consulting, emell vee, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, steward leadership

9 Conveyances of the Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL)

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jan 7, 2012 9:37:00 AM

I’ve been involved in what is now the Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) program since the late 1990’s, watching it morph and grow and become a professional credential to be taken seriously. When you see the CCNL designation behind someone’s name you can be assured of the following nine conveyances:

  1. It shows professional commitment and commitment to be a professional. Such a person is not playing at nonprofit executive leadership. They are cultivating their love and capacity for the vocation.
  2. It demonstrates the identity of a lifelong learner. The CCNL must be re-established every three years, demonstrated by continued participation in conferences, workshops, institutes, academies, online courses and/or mentoring (See conveyance 3). Continuous learning leads to continuous improvement of the leader and the skill they bring to their service.
  3. It places the leader in a community of colleagues. Because of this ongoing participation, the CCNL regularly interacts with people from many types of organizations. This rich set of relationships stokes networking and innovation that brings personal and organizational benefit. Formal learning is significantly supplemented by ongoing conversation with nonprofit colleagues.
  4. It connects mentors with mentees. Within the community are those whose experience and wisdom provide counsel for my circumstance, and those who benefit from hearing my perspective. A developing initiative within the CCNL program is a more formal way of linking new and experienced executive leaders for mutual benefit.
  5. It communicates the person’s desire to be a Steward Leader. The understanding that an executive leader is God’s servant working on God’s mission via an organization, rather than functioning as an owner of an organization that happens to be connected to God’s work, is a central distinctive of the CCNL curriculum. This affects everything—from the approach to inviting financial support to the measure of organizational success. The CCNL continues with the program because of their commitment to this Steward Leader distinctive.
  6. It reminds the leader of the real competition. The CCNL believes they compete against the destructive and malevolent forces of this world that create the need for the mission the leader serves. For instance, the competition, in part, is the illicit drug trade, not another addiction rehab center operating six blocks to the west. Understanding the real competition brings a focus to strategic planning and implementation that can properly transform and sustain nonprofit organizations.
  7. It places one in a pool of cross-disciplinary leaders. Another distinctive of the CCNL is how it prepares people to move beyond their own discipline to a deeper appreciation for other disciplines that arise to the C level.  A CFO learns more about the development side of nonprofit service. A CEO learns to appreciate the HR function more deeply.  A CIO learns more about marketing. The inter-disciplinary nature of the CCNL prepares future CEO’s and board members who appreciate the complexity of leading organizations.
  8. It signals that the leader understands a cultivated spirituality is part of the long-serving and reliable leader's foundation. Many nonprofit organizations either want to force a faith commitment into the closet, or maintain that a faith-based window dressing should cover a multitude of organizational and leadership sins. Christian Leadership Alliance, which sponsors the CCNL, keeps building into the curriculum a three-fold layer of a biblical foundation, attention to theory and practical application. The CCNL is built on the belief that faith and knowledge are companions in the Steward Leader’s journey.
  9. It expresses a commitment to contribute to a movement with a legacy. When CCNL is seen on a resume, it begs the interviewer to ask about it. Organizations who hire a CCNL, or have someone earn it while working for them, are quick to enroll others in the program. Current CCNL’s are recruiting others to join because of their testimony of its impact on their professional life. This groundswell is full of potential for establishing even more well-equipped leaders who operate with integrity as they lead, transform and sustain organizational mission.

It is a complete joy when people stop me at conferences or in airports, send me e-mails or leave behind evaluation comments, telling how much they have learned, how much they value the instruction they received, and how big an impact it is making for them and their organization. The CCNL is gaining traction, momentum and impact.

-mark l vincent

p.s. Registration for the next round of online modules is just about to close. There is still time to register! Modules in resource development, financial management and executive leadership are available. To learn more about the CCNL, go to


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Topics: emell vee, Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, steward leadership

Process Consulting: what we mean

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Nov 23, 2011 9:48:00 AM
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Topics: process design, process consulting, organizational development consulting, emell vee, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, organizational design

Here fishy, fishy! The prophet Jonah as organizational leader

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Nov 7, 2011 8:58:00 AM

Preaching through Jonah has put me in touch with the parallel between his life as God's servant and any organizational leader's temptation to do what comes more easily, more comfortably, more conveniently, and according to one's preferences rather than from commitment to an external mission.

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Topics: process design, process consulting, organizational development consulting, emell vee, philip c bergey, Mark L. Vincent, Whorled Viewz

Mark & Kristin
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