It was a privilege for me recently to address a leadership group at Adventist HealthCare and discuss our Mission, Vision, and Core Values. One of the questions I asked was, “Who are the ‘We’ in our statement of mission?” It’s an important question.

The word “we” shows up 17 times in the statement of our Mission, Vision, and Core Values. “We” clearly refers to the more than 6,000 employees and staff that make up our AHC family, but it also includes the many physicians and others who work closely with us to deliver excellent results and “compassionate and attentive care.”  I think it also includes the 100+ partners with whom we work very closely, and whose commitment to excellent service parallels our own.

Right in the middle of “RISES,” the acronym we use to prompt our recall of our core values, is the letter “S” for “Service.” It is our description of service that I quoted from in the paragraph above, and want to state in its entirety now:  “We provide compassionate and attentive care in a manner that inspires confidence.”  I think this one of the strongest statements we can make.

Chaim Potok, the acclaimed American Jewish writer and rabbi (and author of “The Chosen”), devoted much of his writing to exploring the way different cultures interact with each other. One of the things he focused on most frequently was the way that two different groups—with different histories, different values, different goals—could learn from each other.  But even more central to his work was the way that “subcultures” within a single culture could be very different and yet learn so much from each other.  He considered the capacity to listen and learn from one another a key aspect of participating in the act of service.  The way we serve each other within an organization—how we become “we”—is actually a fulfillment of our calling as humans and organizations.

The benefits of service are so numerous that many books have been written on the topic.  As it relates to Adventist HealthCare, at least four things happen when we approach our work with an attitude of serving one another along with our patients and community.

First, we refocus on seeing the things we hold in common and addressing shared needs. Being a part of the AHC “we” means expanding our understanding of how we do better together than by ourselves.

Second, the combination of perspectives allows us to evaluate our own unique situation with the fresh insights gained from the talents, experiences, and perspectives of our peers who are working in parallel circumstances.

Third, coming together as a team helps us have a better idea of how the organization prioritizes resources and how we can be even more intentional in the effective pursuit of our shared mission.

And fourth, being “we” instead of “me” strengthens both the opportunity and capacity to serve our patients and community with compassion and attentive care. The “We” factor blesses us through expanding and empowering the AHC ministry of healing.

I’m proud that the Adventist HealthCare “we” includes me. How will this wonderful team be called upon to even greater service in our future?