By Peggy Hahn
LEAD is energizing and equipping innovative leaders in faith communities to attract people of all ages and cultures. In less than a year, as a new start-up, LEAD is beginning to form its identity with a clear mission to grow leaders with a deep, bold, consequential faith in Jesus Christ. We think of the word “deep” to describe the faith quest of every leader, we understand “bold” to be our capacity to grow leaders that empower other leaders and we think “consequential” means leaders who are inspiring action in their community.
Even if you have attended a LEAD learning experience, you may still be unclear about these three things:
Who is LEAD for?
LEAD has overlapping audiences. LEAD has a priority emphasis on congregational staff (especially pastors and associates in ministry). Some LEAD events will specifically target these professionals. However, we know that professional leaders are more effective at implementing change if they are growing key leaders beside them, which is why most LEAD events have a “group discount.” We will also welcome any adult who senses God’s call to Christian leadership, regardless of their vocation or congregational membership because we hope to expand the leadership circle with new leaders.
In addition, we are committed to growing student leaders who are accompanied by adult mentors. This means we will host cross-generational experiences rather than events specifically targeting youth. Research has taught us that young people grow in their faith in community with adults who are actively mentoring them, at home, in the congregation, and in the community.
Think about this as the ecology of leadership to include professionals, adult, and student learners who are growing a deep, bold, consequential faith in Jesus Christ.
How does LEAD understand “Christian Leadership”?
All people of faith have the capacity to influence others. LEAD understands Christian leadership as more than growing themselves. We are focused on Christian Leadership that intends to grow other leaders. Our values are:
- Learning with courageous questions and relentless curiosity
- Equipping others to discern and use their call and gifts
- Accompanying people under pressure and living in poverty
- Deepening spiritual life
Our outcomes are clear. LEAD will be successful when we:
- Catalyze Christian leaders on their own faith pilgrimage.
- Energize innovative leaders in faith communities to attract people of all ages and cultures.
- Equip leaders who grow other leaders.
- Empower faith communities to meaningfully connect with their neighborhood and to the world around them.
How is LEAD funded?
As a start-up, LEAD is funded by the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod, individual and congregational donors and programs. The TLGC has a decreasing funding commitment to LEAD so that over the next three years, LEAD must become financially viable. We understand that our programs will never fully fund LEAD’s staffing expenses, and shouldn’t. The cost of the programs would be so high that the very people we hope to serve would never be able to participate. That means LEAD is building congregational and individual donors who believe that Christian Leadership is vital to the future of the church. We are excited about sharing our story and would welcome the chance to visit with you, your church council or congregation.
In addition to funding operations, we have launched a special fund called “Grace Grants.” This is more than a scholarship fund as we will strategically award these funds based on merit and need. Individuals can apply for a grant to any LEAD program and donors can give grants targeting specific populations. For example, we currently have a small grant targeting campus ministry students. This is important as we grow new leaders.
If you are interested in more information about being a donor to LEAD, or supporting Grace Grants, please contact Peggy Hahn.
The TLGC is very entrepreneurial in birthing a start-up focusing on leadership development. As most synods are not doing this, LEAD is offered as a gift to the greater church. This is an intentional effort to address the real needs in congregations and in a changing world. We hope you will let us know how LEAD can serve you, that you will participate in LEAD opportunities, and that you will consider funding us in the year ahead.