One of the greatest needs in the church today is to invest in and develop future leaders. It was that passion to meet this great need that birthed Leadership Initiative. A training program specifically aimed at those who feel a call to ministry.
From the earliest discussions several foundational principles began to emerge.
- The entire program from beginning to end would clearly point to a missional theme. Regardless of whether we are talking about competencies such as conflict resolution and team building, or the training focuses on essential theological statements – it all has to be relevant to expanding the Kingdom and effective ministries that reach the community.
- A second principle that surfaced was spiritual formation. It is apparent in the challenging world we live in, developing competencies without also focusing on character and spiritual vitality would be disastrous.
- A third principle was that of community. Instead of training leaders in isolation or at best within one local congregation, Leadership Initiative was committed to creating learning communities of excellence and Koinonia. And so every person that enters LI is placed in a diverse cluster with others from across the nation who are also on the journey. In that cluster community they share life, ministry and the equipping to fulfill the call on their life over 2 ½ years of preparation.
As the dream and conversations took shape and began to become a reality, in October 2012 we started with a six-month module; 15 members divided into 3 clusters and three coaches who agreed to pioneer this new effort.
Now, three years later, we have 15 members who have completed the journey and we celebrate their impending ordinations in Ohio, Indiana and Florida. Additionally, we have almost 200 candidates in 42 clusters with great coaches. Candidate testimonies have overwhelmingly acclaimed how effective, helpful and life changing LI has been for them in their personal lives and their preparation for ministry.
The need to raise up gifted and prepared leaders is one felt across the nation and around the world. As a result of the great need and in light of the effective and relevant training LI provided, Church of God Ministries approached Healthy Growing Churches and the three states that founded Leadership Initiative and acquired this training program to be supported and utilized nationally and globally.
LI finds itself at a new beginning again. Now branded as Leadership Focus, the same foundational principles and missional concept are being introduced into all of our assemblies and credentialing bodies. Church of God Ministries, through Leadership Focus, has now partnered with the School of Theology so that every seminarian who is called to ministry in the Church of God can concurrently attend seminary and for no additional cost, complete Leadership Focus, thus preparing them for ordination as they graduate from seminary. Global Missions has also now adopted Leadership Focus as their leader training program for missionaries seeking credentialing.
The seeds that began quite small to see leaders prepared with competencies, mission and spiritual strength is becoming a powerful tool for transforming the culture of leader development in the Church of God. We celebrate this with those being ordained over the next couple of months; we celebrate an increasing number of leaders being trained and equipped through this tool; and we celebrate that God Himself is raising up future leaders to continue fulfilling His mission of reaching our communities.
Take a minute to watch the video and to celebrate with us the candidates who will be ordained in October.
Post contributed by Jeannette Flynn, HGC Evangelist.