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Helping Leaders Lead through Change

March 1, 2023
Aarol Einfeld
Aarol Einfeld
Photo: Calvin Theological Seminary

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to change how we work, worship, learn, and relate. The effects of those changes have lingered, even after pandemic restrictions have lifted. In many of our communities we see an ongoing increase of hybrid working arrangements in workplaces, expectations of online worship for churches, and more.

“Pastors experienced significant levels of burnout during the pandemic. During 2022, 42 percent of pastors reported they were considering quitting ministry altogether,” said Aaron Einfeld, who serves as Calvin Theological Seminary’s director of lifelong learning. “Many ministry leaders continue to experience burnout long after the adrenaline of the pandemic has worn off. Leaders deserve our support as they navigate our new, post-COVID reality. The truth is that it is draining to be in ministry and have to do the constant adapting and change that is needed today.”

With this in mind, the seminary has launched a new initiative called the Adaptive Leadership Cohort.

“The Adaptive Leadership Cohort will be a learning community of Christian leaders who want to lead their teams and organizations effectively through change,” said Einfeld.

While pastors are a prime audience for this peer learning opportunity, it isn’t limited to church leaders. Nor is the program focused only on pandemic-related changes. Instead, it is geared for Christian school principals, business owners, nonprofit leaders, church leaders, and others who desire to effectively manage people through any sort of organizational change.

“There are a lot of challenges facing Christians today, and they are affecting people in a range of settings – not just churches,” said Einfeld. “The hope is that a program like this can provide an opportunity for leaders to learn from and support each other.”

The Adaptive Leadership Cohort will begin with an in-person gathering July 17-20, 2023, at the Evins Mill woodland resort in Smithville, Tenn. During that time, participants will develop relationships while participating in leadership development workshops. There will also be open times for solitude, introspection, and rest. This shared experience will set the foundation for their learning and development together.

“The in-person event will kick off five months of online group connection,” said Einfeld. “We will all be learning from each other as we lead through adaptive changes in our own contexts. By reporting our ongoing experiences back to the group each month, we will experience support and accountability. We will invite guest experts to visit our online groups along the way.”

Participants can expect to learn personal resilience strategies and how to manage conflict, inspire a shared vision, deal with resistance, and manage organizational change.

The cost to participate is $350 USD for the six-month program including the retreat (participants are responsible for their own travel to Tennessee). Applications are due Apr. 3, and space will be limited to about 12 participants.

“The world is in a time of accelerated change, and the ability to adapt, be flexible, and adjust is becoming more and more important for leaders,” Einfeld concluded. “No one can do that alone; nor should we have to. Leadership, especially ministry leadership, can be lonely. We hope the cohort experience helps leaders adapt to change while providing an ongoing community of support. Hopefully we can help leaders avoid burnout while maintaining impact amid change, both now and into the future.”