Desired Future 3: Churches Cultivating Leaders
Our churches and ministries will grow new leaders of many kinds. At all levels—local, regional, denominational—we discover the talents, skills, and strengths in our ordained and lay people. We cultivate those gifts through education, handson ministry opportunities, and guidance from mature leaders in order to raise new leaders who have deep roots and yield abundant fruit.
Our congregations and ministries will
- discern the particular kinds of skilled leaders their people and neighborhoods need.
- choose as leaders men and women who are filled with the Spirit and who are skilled at bringing creativity to old problems, seeing conflict and change as opportunities, and empowering others to use their gifts.
- search out the gifts and skills in members of all genders, ages, abilities, and ethnicities, and help them grow and strengthen those gifts through education, ministry opportunities, and deep relationships with experienced leaders.
- join partners throughout the world to seek out and cultivate innovative local leaders who can bring effective and Spirit-filled responses to needs they know best.
“The church has always been my second home. Growing up, I heard Bible stories but never knew there was more behind those stories. I wanted to know more about those stories, which led me to enroll in the LDN (Leadership Development Network) program. After three years of study I was examined and received my license to exhort. But I didn’t preach in my own church until three years later. I did preach in other places, though.”
“I usually preach like I’m teaching. Since I used to be a school teacher, I become a teacher and the congregation becomes my students. This also helps me not to get nervous. In addition, I use visual aids to get the message across.
“I’m very interested in people growing. The Scripture talks about growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know Christ wants us to grow. Going through the LDN program has really expanded my growth. I feel more confident in my presentations, whether I’m preaching or leading Bible study. I see that in other LDN graduates too when I watch them preach or lead worship.
“We have over 20 LDN graduates who are licensed to exhort. That really says a lot about our churches. People want to step up when given a chance. We are finally feeling ownership of our churches. We are beginning to take care of our churches too.
“One of the things I do when preparing lessons for a small group is not to follow everything the manual says but to adapt or adjust it to my Navajo audience. I ask myself, ‘How would our Navajo people do this or address this?’ To the group I’ll say, ‘The book might say this, but we Navajos don’t do it that way.’ The action plans for Timothy Leadership lessons have steps to follow, but sometimes the steps don’t work for us. Sometimes we don’t have the Navajo words for the words used in the lessons. In the end, though, we all accomplish what God has set for us to do, and he gets all the glory.”
Darleen Litson is a member of Four Corners CRC in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. She and her husband are graduates of the Classis Red Mesa Leadership Development Network. She now serves the LDN as its Dean of Students.