Equipping Leaders for the Future

April 2, 2019

At the end of February, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) hosted a dozen thought leaders who have a deep love for Jesus and the Church. These individuals were invited to help ECF discern its unique contribution to adaptive and transformational leadership. To prepare for the gathering, participants were asked to read Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger—a book that parallels adaptive leadership during the Lewis and Clark Expedition and how adaptive leadership may (and should) be exercised in the Church today. Over the course of two and half days, participants learned more about the history of ECF and its leadership initiatives, reviewed the book and discussed the overall landscape of leadership in the Church today.

During a brainstorming session, the group identified about 30 areas of church leadership (things like, but not limited to, Stewardship, Community Organizing, Evangelism, Theological Education, Leading Change, Lay Formation, Discernment, Conflict, Coaching, Administration, Liturgical Training, etc.) After identifying major themes, participants were asked to identify organizations, groups and individuals who are already doing a good job teaching or equipping leaders in those areas. From there, the group identified gaps or opportunities for ECF to either fill or partner with others to resource the deficiency based on what ECF is already doing or could be doing.

The consensus of the group was that Lay Formation, Leading Change, and Adaptive Capacity/Resilience are the areas that ECF might consider providing more resources and training. After some time, the group made some broad thematic suggestions as well as very specific recommendations for each area of opportunity. ECF was delighted with the process and the collaborative spirit that was clearly felt by those who were present.

One theme expressed over the course of the gathering was trust: trust for ECF, trust in the resources ECF provides, and trust in ECF’s leadership. Because ECF values independence, transformation, partnership, and discipleship, many shared their appreciation for how uniquely positioned ECF is to help equip the church in new and innovative ways. ECF takes this responsibility very seriously and is looking forward to bringing much needed resourcing to the Church. ECF is grateful for the individuals who joined us in this discernment. God placed a tremendous wealth of knowledge, talent, and passion around the table to help ECF consider its next steps in the leadership conversation. If you’d like to contribute or learn more, feel free to be in touch with Melissa Rau, Sr. Program Director of Leadership.