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Apr  2015 20
Introduction: Nurturing Leaders

Two hands holding a sapling in soil.For the next 16 weeks, I’ll write weekly on the topic of the leadership we need for the challenges facing the Christian movement today. In the reflections, I’ll try to connect challenges with leadership.

Seminaries are in the leadership education business. We are funded, organized, and best equipped to offer graduate level education for various ministries. But seminaries do not identify, raise, form, call, appoint, fully equip, or even fully educate leaders. In the complete arc of leadership formation for ministry, local churches, camping programs, campus ministries, commissions on ministry, regional education for ministry programs, and graduate theological programs depend on each other. 

For whom are we who care about the future of the church in the U.S. looking to provide leadership for the Christian movement in church communities and in society, for such a time as this, to meet the massive challenges we face? Where are we looking? What kind of people do we want to become and what kind of leadership do we need to help us get there? These are the kinds of questions I intend to raise over the next 16 weeks as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) head into General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio and as theological schools complete another round of recruitment for seminary. 

In the seminary world, we need your help looking for leaders. I love the image Frederick Buechner provides in a reflection on a Christmas Eve service he attended many decades ago at St. Peter’s in Rome. As the pope was being carried into the basilica on his chair, the pope strained to search the crowd, his eyes magnified by his thick soda-bottle bottom glasses. Buechner imagined the pope was checking the crowd to see if maybe Jesus had returned in their midst that night. Well, we don’t—or at least should not—expect our ministry leaders to BE Jesus, but we should be attentive and focused with our eyes as wide as Coke-bottle bottoms in searching for, forming, and encouraging the leaders we need. 

I am writing for the next 16 weeks in hope of gaining support from you in searching for the leaders we need, for such a time as this. 

You can discover more information on Phillips Theological Seminary and the education we offer. 

 

Browse more posts by: Gary Peluso-Verdend, Phillips President
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