Developing Young Leaders

By Dave Carder, pastor of counseling

On Monday evening, September 13, 2010, 20 young leaders and their spouses together with some of the staff met for dinner for the very first event held in our new building, the Commons.

Though this was their first group meeting, the nomination, application and selection process had been going on for several months. This launch was a result of a dream that had started about nine months earlier around the question of, “What would happen if we were able to identify 20 young adults, under 35 years of age, who had demonstrated leadership ability, and matched them with the former chairmen of our church in a mentoring process?”

So former church chairmen Ken Heuer, Bob Patterson, Roger Stull, Carl Camp, and Walt Williams enthusiastically jumped into the process of interviewing applicants all last summer and have spent many hours since, meeting in small groups with these who were selected. J. Oswald Sander’s book, Spiritual Leadership, was chosen as a text around which the discussions were built, but it was the relationships within the groups that made the process thrive.

In December, applicants attended a spiritual gift training taught by Fred Ouderkerken and then on the last Saturday morning in April we all met for breakfast back in the Commons with current church leadership. The next day, May 1 (our annual church elections) started the second part of the two year Leadership Development Program: placement on one of the church boards for the next fiscal year.

The vision for this program was that leadership is “caught” not “taught,” and

that even as our church changes to become more effective in our community, we didn’t want to lose sight of one of the historical earmarks of EV Free: the close working relationship between our elected leaders and our pastoral staff. We want to hear what these young adults have to say, and historically, young leadership has made our church strong. This pilot program provides a concrete commitment, as emphasized throughout Next Step, to both prepare young leaders andtopassthetorchtotheirgeneration.

Please pray for this first “class” of leaders, as they take up the mantle of service and responsibility. Pray for protection from the evil one. Pray for their families. Pray for balance to manage all the demands that they face. Many have young families and several are in graduate school. And pray that the passion that brought them into this program will continue to be kindled by the Spirit of God to create the kindofleadershipthathasblessedEV Free for the last 55 years!

Leadership Development Program participants: James Condon, Jonathan Gieseke, Greg Habbestad, Greg Hamner, Tyler Hoad, Daniel Long, Maurice Mejan, James Moore, Matt Ollivier, Cara Palozzi, Craig Petinak, Denette Rojas, James Sailhamer, Caitlin Scudder, David Shanebeck, Stephanee & David Turner, Bryan Vanderzee, Ben Wahlquist, Brendan White.

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