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In last month’s Church@Work I addressed the need for developing leaders for service in the church. This month, I’d like to share with you the ideas behind the future Leadership Institute of the Christian Reformed Church.

The institute’s primary focus will be to coordinate the leadership development efforts of denominationally related colleges and agencies. It will also focus attention on collaborating with all segments of the church, to encourage and develop a “culture of leadership” that emphasizes leaders and followers working together toward common ends in trusting, committed, and mutually accountable relationships.

We also need to revise traditional ideas of what leadership is and how it should be practiced. It is increasingly clear that leadership skills are desperately needed as society—including the CRC—becomes more diverse. In that diversity the understanding of what it means to lead, or how to talk about a “culture of leadership,” is changing. We must prepare leaders for the future who are trained to lead in our new social and cultural realities.

This is an exciting and important initiative, not only because it addresses a pressing need but also because it is the church’s gift to future generations. What better anniversary gift than bequeathing a resource to our children and our children’s children?

 But the leadership institute’s impact will, we hope, not end there. A leadership institute can make a significant contribution to, and be in collaboration with, the worldwide church as well. Such training is desperately needed among our ecumenical partners worldwide.

Last but not least the leadership institute is intended to attract students and professionals so that the gospel’s call to be salt and light may be lived out not only in the church but everywhere.

The CRC—now in its 150th anniversary year—is blessed with tremendous intellectual, practical, and financial resources that can make a difference in our time and into the future. That is God’s gift to us and, because it is a gift, it is our responsibility to advance the ministry and values of the kingdom. The Leadership Institute of the Christian Reformed Church will be dedicated to that end.

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