Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 17

Whenever I despair that transformation is even possible, I go to my happy place and think about the Ridder Leadership Initiative.  I spent most of last week in Muskegon, Michigan with about 40 or so of the most amazing ordinary people you can even imagine.  They look like a fairly normal collection of pastors and denominational workers who take time out of their busy, demanding lives to focus on their own personal transformation and to build the skills and the character necessary to lead transformation in their congregations.

After a couple of days of fun and hard work, their teams come from their churches and gather around tables to talk about their own discipleship and their dreams for their congregations back home.  These laypeople are deeply committed to the process and take their learning back home to their families and their Bible study classes and their workplaces with renewed focus and courage.

This is my colleague and dear friend JTH with his arm around one of the many unsung heroes of the Ridder Initiative, Mrs. Lenora Ridder.  She and her late husband Bud, a pastor and seminary president, were passionate about caring for pastors and wanted to contribute to their development through a fund they set up and supported.  The fund supported bringing in some of the best minds in pastoral leadership development to the pastors of the denomination and ended up also bringing the authors of The Leaders' Journey.

After an event, several of us gathered around a table at the back of the room and began talking about the implications of our observation that although events are fun and helpful, they don't even begin to get at the mental models that keep us from the change we so desperately need.  Mrs. Ridder, always open to new ideas, agreed that the money in the fund could be used to create an experiential process without even knowing what that would look like.  She attends every gathering and adds her wisdom to the planning process on a regular basis.  Her open mindedness and courage and flexibility and encouragement are what make her one of my best loved heroes of the faith.  I truly want to be just like her when I grow up.

1 comment:

Janet said...

It's lovely to see pictures of this place and people who have become such a part of your work! Does spiritual direction have a place in the dynamic?