Fellows Program faculty and practitioners consist of a community of carefully selected, highly-skilled resource leaders drawn from area universities, leadership consultant groups, and the church (Meet Our Faculty). A team of church leaders and education professionals whose careers focus on leadership development developed the curriculum.
Class sessions meet Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings in (or near) Raleigh. Hotel rooms are provided for those who live too far from Raleigh to commute. When necessary due to COVID case numbers, sessions have shifted to a virtual format.
The first year curriculum focuses on who we are as leaders and how to be more effective in relationships. These dates included are those scheduled for the incoming Class of 2022-2024. In addition to these sessions, a shorter, online session and individual debriefs will be held for Fellows who have not yet completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) through another conference opportunity.
Living as a Spiritual Leader (Retreat)
September 20-21, 2022 at the Trinity Center
This retreat provides an opportunity for Fellows to meet and form a covenant community that will journey together through this two-year program. The retreat offers time for spiritual re-connection and alignment centered in the idea of sustainable, spiritual leadership. Participants will discover new perspectives about spiritual leadership and how it is lived out in Being as well as Doing. During the retreat, Fellows will experience some spiritual practices that create an environment where God can more deeply work and transform. Fellows will also begin to explore and plan how to replicate, practice, and grow Spiritual Leadership in their own congregations.
Self-Awareness and Self-Care
October 24-25, 2022
Effective leadership requires you to understand yourself and engage in the type of self-care that will keep you energized, healthy, and connected to your faith and the important people in your life. In this session, you’ll learn about your emotional intelligence (EI) and how you can further develop EI skills to ensure your success both at work in and in your personal life. Emotional intelligence is grounded in self-awareness and is known to be more predictive of career success than your intelligence or technical abilities – and, it can be learned at any age! By the end of this session, you’ll identify which areas of emotional intelligence you want to develop and create a plan to do so.
Relationships and Team Building
November 14-15, 2022
When team building experiences are done well, it brings out the best in everyone. People feel like they are greater than the sum of their parts, that they accomplished their mission, and that they made an impact. Positive team experiences are fun and meaningful, and people who experience them tend to sign up for more. When you think of positive team building experiences you have been a part of, what made them memorable? What were the gifts of those moments? How can we use the lessons from these experiences to build good teams and relationships?
Best Practices in Leadership, Communication, and Coaching
January 9-10, 2023
This session focuses on leadership, communication, and coaching. Participants explore practical aspects of day-to-day management of employees and volunteers, including ways to engage and retain volunteers. In addition, participants learn a coaching model to help them support the development of key constituents within their churches. At the foundation of the coaching model is communication, so participants practice communication skills, such as feedback and feedforward. Finally, participants will discuss the importance of working with teams and will learn ideas and techniques to implement with teams and committees.
February 6-7, 2023
Ministry means working with people, and working with people means conflict! In this session, you’ll examine how your own background and personality play a role in how you approach conflict as a leader. You’ll develop your conflict management skills to enhance your communication with individuals and groups. As a result of this session, you’ll be able to analyze situations and identify when, how, and why to intervene when working with others in ministry settings.
Discernment, Decision-Making, and Leading Change
March 6-7, 2023
Every day we make thousands of decisions in our personal and professional lives as well as in our church lives. What’s the connection between discernment and decision-making? How do we make a decision and then implement that decision? How do we, as faithful leaders, lead change? In our time together, we will look at possible answers to these questions. We will also learn practical tools for decision-making and leading change. We will undergird our conversation with a theological foundation. By the end of our time together, participants will have more clarity for discerning God’s movement as well as more methods for making decisions and leading change in their churches and in their personal lives.
In this highly interactive workshop, we are going to harness the collective wisdom of your best team experiences; explore the common elements needed to build teams and grow relationships; experience the kind of joy, meaning, and relationships we want more of when we gather in our congregations and communities; discover how God is at work in these moments; and learn hands-on, practical tools to help us accomplish what we hope for and share what we have learned back home.
Reaching More and Diverse People
April 24-25, 2023
Evangelism today must begin with “R”…for relationships. This session will explore new and non-traditional ways and settings for reaching more people for Christ, including younger and more diverse people. Participants will think about the places in their community, the seasons in people’s lives, and the times in the church year that provide the best opportunities for church members and specific ministries to reach out and build relationships as the “bridge” to faith in Christ. Intentional methods and resources will be addressed for equipping this “new” congregational reach, as well as how to prepare for receiving, equipping, and sending these new people to share with more new people.
The second year, Fellows learn to look at their church and community with a different lens, hearing about church strategies they can put into practice. These sessions are not yet scheduled for the 2022-2024 cohort. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated, but the following sessions have been offered in the past and provide a general idea of what Fellows can expect in the second year of the program.
Shaping Servant Leaders and Building Ministry Teams
Scripture teaches that ministry belongs to the whole people of God and is the work of the baptized, not simply the ordained and the commissioned. In this session, participants will learn the biblical principles undergirding “the priesthood of all believers,” be equipped with models of discernment and call for lay leadership engagement, examine potential methodologies for training and equipping lay leaders, and discuss potential challenges to implementing the vision in the context of a local church.
The first day, participants will be immersed in the Christian vision of holistic stewardship by examining how to create and develop a church culture rooted in biblical stewardship. The second day, participants will focus on finances, tithing, building budgets to reflect ministry priorities, financial campaigns, generosity, and legacy building.
Relational Discipleship and Small Group Ministries
The Methodist movement has historically been grounded in covenant discipleship. Covenant communities provide three essential elements that help disciples grow. These groups hold us up to live God’s best for our lives, hold us accountable to be who God calls us to be, and hold us together when our world falls apart. During these sessions we will explore the historical foundations of Wesley’s model for discipleship, learn the elements of creating a culture of covenant disciple making, and be able to identify skills and strategies to recruit lay leaders and empower them to become effective disciple makers within your local community.
How to Measure What Matters
Participants will review case studies of various church sizes and modes of operation including traditional systems as well as the biblical, organic paradigm of diversity, shared power, ownership, accountability, and support. Topics include discussions about who makes decisions, the distribution of power and control, core values, setting priorities, and the ministry vision of a congregation.
During Missional Ministry, participants explore how the church can be a different kind of witness in the world, following the model of Jesus and Jesus’s teachings. Keeping in clear view the data and statistics about church growth and in the midst of change, how can church leaders be involved in their community in new and creative ways that are life-giving for both the community and congregations? Fellows will explore how to communicate this shift in perspective in order to lead congregations into a paradigm shift that proclaims a hope-filled future for the church and the world.