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. This curriculum is currently under review for a new Fellows launch in Fall 2023. Historically, the following sessions have been offered.
Living as a Spiritual Leader (Retreat)
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
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
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?
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.
Best Practices in Leadership, Communication, and Coaching
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.
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
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.
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. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated. The following sessions are scheduled for the current second year Fellows (2021-2023 cohort).
Reaching More and Diverse People
Facilitator: Lisa Yebuah
September 12-13, 2022
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.
Shaping Servant Leaders and Building Ministry Teams
Facilitator: Carl Frazier
October 24-25, 2022
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.
From Vision to Reality: The Collaborative Discipleship Project
Facilitator: Mitzi Johnson
November 14-15, 2022
On any given day, a variety of topics present themselves as worthy candidates for our congregations’ focused attention in worship, spiritual formation, or missional settings. One day we’re focused on improving community mental health. On another day, public education catches our eye … or maybe physical health, creation care, homelessness, food insecurity, biblical literacy, unity, interfaith dialog, or racial justice. The possibilities are endless; however, when we take on too many priorities at once, we risk diminishing our impact or burning out. What if your church could establish a short-term ministerial focus that energizes the congregation, makes ministry fun, and effects real change in your congregation and community? Together, we’ll discuss how to discern a project-based vision, build collaboration, and execute the vision for maximum impact.
Facilitator: Lynn Benson and Reggie Ponder
January 9-10, 2023
The first day, participants will focus on healthy financial discipleship. Just like any aspect of our discipleship needs to be nurtured regularly (prayer, acts of mercy, acts of service, etc.), so does financial discipleship. Learning to talk, teach, and train on this vital aspect of discipleship year round brings transformation in every area of our lives as leaders and in the lives of those entrusted to our leadership. This session will focus on tithing, building budgets to reflect ministry priorities, annual financial campaigns, generosity, and legacy building.
The second 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.
Facilitator: Denise Honeycutt
February 6-7, 2023
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.
Leading: What to Measure, Why to Measure it, and What to do about it
Facilitator: Gray Southern
March 6, 2023
Everyone generally acknowledges that things about “their church” need to change. But what to change? Can you change? How do you lead change? In this module, we’ll do an initial examination of all those questions and talk about the process of change, including the ways it impacts congregations and pastors.
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.