31
Oct

Changing the World

The old adage—dream big or go home—certainly applies to LF’s vision of cities and communities becoming playgrounds instead of battlegrounds. Farfetched, outrageous, impracticable, might all be adjectives attached to this vision…unless Margaret Mead, who we quoted last month, is correct.

 

http://binauralphasemeditation.com/?p=6 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Here is another example of one of those leaders Mead is imagining—this time in Delhi.

 

In 2007, Catalyst Leadership Foundation was born out of Abhishek Gier’s deep dive into one of Delhi’s poorest areas. Amid severe poverty, Abhishek also encountered an abundance of grace as he built relationships with the children of that neighborhood. This, he decided, is what the Kingdom of God looks like in all of its sharp-edged glory. So he and his wife, Angelika, said yes to Jesus’s call to seek justice, defend the oppressed, and take up the cause of the orphaned- regardless of the consequences.

 

Catalyst’s big idea was to connect local leaders with neighborhoods like the one Abhishek and Angelika first encountered and change things from the grassroots up: a unique approach within the caste system of Delhi. Through these connections—powerful to vulnerable; young to old; religious to nonreligious—Delhi is beginning to be relationally rewired.

 

One of the particular projects built by Catalyst and its partners to rewire the city is an initiative that rescues girls and women from a life of poverty and sex trafficking. Catalyst’s work provides everything from education to employment opportunities to a supportive community—offering a future previously unthinkable.

 

Searching to build organizational capacity and drive further change in their city, Catalyst became a member of the LF network in 2008. A decade later, Abhishek describes the LF approach and wheel of change as exactly the tonic Delhi needs: a focus on leadership, support from a global community, and an emphasis on working together to address a city’s greatest challenges. Because of his journey, Abhishek now coaches other LLFs in Southeast Asia.

 

Beginning with seeing grace in street children to now coaching others, Abhishek is one of the reasons LF is confident that cities are becoming God’s playgrounds. Investment in LF is an investment in leaders like Abhishek to “change the world” into playgrounds.

29
Sep

Changing the World

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Leadership Foundations is graced with just such a reality: LLF presidents and their staff around the world. These leaders are the “group of thoughtful, committed citizens” that LF is convinced “can change the world” through increased mastery of the LF wheel of change. Stay tuned over the next couple of months as we introduce them to you!

 

Lisa Slayton is one such president. While remaining committed to loving Pittsburgh into a playground, Lisa has a particular passion for helping business leaders integrate their faith life and vocation. This vision came about working in the corporate world, where she realized many of her colleagues had a deep desire to build relationships with other leaders and dream about how to effectively leverage their business skills and shared values across the city for its betterment. Under Lisa’s leadership, PLF created the Leaders Collaborative (LC). The idea that if the participants saw their work as ministry, an indelible impact would be made in the lives of their employees, and ultimately, the city of Pittsburgh. The LC does just that; it helps leaders use their God-given skills to find the place where passion meets need in the city. Through the LC, leaders from across city sectors spend six months together being coached in the power of relationships to “transform the city of Pittsburgh into a city of truth, beauty, justice, and human flourishing.”

 

As PLF continues to take on this large vision for its city, Lisa believes that Leadership Foundations strengthens PLF’s work significantly. The LF wheel of change takes context seriously, not only allowing, but embracing PLF’s unique model. The LF Accreditation process made a series of recommendations to sustain and build a viable organization. The Senior Associate strategy, where Lisa not only receives coaching from Senior Associate but also serves as one, provides practical support, strategies, and fellowship with like-minded leaders.

 

These kinds of services are replicated throughout the LF global network, as leaders like Lisa and their organizations dream about their cities and drive the wheel of change to see them improved. Investment in LF is an investment in leaders like Lisa to “change the world” into playgrounds.


Coaching for Impact

“That which goes deepest to the heart goes farthest to the world.” – F. Dale Bruner

 

Bruner’s statement frames the efficacy of our Senior Associate strategy, 20 experienced leaders who mentor each of our members around what works. Last month we introduced you to one of these Senior Associates, Howard Eddings, who has worked in Memphis for over 30 years taking on systemic issues and developing holistic programs that create real impact. This work has been shaped by a heart that deeply cares for Memphis and desires to see it transformed.

 

Howard brought this passion and experience to his Senior Associate role and work with a person a long way from Memphis: Wilna de Beer, the President of the Tshwane Leadership Foundation (TLF) in Pretoria, South Africa. Founded in 1993, TLF is committed to modeling innovative social change and inclusion in the capital city of South Africa as they take on some of its most pressing issues from chronic illness to homelessness. As Wilna’s Senior Associate, Howard provides practical coaching and support- praying together, listening and discussing the opportunities and challenges in front of a mature organization like TLF. Through these monthly meetings, Howard connects Wilna to others in the LF network taking on similar issues and to key LF resources like the Stages of Impact Online Platform and LF Accreditation that are used to develop a custom plan to deepen impact in Pretoria.

 

Howard and Wilna’s story was repeated many times over this past year. To date, our 20 Senior Associates provided over 1,000 hours of personalized training in 2017 to our 42 members throughout the world. Read Street Lights next month to learn how your investment can empower Howard and Wilna and the rest of the LF network to continue to transform their cities and make them more like playgrounds.


Coaching That Works

Who taught you that? Most of us can quickly recall an important coach or mentor in our lives; a person who helped you learn a new skill, invested in you over the years, or even changed the way you saw and navigated the world. A good coach can change everything. At LF, we believe this, and as a result have developed a team of 20 Senior Associates who serve as coaches to each of our members.  One of these veteran leaders is Howard Eddings. In his role as a Senior Associate, he comes alongside LF members as they seek to transform their cities into playgrounds. The reason for this strategy is simple: Howard has experience and knows what works.

 

From his early work with young people in Memphis, to leading the Memphis Leadership Foundation, to now running Red Zone Ministries, Howard has curated a remarkable resume over the past 30 years. In addition to running successful organizations, Howard has dedicated himself to a particular place, Memphis, for the long-term, and has committed to holistic, community-based programs that see God’s common grace extended and real impact take place.

 

As an LF Senior Associate, Howard meets with the LLF Presidents of Pretoria, South Africa and Jacksonville, Florida each month where he helps them develop their gifts, ensures they access LF’s baseline services, and shares his wealth of experience running a Local Leadership Foundation. In short, Howard coaches and mentors these Presidents around what works.

 

LF’s investment in Senior Associates, like Howard, has led to better resourced and supported LLF presidents, which in turn leads to higher impact in their respective cities. Read Street Lights next month to learn about the impact Howard and other Senior Associates have through their support and mentorship of LLF presidents.

25
Oct

Whole Leaders: Honoring Juliao Mutemba

LF believes that to transform cities and create a better world, we must focus on leadership and developing whole leaders. As such, whole leaders is the Raison d’être for LF’s existence. One of the key characteristics of a whole leader is seeing a “third way.” Whole leaders recognize that the world is not dichotomous, so they work toward a better world by bringing together seemingly opposing sectors or groups in a community and then coalescing and mobilizing them around a common vision, mission, and set of values in their respective cities. From work in Delhi to Dallas, Pretoria to Portland, and Memphis to Maputo, LF has had the great fortune of having these kinds of leaders in abundance. Nowhere was this better personified than in Juliao Mutemba, who recently passed away.

 

Stephan de Beer, a friend and colleague of Juliao, as well as a Leadership Foundations’ Senior Associate provided the following tribute and reflection on Juliao’s life and the legacy he created in Maputo:

 

Juliao was an extraordinary humble servant of the Lord, but equally courageous in all of his endeavors. He was a warm and gentle priest caring for his community of Bagamoyo in Maputo. Additionally, he was the founder and leader of Leadership Foundation of Mozambique (LFM), a networker of the body of Christ beyond all boundaries, an ecumenical leader who served in the Council of Churches of Mozambique, and he played a central role in the organization of the All-African Council of Churches gathering in Maputo in 2008.

 

A sensitive and wise theologian with a breadth and depth of insight that was completely disarming, he struggled for justice and Jesus in the midst of harsh urban spaces. Among these harsh spaces was the city of Maputo’s garbage dump. Intimately acquainted with this place and the community who made it a their home, Juliao was writing a research paper for his Master’s Degree in Missiology entitled Hidden Treasures: a Theology of Garbage, such was Juliao himself – a hidden treasure; a strong and significant leader in the continent of Africa; a passionate and persevering servant of the city. And yet, his deep and humble servant hood was matched only by a theological understanding that encompassed a concern for the poor, a commitment to environmental justice, dedication to gender equality, and a desire to see the urban church empowered. As humble as he was, just as passionate, courageous, persevering and determined was he, not to be swayed from the path that God had led him on. Even if a particular vision took years to complete, Juliao would walk step by step towards that vision.

 

As a whole leader who developed a third way as he cared for his whole city, Juliao made the world a better place. LF is ever so fortunate to have women and men like him around the world.