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Story Leadership Academy inspires many to share Christ beyond church doors

Leadership Academy inspires many to share Christ beyond church doors

Fall 2015 Leadership Academy“It has been an awesome experience for me,” said Ramona Winfield, a minister who is starting an urban ecumenical initiative in Kansas City, Mo.

Winfield joined a team of 60 leaders focusing on ministry or social entrepreneurship for the Hope Partnership fall Leadership Academy in Indianapolis held in September.

“It was an awesome opportunity for anyone that is in leadership in the church or is thinking about being a social entrepreneur,” she says.

Throughout the week, the academy featured a variety of speakers including Julian DeShazier, senior pastor of University Christian Church, Chicago, Ill., Vy Nguyen, executive director of Week of Compassion, and Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Once again, the National Benevolent Association (NBA) presented the social entrepreneur track during the academy. This track was for leaders seeking to develop entrepreneurial skills essential to leadership in social ministries. The Leadership Academy also offered tracks for interim ministers and transformation.

“The Leadership Academy opened my eyes,” says Faatua Lago, new church planter and pastor of Samoan Congregational Christian Church in El Paso, Texas. “I have been inspired to think outside the box,” he says. “I want to serve not just my congregation but the community as a whole and lead people to Christ.”

These sentiments were shared by many who attended the event.

“I have found so many like-minded people here,” says Teresa McNearney.

She co-leads the ministry, Disciples in the Wilderness with Ann Austin Corley.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived,” says McNearney. “I came here looking for help for my ministry and received much more.”

Wrapping up the week of events, Hope Partnership staff provided a commissioning service, featuring Vy Nguyen, executive director of Week of Compassion.

“The world is calling us to be a movement for wholeness and healing,” says Nguyen. “Let us go into the world and be the church that God has called us to be.”