“Leadership is the art of inspiring others to want to work toward a shared vision” was the framing quote for the day long leadership forum, entitled Finding Our Way Together: Leadership in Challenging Times, held at Frederick Mennonite Community on February 12th. The day long forum was the result of a partnership between Eastern District Conference, Frederick Mennonite Community and Franconia Conference’s School for Leadership Formation.
More than 60 pastoral, lay and professional leaders, representing 17 different congregations and para-church organizations from across Southeastern Pennsylvania attended the forum led by Mennonite Health Services (MHS) Alliance’s Rick Stiffney.
Bringing participants current context to the forefront, Stiffney, who serves as the Presidnet/CEO of MHS Alliance, began the day by showing the group a montage of current national and local headlines. Participants then spent the day working together in their organizational teams through three interactive modules on leading, planning and building a strong team. The modules focused on the nature of the call to serve, exploring how leaders, whether pastor or CEO, can create effective partnerships with boards to carry forward long-range planning in their particular context.
Erin Price, Zion Mennonite Church, appreciated Stiffney’s practical apporach, “I found the training refreshing and energizing. It was great to take time out of the normal day to day business of a board and discuss where we want to go and how we can work better together. Rick’s simple and basic teachings gave us applicable things we could take with us as a board and put into practice. I’m not only inspired me to be a better leader, but also to mentor and encourage other leaders.”
Karen Moyer, Rocky Ridge Mennonite Church, also noted the significance of taking time off from the business side of board meetings, “The self-assessment for leadership practices and then the opportunity for individual reflection and discussion within our team was most valuable for us. As leaders, we too often meet for ‘business’ without reflection or feedback on how our leadership is perceived or received.”
“What was most valuable to our team was being given the time to process, dream and plan together in a way that is not normally possible,” noted Brent Camilleri, Associate Pastor of Deep Run East Mennonite Church. “I think that each of us felt challenged to reevaluate our leadership approach and to look at how we lead our congregation with a new sense of focus and purpose.”