Questions We Answer

practices

How can I be renewed in the midst of great needs, declining resources and uncertainty about what comes next?

Sustained renewal requires participation in a community that shares a common vision. Christians have a vision, described in Scripture, of God’s reign. As the story of Acts shows, it takes considerable effort from the community to keep the end of God’s reign before us.

In our educational programs, participants are invited into a pattern of life that includes worship, study, rest and fellowship. We seek to embody Christian practices such as hospitality. We invite participants to imagine how to adjust their typical pattern of work to include more of these elements.

When resources of time and money are scarce, it is very difficult to reach out and join or renew relationships. Yet that is exactly what is required.

 

Why are organizations beyond the local congregation needed to sustain vital Christian community and ministry?

Thriving communities that are signs of God’s reign, to which all of our work points, need institutions because institutions allow practices to flourish. Our call is, therefore, not to malign institutions or allow them to languish; rather we are called to serve and improve them and start new ones so they can be bearers of tradition, laboratories for learning and incubators of leadership. This is a core belief of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

 

How do I evaluate our programs? I want to be sure they are in line with our mission and are having the impact we want them to have.

Developing a habit of reflection is critical to ongoing evaluation. Asking three simple questions at the beginning, middle and end of a project builds the habit:

With this habit in place, the more difficult questions that clarify the mission of the organization and map the alignment of services to that mission are easier. The most challenging evaluation is a reflection on impact. It takes time to understand impact, but a focus on such results leads to valuable learning that informs the next generation of experiments.

 

What should I be reading?

The deeper question isn’t just what a leader should read — it’s how.

Reading widely — in a variety of different disciplines, not all Christian — can help institutional leaders engage their imaginations more fully in their work. Border crossing — both geographical and intellectual — is one way for leaders to move beyond the narrow confines of their own world to understand the larger context of a culture.

How can you do that? Read great literature, such as the novels of Marilynne Robinson and the poetry of Wendell Berry. Read across the disciplines of business in journals, such as Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and in the sciences and engineering.

Faith & Leadership publishes a daily news digest that collects items from across the web that will help Christian leaders read widely and do their work. Faith & Leadership’s original content explores more directly the intersections of these readings and the work of Christian institutions.

We also encourage Christian leaders to read Scripture in a particular way — that is, slowly and with sustained attention and in community. This is key to forming a scriptural imagination, which is needed to live scripturally.

 
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  • Denominational Leadership

    Denominational Leadership

    An ecumenical, four-day educational event designed for people transitioning from parish ministry to executive-level positions within denominational governing bodies.

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  • Foundations of Christian Leadership

    Foundations of Christian Leadership

    A learning community that trains individuals new to leadership roles by cultivating practices essential to transformative leadership of Christian institutions and congregations.

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