2018-19: Houston

This cohort is no longer accepting applications.

Join us for Foundations of Christian Leadership in Houston, where we will draw on the rich resources of the surrounding community as we imagine and listen together to how God is stirring in our world, in our church and in our lives.

"What made this program excellent for me were the ways that the learning was a combination of input from different disciplines with the experience and expertise of my peers in the program."
- Participant in Foundations

Our sessions will be held at the Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, which seeks to facilitate knowledge of and relationship with God by nurturing spirituality through prayer and opportunities for both Christian and interfaith lecture and conversation. The Hines Center is located at 500 Fannin St., Ste. 100, Houston, Texas, 77002.

Our setting will help us explore key themes of the program, such as traditioned innovation and thriving communities.

As with other cohorts of Foundations, participants will have the opportunity to apply for a $3,500 Innovation Grant. Please see the “Grant Eligibility” section of this site to learn more.

Detailed information about applying for Foundations of Christian Leadership is available via the “How to Apply” section of this website.

Key Dates

Application deadline: August 20, 2018
Registration deadline (for accepted applicants): September 10, 2018

Houston sessions:
Session 1: October 22-25, 2018
Session 2: January 28-31, 2019

Program Cost: $150

A modest registration fee includes all program fees for both weeks at the Hines Center, readings, leadership assessments and select meals. The program is generously supported by a gift from Lilly Endowment Inc.

There is no cost to apply. Upon acceptance into the Foundations of Christian Leadership program, you will receive an invitation to register. We require the $150 registration fee to secure your spot in the cohort.

Join Us!

Apply now to participate in the Foundations of Christian Leadership program

Foundations of Christian Leadership is offered multiple times a year in varying locations.

Program Format

We will begin and end each day of the program with worship led by participants and set in the Book of Acts. Each day also will include guest lectures, plenary discussion, small group work and time for reflection. Peer groups form an important source of honest sharing, support and encouragement at Foundations.

Our work will be enhanced by speakers such as Marlon Hall, an anthropologist who helps organizations and individuals further their “holy and rugged work” of innovation through listening, looking and sense-making design. María Teresa Gastón, an organizational psychologist, will lead participants through three self-assessments and help us understand the results and their implications for our leadership. With wit and wisdom from his years of consulting and theological reflection, Dave Odom will guide reflection on some of our readings and experience and promote conversation on themes we grapple with in Christian leadership. Victoria White will introduce ways to think creatively about project options to extend your learning and will accompany participants in what she promises is a “grace-filled” grant process after the completion of the two in-person sessions.

Session 1: October 22-25, 2018 | Session 2: January 28-31, 2019

Our typical day will include the following activities: 

8:00 amBreakfast on your own
8:30 amMorning worship
9:00 amGuest speaker
10:30 amBreak
10:45 amPlenary discussions
12:00 pmLunch
1:30 pmSmall group discussion
3:15 pmGroup activity
4:00 pmFree time for reflection
6:00 pmSupper together at a local restaurant

Housing and Transporation

The Hines Center, where we will hold our sessions, is located downtown at 500 Fannin St., Ste. 100, Houston, Texas, 77002.

Participants are responsible for reserving their own accommodations in Houston. The Hines Center is minutes away from downtown Houston hotels. Two nearby hotels are the Holiday Inn Express (2.1 miles) and the Hyatt (2.6 miles). More information regarding hotels in the downtown area is here.

Transportation is the responsibility of each participant. The Hines Center provides parking, which will be arranged for you prior to your arrival. Further instructions about where to park will be sent before the first session. Be careful to mind the signs as you navigate the city streets.

Attendance at all sessions is required.


During both sessions, dinner on Monday is included, as are lunches and afternoon snacks on Tuesday and Wednesday. There also will be beverages available each day. Participants are encouraged to make dinner plans together in nearby restaurants based on the group’s interests.

Marlon Hall

Marlon Hall is an anthropologist who conducts field work for organizations and businesses to help them deepen their culture and broaden their impact. Hall served as curator of human potential and pastor of the Awakenings Movement, a grassroots community of social visionaries and culture shapers in Houston, Detroit and Nairobi for 13 years. Through his pastoral/anthropological practice, Hall has led innovations such as the Eat Gallery, the only culinary art gallery in the world that featured the work of chefs who had dreams but not overhead for their own restaurants. Hall left his role as a local pastor to serve the global initiative to catalyze Christian imagination and “spirit-preneurship” in the world outside the walls of the church.

María Teresa Gastón

María Teresa Gastón is the managing director of Foundations of Christian Leadership. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Gastón is an organizational psychologist with experience in training and coaching innovative leaders in educational, faith, corporate and community settings. She enjoys researching, designing, and facilitating group processes for collaborative discernment and decision-making. Other research and practice interests include career development, motivation, organizational justice, organizational creativity, teambuilding, program evaluation and immigrant integration. Her ministry experience includes 13 years with agricultural workers in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee, Florida, and 13 years directing the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice at Creighton University. Gastón’s formal education includes a master’s in Hispanic/Latino theology and ministry from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, and a master’s and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

David L. Odom

David L. Odom joined Duke Divinity School in August 2007 to launch Leadership Education at Duke Divinity and now oversees all of its programs and publications, including Faith & Leadership. He regularly teaches and facilitates events and both writes and solicits content for Faith & Leadership. In addition, Odom develops and supervises select initiatives at Duke Divinity School, where he serves as an associate dean. Before coming to Duke, Odom was the founder and president of the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., which supported healthy communities of faith through consultation, leadership development, interim ministry training and vocational discernment. Odom, who was an adjunct professor at Wake Forest Divinity School, has extensive experience in program development and evaluation, staff and adjunct faculty development and strategic organizational management. He also plays a leadership role in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He is a graduate of Furman University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Victoria Atkinson White

Victoria Atkinson White is the managing director of grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. In this role, she encourages traditioned innovation among Christian institutions and their leaders. For eight years, Victoria was a chaplain at the 900-resident Westminster Canterbury Community in Richmond, Virginia. Before that, she worked as minister to alumni at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Victoria is a graduate of Duke Divinity School, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and Rhodes College. She is an ordained minister affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

For more information, please email leadership@div.duke.edu or call 919.613.5323.

Questions We Answer

We know that you grapple with many difficult questions as a Christian leader. We want to help. Complex concerns about ministry can’t be fully addressed here, of course, but we provide a starting point for engaging the deep issues.

Learn More »