This past Saturday our region's Church Leadership Institute graduated five students. Each of these graduates completed the entire three year program earning both the Certificate in Christian Leadership and the Diploma in Pastoral Ministries.
Each of our graduates had family, church, and work responsibilities, but they were willing to give up every other Saturday to attend classes and complete their studies in order to learn how to better serve their churches and the Lord. This is an incredible level of commitment.
When we began the Church Leadership Institute (CLI) fourteen years ago we had an idea of what we wanted to accomplish. These five people, and all our graduates, have far exceeded those expectations. Some are now pastoring some of our smaller, bivocational churches. Others serve in staff positions in their churches while many others are filling important lay leadership roles in their churches.
As I've said many times in this blog, everything rises and falls on leadership. As the leadership level in any organization raises, the potential of that organization rises as well. CLI is helping raise the leadership level of the churches in our region, and it has been exciting to watch the impact this has had on those churches.
Due to my retirement at the end of this year, this is the last CLI class I will see graduate as the director of the program. It has been an honor to be involved in something that has had the impact CLI has had. I am very excited about the future of CLI as new leadership brings new ideas that will improve the program. Some changes are already being discussed that I believe will make CLI more accessible and better.
One change that we implemented just a couple of years ago was that we decided to make this training opportunity available to anyone regardless of church affiliation. Prior to that we only offered CLI to persons who attended one of our American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky churches. We have now opened it up to anyone who wants to learn how to provide more effective leadership to their churches regardless of denominational affiliation.
If you are a member of a church in Indiana I encourage you to check out CLI on our region website, www.abc-indiana.org or contact Jennifer Greene at our region office at 317-635-3552 X221 for more information. If you are a pastor who recognizes the need to train your lay leaders, we can help you do that. Encourage them to enroll in CLI. I think you'll find it will make a difference in your church.