by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

Ask yourself this question: who invited you into leadership?

Better yet, ask yourself this: who are you inviting into leadership?

Each one of us need to invite ONE other person into professional ministry. Or be an over-achiever and extend the invitation to more than one.

The ELCA is having a leadership crisis largely because you and I are not extending the invitation.

Do this right now:

Write down the names of three people you could invite into leadership.

Wait! Don’t evaluate their skills, age, commitment or experience. Take a chance on others by looking past what they know and do right now to wonder what God might do through them. Be ready for them to take ministry into a new direction. In fact, encourage experimenting.

Now, set up time to talk with them, face to face. Sign up lists, emails and social media have their role but if you want to extend the leadership circle, a face to face conversation is pure gold.

We have what it takes to change the trajectory of our church and it boils down to a few things:

  • Trusting that the Holy Spirit is working through us and others.
  • Inviting others into leadership.
  • Trying new things.

People have taken a chance on me my whole life. I have constantly been invited to do things that I have not been equipped to do. My life has been a constant leadership school. How about yours?

I am so grateful for the many who have extended the invitation to me.

I want to personally thank four people, among so many:

  • Reverend Arno Martin, who invited me to be the first youth minister of a mission start congregation (All Saints, Aurora, Colorado) when I didn’t know what he was talking about, and neither did he!
  • Reverend Steve Quill, who invited me to be the first person to develop ministry for a new community center (New Hope, Missouri City, TX) when I had no vision for this ministry, and he was still working his out.
  • Bishop Paul Blum, who invited me to be the first person on the synod staff to focus on children, youth and family ministry, when by this time I had more visions than were possible for this work, and for some reason he trusted me to sort it out.
  • Bishop Michael Rinehart, who invited me to give leadership to LEAD when our visions were unfolding around us and we knew how important it was that we tried something new.

All of these people are pastors. Pastors are you inviting others in? Yet it doesn’t need to be a pastor. As a lay leader, I am truly aware that the power of invitation can come from anyone. Parents and grandparents, this is part of our role too.

Each one of us can invite another.