The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a network of 112 Lutheran congregations, gave birth to LEAD in 2012 as a result of their strategic planning process. The vision was to provide expert and exceptional training, coaching, and consultation to leaders and congregations with the desire to do what it takes to grow. The entrepreneurial spirit of designing a separate nonprofit organization to take up this focus was groundbreaking for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synods.
LEAD began with a listening process. Peggy Hahn (often accompanied by Chris Hicks or Vonda Drees) intentionally listened one-on-one to 92 pastors in the synod as well as to others across the country. Together we learned how pastors were growing in their own faith and also gained insight on their congregational needs for leadership development.
With this information in hand, the Design Team went through an intentional process of reflection and discernment, exploring the questions of Christian leadership. Over time it became clear that the Shema, and in Jesus’ words, the Great Commandment, were at the core of what it means to be a Christian leader.
Pastor Rich Nelson, on the Design Team, shared a journey he had been leading people through for over 9 years using these very scriptures. After learning more about “Following The Way” from Rich, the Design Team had clarity on a system for growing leaders we now call The Disciple Frame.
In December of 2012, LEAD (Living Every day As Disciples) was born.