Courageous Leadership Gathering
The United Methodist Development Fund (UMDF) offers a networking and learning experience for courageous leaders throughout the UMC connection.
As a denomination that is older, whiter, wealthier, and more highly educated than the general population, the United Methodist Church is struggling to be relevant and vital in the mission field. It is much more comfortable being in ministry with those who are already in our pews, but a path of complacency is neither acceptable nor faithful. The church needs younger, more diverse leaders, and it needs leaders who have the courage to help the church stand to the full height of the Gospel in a dramatically changing, emerging landscape.
The purpose of this Courageous Leadership gathering is to offer a twenty-four hour experience for courageous clergy, who have the potential for at least twenty years left in ministry, so that they might: network with other exceptional clergy from across the connection, share their experiences and wisdom in order to explore what is needed to foster courageous leadership in the current landscape, and embolden their own courage for ministry.
Courageous leadership, for this purpose, refers to those leaders who are able to stand at what Richard Rohr has called “the edge of the inside.” Rohr calls these leaders Prophets. At a time when the institutional church is facing a crisis of relevancy and the United Methodist Church, in particular, finds itself constrained by its own norms and structures, we need such prophets who are deeply committed to the mission of the church but are willing to lead against the current without regard for the personal rewards the existing system offers.
These courageous prophets are the kinds of leaders this gathering seeks to connect. They are credentialed by the church and thereby could easily be swept into the gravitational pull of institutional, and self, preservation, but they have chosen a different path. They are deeply committed to the United Methodist movement but are not overly invested in its current culture. They seek to live out God’s call on their lives and on the communities they lead and are not deterred when they face resistance. They are not caught up in having all the answers but are ready to ask questions, learn, and grow. These leaders exhibit qualities such as an eagerness to learn, self-awareness, a track record of effective ministry, including experimentation and innovation, and resilience in the face of resistance.
The group will gather at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas on November 11-12, 2019, beginning at 2:00 on Monday afternoon and ending by 2:00 on Tuesday. During this event, participants and leaders will offer insights into what is needed in the current landscape in order to foster courageous leadership and innovation. Attendance is invitation only and all expenses will be paid by UMDF.