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Sometimes innovative leaders just need a bit of affirmation that they are going in the right direction. For Pastor David Briggs, that is just what Launch 1.0 did. The Courageous Leadership Imperative’s Launch 1.0 was a cooperative event with the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) Foundations and Bishops that occurred in St. Louis last fall.
The church is located in an area with, well… High crime. High teen pregnancy rates. High drug use. Do you want to live here? Serve here? What if you were called to pastor here? Could you see it for what it truly was, a beautiful, culturally rich community whose vibrancy cannot be contained by negative statistics?
During Launch 1.0, Pastor Liliana Padilla did something quite unexpected. She stood in the very back of the church were participates were gathered and donned a cardboard box that looked like a stove from one side. As she walked to the front of the church, it seemed as if she was standing behind a stove and she conveyed to the room that Hispanic women feel tied to traditional expectations of femininity – cooking, rearing children, cleaning. No matter how they feel God is calling them to ministry the expectation that they will serve their families in the home can prevail over God’s call.
Our call stories are as varied as our fingerprints. Some are called in very ordinary ways. Like Elijah, they feel God calling them out of sheer silence. Others, however, are moved into ministry dramatically. When Rev. Dr. Eddie Rivera was a 15-year-old boy growing up in Mexico, he was a fourth generation Methodist. Joining the “family business” of ministry was not a difficult decision, but it did not feel like a calling. It felt like following his dad’s legacy.
“I think your truest self surfaces when you practice the discipline of giving,” First UMC Lubbock Rev. Dr. Craig Curry shared. “That self is transformed by what love has really done to us. God calls us together to accomplish his will on earth and our resources are his. As we give ourselves away, this new self blossoms, and we grow in our trust that God will replenish us.”
This October, 122 courageous leaders from across the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) gathered together for Launch 1.0! Launch 1.0 was the kick off event for the Courageous Leadership Imperative (CLI) and would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the SCJ Bishops and Foundations. We are grateful for the work that was done in order to bring these vibrant, creative leaders together to network, dream, and explore ministry possibilities.
For leaders like Rev. Todd Salzwedel, Pastor of FUMC Odessa, his experience in TMF’s Entrepreneurial Pastors Group was transformative. “TMF is on the cutting edge of creating incubator groups for leadership development,” Todd noted. “Through this group, I have been given opportunities to be resourced for success and had the chance to network with other leaders who have helped me grow.”
I grew up in comfortable, but modest circumstances. There was not much talk of philanthropy in my childhood home, but both my parents were generous with others in small and subtle ways.