Perspectives on L.E.A.D. 2014 Workshops

by Rev. Megan Cochran, Chicago Lake View

Lead_Brochure1Large and small, suburban and urban, ordained and lay, they all gathered at Elmhurst to participate in a day filled with uplifting worship, inspiring workshops, and sincere fellowship. On March 1, 2014, almost 400 people from Chicago and Blackhawk Presbyteries, attended the annual L.E.A.D. event. Overall, this “mini-retreat” was truly a day of leadership, education and development for the whole church (just as advertised), but it didn’t stop there. This was also a time of gathering together to share ideas, spend time with old friends and make some new ones, and leave refreshed and ready to enter back into congregational life with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

Thirty varied workshops were offered ranging from training for new elders, deacons and clerks of session to spiritual journaling through songwriting, relevant youth ministry, and creating a culture of generosity. There truly was something for everyone at this event. And those attending will pay it forward; by communicating the information and enthusiasm back to their churches and bring about new life.

“One of the amazing things about LEAD is that it is so inspiring, and not just for those who attend. Just think how many lives will be touched when those who have come to LEAD go back to their home churches with inspiration and new ideas! That’s why I joined the LEAD Mission Priority Leadership Team this year. I want to help in any way I can.” – Cindy Stocker, Director of Educational Ministries, Orland Park

L.E.A.D. 2014 began with a powerful worship service, which included a thoughtful and impassioned sermon from Rev. Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the PC (USA). Jorge Lockward, Director of the Global Praise Program for the United Methodist Church, and a team of musicians from within the Presbytery led the gathered worshippers with uplifting music. In addition to the inspiring, diverse workshops, there was a bookstore to browse during breaks, and many great informational displays. Thanks to the L.E.A.D. Team and the helpful volunteers from Elmhurst, Berkeley-Hillside and Elmhurst Yorkfield, the event came together beautifully and people felt cared for on their “mini-retreat.”

Christina Berry, Blackhawk Presbytery, attended L.E.A.D. for the first time this year and said that she was “renewed and inspired.”

More non-attendees than ever benefited from L.E.A.D. this year and not just thanks to the sharing that happened after the event. L.E.A.D. had its own twitter hashtag so people were able to share their experiences in real-time and photos were posted on Facebook. The new ideas and energy were contagious!

L.E.A.D. is made possible each year by the covenant partnership between the Presbytery of Chicago’s Empower Ministry Mission Priority Leadership Team, McCormick Theological Seminary, and a host church. An additional covenant with “WorshipAlive!” makes a guest worship leader possible.

Small Congregation is Large in Representation at L.E.A.D.

group Chicago Faith Community Presbyterian Church at LEAD 2014If there was a prize for the largest church contingency at L.E.A.D., the blue ribbon would be given to Chicago Faith Community which had 28 attendees! Even more impressive is that their church membership is under 100!

Alex Aduana, ruling elder at Chicago Faith Community, shared, “ L.E.A.D. to me is all of the leadership building and knowledge enhancement, fueling my Christian way of life. Our group of 28 delegates who attended this event enjoyed the vast topics offered. I also would like to commend the leadership of Rev. Grayson Van Camp for a job well done and to Elmhurst members who provided us rides from the parking lot to the church and back.”

Several additional Chicago Faith members shared their reasons for attending.

“Although this is my second time to be a Clerk, learning for the Lord is never ending. Since we are a small church, I am interested to know how big churches function in its ‘governance’ and in their ministry work.” – Elder and Clerk of the Session, Editha Navarro
“I was so blessed to have attended L.E.A.D. this year. I learned so much from Dr. Kirk MacGregor and Rev. Jennifer Lewis about what it means to be a deacon. Their lessons were very Biblical, very thorough and very practical. I feel energized, having attended L.E.A.D.” – Deacon Dahlia F. Festin Yeung
“I want to learn new trends in spiritual leadership which helps churches, big or small, grow spiritually and in terms of membership. I like meeting new friends, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.” – Elder Dr. Ben Butuyan
“This is one great opportunity for us church leaders to meet and share our love for the Lord as we work for Him.” – Elder Elsie Sy-Niebar

Elsie refers to her church as, “a small church with big faith,” where it remains the “Ellis Island” to many immigrant Filipinos, and to some non-Filipinos, usually white immigrants in search of a church with a warm heart. One of the L.E.A.D. sessions that Elsie attended was sponsored by the Multi-Cultural Church Ministry Team on the evolution of a church. She says, “in these days of political correctness and racial sensitivity, we are working hard to open our doors to welcome all people of faith and color. We always tell our non-Filipino visitors/guests, ‘we speak English – our worship service is in English.’” Elsie added, “Faith has no color. We can find its truism at L.E.A.D.”

Mark your church (and personal) calendars now for Saturday, March 7, and connect with others at Chicago Fourth for L.E.A.D. 2015. The worship leader/teacher will be John Bell, hymn-writer, minister in the Church of Scotland and member of the Iona Community.

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