Transformed by the Spirit Leadership Center

We are living in an age changing so fast that the church, along with many other institutions, struggles to find its footing.  Declining memberships, budgets and influence cause stress and uncertainty.  Seminaries must respond to these challenges too.  Some claim that clergy are trained for a world and church that no longer exist.  At Central we believe the church to be God’s irreplaceable instrument of healing and grace for the world. 

In light of that belief, Central has established the Transformed by the Spirit Leadership Center.  The title comes from the nation-wide American Baptist “Transformed by the Spirit” conversation designed to discern the spirit of God moving among our churches and communities.  ABC-USA has awarded the seminary a $78,000, three-year grant to establish this Center, which will strengthen leadership curriculum already in place and enable Central to develop new initiatives to extend this critical resource for the church.

Here are some of the initiatives the grant will help to establish and develop:

  • Two-years of professional coaching for Doctor of Ministry students: coaching provides outside perspective, accompaniment, and help to identify and develop strengths and learn from weaknesses.
  • Culture of Calling:  a church-centered program designed to provide a hospitable environment for young people to discern God’s call to service and discipleship in their lives. 
  • Midrash and a Meal:  A continuing education event and celebration for seminary alumni/ae and friends offering discussion of vital current literature in a theological discipline led by a seminary professor.
  • Workshops and Breakfast Discussions:  Kansas City area clergy and church leaders will be hosted on campus with a variety of national and international leaders and consultants focused on Congregational Health.

An event held recently was the Communication Is Key workshop in cooperation with the Center for Congregational Health.  Leaders from First Baptist of Lawrence, Kansas, were among the participants:

”Prior to the event, I was looking forward to learning more about how to leverage technology as a communication tool both to communicate more effectively to our current congregation, but also to find ways to reach a wider audience.  After arriving at the event, it became clear that revamping our website was going to have to be one of the first major steps to make this happen, and that we needed some help tying the different mediums together – and we began crossing our fingers in hopes of winning the drawing for the 8 hours with Francisco Litardo’s On the Way Productions.  When Matt Sturtevant’s name was called (our senior pastor), Jenny (our administrative assistant) and I were practically jumping up in down with glee!  Our team met at the event, and again later at our church, to discuss how best to use this gift.  We are really looking forward to meeting with Francisco to evaluate what we are currently doing and how we can improve and expand our methods of communication through our website, Facebook, newsletters, TV ministry, etc.”
                        --Anne Johnson, Media and Technology Coordinator, First Baptist Lawrence"