WEA Leaders Confer on Creating the WEA Leadership Institute

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Fifteen World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) leaders from all around the world convened for a two day conference from April 29-30 on the campus of Olivet University, a Bible-based institution of higher learning located in downtown San Francisco. The conference centered on the creation of the WEA Leadership Institute whose purpose is to meet the organization development needs of WEA's 128 member alliances.

According to Dr. Jonathan Lewis, the Director of WEA Leadership Institute, the Institute has its historic roots in the work that Dr. Jun Vencer realized with the WEA alliance leaders during his long tenure as the WEA International Director (1992 - 2001).

“Dr. Vencer's incessant global travel on behalf of our constituency left a legacy of vision for holistic alliances that are vital, viable and visible,” explained Dr. Lewis, WEA's curriculum design expert who is leading the development stage of this initiative. “He held seminars for leaders in many countries, particularly focusing on those with new or struggling entities. While he left trained leaders, we hope to generate WEA based institutes in each country that can perpetuate training.”

Dr. Lewis says that through Dr. Vencer's efforts and those of WEA's current International Director, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the WEA's national alliances have grown both qualitatively and quantitatively to a current count of 128 members, many of which that are asking for the kind of help the institute can provide. In addition to the national alliances, he believes that WEA’s Commissions and Global Partners will also benefit from the institute.

“We are developing tools that will help us analyze the specific needs of each alliance, and provide case specific training in the following areas: unifying Evangelicals in voice and action; association leadership, governance, and management; sustainable funding; representation before government and other publics; servicing constituencies; and partnership development,” said Dr. Lewis.

During these two days, an outcomes-based training profile based on a functional description of the alliances was generated as well as some general planning for implementation of the Leadership Institute. The LI instruction will be based on this profile and focus on broadly applicable principles, use adult education methodology, and a discovery method leading to unique and context specific organizational strategies for development.

“This practical and interactive approach to leadership development is intended to lead to generate new vision and greater effectiveness of national and regional level Evangelical associations,” said Dr. Lewis. “The institute and its national expressions will be training a broad range of younger leaders in all sorts of Christian organizations. Many of the principles and skills needed to lead alliances are also needed by other kinds of Christian organizations. This is a "rising tide" sort of strategy that sees the training of this broader range of leaders as strategic to increasing the expression and influence of united Christian thought and action in each nation.”

WEA International Director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe also expressed his hope in the vision of the Institute to develop the alliances.

“A healthy and vibrant national alliance can play a critical role in the spiritual transformation of a country,” said Dr. Tunnicliffe. “It is the goal of the Leadership Institute to provide practical training and mentoring that will help WEA serve leaders around the world to develop such alliances.”

The Institute will be officially launched at the WEA General Assembly in Thailand on October 25-30, 2008 where the first training seminars will be conducted.