This weekend, I had the opportunity to see many of my friends from Duke Divinity School at a board meeting in Charlotte. The people I gathered with this weekend are incredible people who are doing amazing things as pastors, foundation leaders, and real estate developers. They are some of my favorite people -- people who always cause me to think a lot, ask several questions, and be more committed to my vocation as a pastor.
Many of us took a course together at Duke called "Religion and Philanthropy in the South." It was a wonderful, practical course that dealt with how the church can be an agent of change in the community. The course was team-taught by Jackson Carroll and Mark Constantine, and Mark was with us yesterday. In fact, Mark is largely responsible for why we were all together in the first place. Mark has a remarkable commitment to many different causes. But, he is especially committed to helping young people make their visions a reality. Through his course, Mark taught us how to create a foundation and a non-profit organization. Yesterday, however, was not a course. It was the real thing.
Our colleague and convener, Steve, has a complex question he is hoping to answer through a new organization: How do we equip future, emerging congregational leaders with the resources they need to lead strong congregations that will, in turn, build healthy communities?
Steve is passionate about the church and has a clear vision for an organization that can resource future congregational leaders. He knows that by 2030 more than 50% of the U.S. population will be non-white. He also knows that there are significant problems facing society in this post 9/11 and post Hurricane Katrina era. Rather than talking about these issues, Steve wants to do something about them. And, he believes the church can play a pivotal role in bringing about the changes that are needed in order for more of our communities to be healthy. The church must first, however, have leaders who are committed and well-resourced.
After our time together, I have no doubt that this next generation of pastors is going to be equipped quite well, especially if the people I met with yesterday have anything to do with it. Stay tuned...