Almost two years ago, I came to work at Christian Women’s Leadership Center with a challenge to help create nine courses which would become part of our Leadership Certificate Program. I benefitted from the groundwork of a team of people who did the difficult work of researching and selecting the appropriate topics before I arrived. They did much of the hard work, and I reaped an opportunity to implement the plan.
From the beginning, I loved the work. Immediately, our efficient production team put together the courses so that we could meet the original deadline of releasing the first course in September 2016. We also wanted to finish preparing all of the courses before our annual meeting in June. The team worked together beautifully, which I knew would happen when I met them and discovered their hearts to do excellent work.
What I didn’t expect, though, was how I would grow to love the participants as they shared their hearts in reflection assignments throughout the courses.
I’m sure it’s not easy for participants to compare biblical leadership to their own, reflect on how they believe they need to grow, and share that information with a stranger (me) sitting on the receiving end of the computer. One of our graduates compared me to Charlie on the old TV show Charlie’s Angels. She would hear from me but never see me (until one day when we did get to meet)!
When we are vulnerable with one another, it can go one way or another. We might be afraid to share such personal information. What if the reader cannot be trusted? Yet they continued to bless me by sharing sincerely.
I often find myself weeping and praying as I read reflections of difficult problems. I can tell them when we share a similar history. Unlike some professors, I read each response, unless it is meant to be a private assignment, meant only for the participant to see. Through each course I get to learn from wise women who have gained such insight through years of leading others.
It’s not easy to connect when participants answer only what’s expected rather than what’s true.
For the most part, though, these women share personally, encourage one another, and really get to know each other as they connect at different times of the day or night. I sometimes wake up to a long discussion that happened sometime while I was sleeping.
Today, we are printing two more certificates for women who have finished all nine courses. It is always a bit sad to mail these certificates. After nine courses, in which we have hashed through what God is teaching us about being a transformational servant leader, we come to the end of a significant part of an unfinished journey.
We know that we still have much to learn, and that we’re not likely to become the kind of leaders who serve as Christ serves us. Still, we hope to grow in His character and seek His purposes rather than our own.
So to all of you Christian women who have completed your nine Leadership Certificate Program courses, and to those who are almost finished, please know how much you have enriched my life. You’ve helped me continue to do work I love doing, and I thank you!
To those of you who haven’t joined us yet, we have three new courses starting soon! Won’t you join us on a four-week journey to grow as a servant leader in a hurting world?
Claudia Johnson, CWLC leadership consultant