January 28, 2022

Developing Adventist Leaders Who Are Godly and Courageous

In the South Pacific Division, pilot program seeks to grow skills in leadership.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review

Participants across the South Pacific Division (SPD) of the Adventist Church are commending a customized 10-month pilot program designed to foster the growth of leaders across the region. The initiative seeks to help leaders fulfill the mission of the church, coordinators of the initiative said.

Delivered by the SPD Leadership Academy, the program drew two groups of 12 leaders: the first comprising senior leaders across the SPD, and the second made up of emerging leaders or those with up to five years’ experience. Participants were strategically selected by their organization, with representation from all SPD institutions and the division’s four union territories.

“In this rapidly changing world, we need leaders who are godly and courageous, with future-thinking mindsets, equipped with the skills to execute our strategies rapidly,” SPD Leadership Strategy leader Dean Banks, who managed the program, said. 

“We need to move from a process-driven focus to an agile, performance-oriented focus. With the program’s success, we now aim to duplicate it over the next four years, allowing 120 leaders to experience this model of leadership development.”

Program components included psychometric assessment, monthly executive coaching by psychologists, an allocated mentor, customized workshops, reflective journaling, and a five-week online course through the prestigious INSEAD business school.

Avondale University vice-chancellor Kevin Petrie commended the program, saying it had both challenged and grown him as a leader.

“It has brought me face-to-face with both my strengths and my weaknesses, but importantly provided the support to move forward and to grow,” Petrie said. “Each component has provided something unique, from coaching and mentoring to valuable training sessions. It is not a passive program. It requires active engagement and in return provides genuine growth.”

Luke Nathan, president of the Western Highlands Mission in Papua New Guinea, shared similar sentiments. “This leadership program is a hands-on paradigm shift to train leaders to lead organizations in these disruptive times,” Nathan said. It’s great to see what the SPD is doing for our leaders, and I am really pleased to be part of the team learning.”

For South New Zealand Conference pastor and discipleship director Sarah Jane Riley, the program helped grow her skills in leadership and gave her awareness of her leadership. She found the regular coaching sessions particularly valuable. “It’s stretched me and kept me on track with leadership goals as well as application of new learnings,” she said.

“I honestly have enjoyed so many aspects and highly recommend the program for others. It is long overdue in our church, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given,” Riley said.

In 2022, the program will start in early February and include an additional day-long Harvard University leadership simulation activity to assess team dynamics.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.