From the Director’s Desk – March 2015

This month’s theme is “Leadership Challenges.”  I informally surveyed a couple of groups of people where themes such as time management and micromanagement emerged.  Dr. Charles Conniry taught a class in Leadership from a Biblical and Theological viewpoint.  I offer his challenges for your review.  Stepping into God’s call:  overcoming fear and reluctance

  • Dealing with apathy, indifference and disobedience
  • Navigating criticism (against you or your own self-criticism)
  • Surviving under other people’s leadership with the no’s, maybe’s and conditional yesses.
  • Rising above personal discouragement
  • Wishing for the best for those who cause you pain
  • Recalibrating after personal failure

These challenges cross denominational and gender lines.  I suspect that underneath the

utilitarian challenges like how to manage time, there lie these deep, personal challenges.  During this season of Lent, perhaps it would be helpful to identify one or two and pray over how Jesus might meet you in your challenge(s).  Offer yourself, your leadership position and place of leadership to Him asking for personal and corporate reconciliation, restoration, guidance, renewal for the work of leadership wherever it may be.

As you enjoy the offerings this month, be encouraged that leaders are first followers of the Leader Who can be trusted in all things!

From the Director’s Desk – April 2015

“As leaders, we teach what we know but we reproduce what we are…it (leadership) is both something you are and something you do[1].”

Jesus lived what He taught.  The greatest among you is a servant.  You must die in order to live.  If you love me, you will obey me.  His life was a lived sermon.  There was not one shred of incongruity between what He spoke and how He behaved. His example inspires us.  His words command us.

The Apostle Paul exhorts us:  “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Jesus’ priorities.  Jesus’ attitudes.  It will take us our lifetime to continually move towards Jesus in learning to love what He loves and live as He lived.

Jesus was clear about His leadership goal:  “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served – and then to give away His life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” – Mark 10:41- 43 (The Message)

The “not so with you” lifestyle of a Christ-like leader compels us to use power on behalf of others for their benefit.  The attitude of Jesus, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, demonstrates that true power is displayed in voluntarily becoming powerless in order to live sacrificially for the sake of others.  It is the cruciform lifestyle.  Dying, then being resurrected to new life…an eternal quality of life.

It is a challenge to live what we teach as it relates to crucifixion, resurrection, and power.  Paul declared:  “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Jesus’ priority is the whole world.  His attitude is selflessness and humility.

Our prayer:

Here at the cross in this sacred hour, Here at the source of reviving power

Helpless indeed, I come with my need.  Lord, for Thy service, fit me I plead!


[1] Kouses and Posner, ed. Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge.  Jossey-Bass, 2004. Pg. 47

Director’s Desk – April 2016

Joanne HolzPersonal Growth

My mother was an avid gardener.  She possessed the green thumb.  I used to watch her take what looked like a dead stick and nurture it back to life.  Some of the most beautiful blossoms came from what looked like a lifeless branch.

She would read about gardening.  Most of what she learned was from experience—trial and error.  Further, she was tenacious.  I would have long ago given up on some of those “dead branches” allowing them to become kindle wood.  Not my mother.  She would try different approaches to bringing the life out of what I perceived was lifeless.

Life and ministry can, at times, feel like a dead branch.  What am I producing that makes a difference?  Are there dead parts of me that need to be nurtured and resuscitated?  Are there people speaking into my life—people unwilling to give up and open to trying new approaches to bring to life and health what is dormant or nearly dead?

You can read about ways to nurture inner growth.  That is an important beginning.  However, not until you are willing to exercise the concepts will growth have an opportunity.

This month, The School for Leadership Development will be hosting its sixth annual Ministry Connextions—an experiential, retreat based leader development opportunity based on proven research designed to foster growth in individual leaders.  It often takes stepping back before we can step forward.

This may seem like a daunting and somewhat scary endeavor.  It means subjecting ourselves to scrutiny, exposure, and vulnerability.  It means changing behaviors, perspectives, and attitudes so that health and growth continue to flourish.  Sometimes, it is easier to “throw the sticks” of our dormant areas away.  Easier, yes!  However, we miss the opportunity to develop into the full God-given potential granted us.  In keeping with the metaphor, our blooms are truncated or thwarted.

Every year my mother’s garden was enhanced.  It meant pruning, shaping, and adding variety.  The result, however, caused even the young children who walked by my mother’s house on the way to school every day, to stop and tell my mother how much they loved the beauty they saw in her yard.

SLD is offering five modules, led by trained ‘soul-gardeners’ for the purpose of developing Kingdom leaders.  Check out all that we offer by perusing our website.  We would love to hear from you and to partner with you in creating leaders displaying the beauty of our Creator God.

The Director’s Desk – Joanne Holz

Joanne Holz

Here We Grow

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

I understand the spirit of Welch’s sentiment.  I would tweak it to say “a leader continues to grow him/herself while investing in the success of others.”  I agree with Dr. Steve Brown who indicates that our most important and most challenging leadership assignment looks back at you in the mirror every morning. It’s you.  The standout leadership books of our day continue to frame personal qualities such as integrity, honesty, fairness, discernment, etc. as the most needed qualities for today.

Every leader has the responsibility to continue to grow him/herself in these intangible qualities that eventually weave strength of spirit and character into a person or, due to lack of them, cause a person to dis-integrate.  Without these fundamental personal qualities, the platform upon which a person builds their leadership and wields their leadership, crumbles.

Each quarter we will be looking at the person of the leader, the practices of the leader, and the perspectives of leaders.  The person of the leader is an intentional first place consideration each quarter.  The person of the leader drives everything else—the choices of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, what is at stake if not accomplished, who will benefit from what is done and who will be left in the wake of poor leadership decisions.

I want to suggest for your personal growth this year that you purchase “Leading Me” by Dr. Steve Brown and take the journey with him.  Brown lays out 8 practices of a healthy leader and his book includes reflection questions.

Together let’s make 2017 a banner year for Christ-like leadership! As we walk with Him, participate in transforming ourselves, our people, our Corps, our ministries, our Army, our cities, let the circles of influence expand in Jesus’ Name for what He sees for this new year.

Happy New Year and blessings to each!


Grace and all good to you!
Joanne Holz, Major
The Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development