Leadership program inspires and transforms

Professor Randy Siebold (left) and SPD leadership development manager Dean Banks (both standing) with Leadlab participants.

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Thirty church leaders from across the South Pacific Division (SPD) gathered for a face-to-face residential retreat in Launceston, Tasmania, from September 25-29 to conclude a nine-month leadership program through the recently established General Conference Global Leadership Institute (GLI).  

Facilitators of the Leadlab retreat included GLI directors Professors Randy Siebold and Erich Baumgartner, and Dr Juan Prestol, recently retired General Conference CFO. At the retreat participants were required to present a practical project they’re implementing in their current workplace through their spheres of influence that integrates all the GLI program learning components. Some conference presidents and union personnel attended to hear this.

The GLI was established to deliberately grow leadership capacity across the global divisions of the world Church and involves a series of stepped experiences and programs and online resources. The SPD is strategically focused on leadership development and the GLI model aligns well with a highly experiential focus where participants see how God has been shaping their leadership right across their life.

Twenty-five leaders from across the SPD territory have been involved as a pilot group in both Professional Certificate and Graduate Certificate programs.  

Professor Erich Baumgartner presents during one of the sessions.

“The strength of the program lies in the way it integrates the spiritual aspect of God-centred leadership with commercial models of leadership,” said SPD leadership development manager Dean Banks. “This is often missing but is critical to leading in the Adventist Church context.”

South Australian church pastor William Moala said the program has given him a broader perspective of what it means to be a leader.

“I now see myself as a mentor and coach to my members,” Pastor Moala said. “Amazingly for the first time in years I did not feel like I was on my own.  Overall the Leadlab journey has set me on a path to being more in love with ministry than when I first started my pastoral journey some nine years ago.”

Trans Pacific Union Mission education director Mele Vaihola said she was inspired by the reflection times, group discussion and spiritual enrichment by the presenters. “Leadlab has helped me grow and has given me a total new approach to my leadership style,” she said.

For Victorian church pastor Piroska Vranyakne Feith, Leadlab has transformed her walk with God. “[It has] taken me to a deeper relationship with Him, which I haven’t experienced before,” she said.

“It also transformed my leadership by unlocking my potential. The course has made me implement knowledge and gain invaluable skills that turned into habits.”

Australian Union Conference family ministries director Pastor Sylvia Mendez said, “I believe what has been most impactful about being a part of the Leadlab journey is the transformational power of allowing ourselves to truly see how God has been working in our lives right from the beginning.”

The SPD is now looking at how it can strategically align and add value to the GLI in the future with opportunities for graduate participants to become learning coaches and even trained facilitators for future programs.

The Leadlab facilitators with participants and some of their families.
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