By Lezah Maitland, minister of Children at First Baptist Church Allen and a member of Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 4
In May, I finished Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 4, a nine-month program for emerging Baptist leaders. After being in full-time ministry for almost seven years I was feeling a little stuck and felt my leadership skills could use improvement. The Cohort recharged me in ministry, helped me grow in my leadership, and gave me lifelong friends. I was blessed to be a part of the program and here is why:
L- Laughter; We laughed a lot. The group went through heavy things and joyful things this year. Being able to laugh created a strong bond between us.
E- Emotionally Healthy Leader; A book we read throughout the cohort showed us ways to be emotionally healthy so we could lead well. The book really challenged me and led to healthy vulnerability. The personal stories in the book were very easy to relate to and learn from.
A- Assessment (5 Voices Assessment); We discovered our leadership foundational voice and secondary voice through discovering whether we were a nurturer, connector, creative, guardian, or pioneer.
D- Diversity; Our group was diverse in careers, backgrounds, and ethnicities. That is what made our group so great. Each of us brought something different to the table.
E- Engagement (Cultural); Dr. Nick Pitts, from Dallas Baptist University, shared with us that Americans are lonelier than ever but also yearn for connection. We should, with gentleness, win the person, not the argument. Our goal is to be faithful to the Creator and trust His results.
R- Recharged; Each month we were able to get away from the office for a day. I felt recharged after each meeting and I was excited to share what I learned with my other fellow staff members.
S- Safe place; It was a safe place to talk about issues facing Texas Baptists and churches. I appreciated the different viewpoints and opinions. We wrestled with issues together.
H- History; I learned more about Texas Baptist history, as well as nationwide trends. “Human nature repeats itself not history,” Dr. Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptists Historical Collection, taught us.
I- Insightful; Each speaker provided insight and wisdom. They allowed us to ask questions and were very open. Their wide range of experiences was something we could all learn from and reflect on. They were also very encouraging. They wanted to mentor us, not just speak to us.
P- Profiles (Destino: Leader Development Profile by Dr. Albert Reyes); Using our passions and strengths we came up with our life mission statements. Our life mission should be about Purposeful Relationships and Kingdom Leadership. This gives you the freedom to say no to things that don’t fit into your life mission.
Another part of Leadership Texas Baptists Cohort 4 was that each of us had a leadership project. I wanted to be more intentional with relationships at my church outside of the Children’s Ministry, whether it was a phone call or meeting for lunch. Now I feel more connected and comfortable talking to church members.
One of my biggest takeaways was knowing how to better pray for our church members. My fellow cohort members gave me great suggestions on different ways to reach out. I really loved hearing about their leadership projects and seeing their progress. I got to see the body of Christ use their God-given gifts/strengths/abilities to further His Kingdom.
I joked with the Leadership Texas Baptists Planning Team that I wish I could “fail” the program and do it again. The program challenged me in a fantastic way. I would highly recommend being a part of Leadership Texas Baptists.