Jim Haack headed up the design team and was the first Dean of Recent Graduates. He shares his memories of how this effective training was developed. Jim is a pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in La Vista, Nebraska.
Ten years ago, KINDLE launched several initiatives. One of those initiatives was KINDLE: Recent Graduates. “KFRG,” as we called it, was designed to reach young second chair ministry leaders during their first three years of ministry. The reasoning was -and still is – that new church workers need a relational approach to personal and ministry formation beyond what they received as undergraduates, especially in areas that often get overlooked, such as cultivating faith and health.
Classic KINDLE Associates made up the design team, and went on to be the training team: Dean, Jim Haack; Circle Coaches Jennifer Anders, Leslie Sullivan, David Meier, Scott Brown; Instructors Jason Christ, Jack Giles, Jason Schleicher, David Noll; Chaplain, Joel Symmank; Evaluator, Scott Rauch.
One memorable design meeting took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, Illinois, as a blizzard descended on the Chicago area.
At Recent Graduate events, participants focus on the KINDLE strands of Cultivating Faith and Cultivating Health. These strands and their practices are foundational and often get sidelined under the pressures inherent when one is new in their ministry career and setting.
Here are some memories of the first event: seeing so many people gathered to share meals, worship, and fellowship; the spontaneous connections that evolved between “rookie” and “seasoned” church workers; the high energy (“noise!”) that bled over into the Classic KINDLE classroom; and the challenges to the assumptions of the training team during the development phase that needed more than a little tweaking.
As we move onto the next decade of KINDLE: Recent Graduates, it has been exciting to see both the constancy and the fluidity of this initiative. Constants include the focus on Cultivating Faith and Cultivating Health; celebrating one’s Baptismal identity; facilitated, collaborative learning in small groups; and ongoing mutual accountability.
What is fluid is the way these essential core ingredients are delivered. What is solid is the very heart of the mission: Fostering and multiplying Christ-like servant leaders.