Looking at the last 20 years …

What a dedicated group of eight people (Steve Arnold, Les Stroh, Lyle Heggemeier, Jack Giles, Alan Gunderman, Linda Olsen, William Karpenko, and Sue Steege in the picture, above) that started the KINDLE process back in 2000 and the incubation period prior to that!  We were the Board — AND we were the team to put it into practice! We were steadfast in desiring to make the Karpenko Institute for Nurturing and Developing Leadership Excellence something supportive and meaningful for the DCE community!

To support this endeavor in our early years of existence we applied to Wheat Ridge and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for financial help.  Because these organizations believed in the mission of KINDLE, we got a $35,000 grant from Wheat Ridge and five $100,000 matching grants over a five-year period from Thrivent.  We were successful in raising the matching $100,000 for each grant.  That gave us the financial means to reach a million-dollar endowment fund.  The fund since then has kept growing and today is close to the two million dollar mark.  That continues to give us a better financial foundation for our ministry.

This early team worked through a lot of issues to become stronger colleagues, mentors to each other, and longtime ministry friends.  But we couldn’t continue that level of commitment with only eight people.  We needed to branch out and get more people involved.  We needed a Board that governed and operation teams that sought to put the ideas into practice.  Thus, things changed.  We also had some deaths and sicknesses on that Board that meant we needed more new people. The development of a Board that made policies and looked at the bigger picture allowed many of us to implement at an operation level the development of Christ-like servant leadership training at a more superior level. 

We eventually broadened our focus to include more initiatives—recent graduates (KINDLE:  Recent Graduates), people who were looking ahead and thinking about how to optimize their final years in ministry (KINDLE: Finishing Well), and a couples’ initiative (KINDLE: Couples) which, at first, was done jointly with Grace Place, and later done on our own.  Each group recruited and developed their own teams, and many more people became involved. 

More recently, we have branched out to welcome other second chair leaders in professional church work to all our initiatives, and we have adjusted our vision to include all second chair leaders. 

What a grand 20+ years it has been!  God has truly blessed us. We have sought to listen to God through this whole process, and God has advised us wisely! 

Thanks be to God!

Linda Olsen

Program Team Leader