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Goal #2: Leadership Development
July, 2013

Although the Northern California Conference has many great leaders in pastoral, educational and lay positions, Goal #2 was created to challenge current and future leaders to step up to the next level. Two NCC departments – Human Resources and Ministerial – are already working to improve leadership in innovative ways.

HR Director Ed Fargusson and Assistant Director Kathy Batchelor have made it their mission to educate local leaders about working with the employees and volunteers in their organizations. Earlier this year they developed a new seminar, “NCC Human Resources Ministry TRAINing Session,” and between the two of them, they presented it 22 different times at various locations throughout the conference.

“Our goal was to reach church leaders, and we realized that limiting ourselves to principals and pastors wasn’t going to be good enough,” said Fargusson. “We wanted to reach other decision makers, so we invited church and school board members to come to our seminars.”

Some of the training was devoted to California employment law, but the speakers’ main emphasis was not on avoiding penalties. They stressed that good leaders respect others and behave fairly. “It’s about treating people right,” said Fargusson. “In Isaiah 58, God speaks against building yourself up at the expense of another.” 

The seminar was presented like a workshop, with audience participation and time for questions. “We were teaching them how to work with their employees, how to handle sensitive situations – making them knowledgeable – the good qualities a leader has,” said Batchelor.

Since the presentations finished in early May, the HR department has received a number of phone calls from leaders asking for help with specific situations, and Fargusson and Batchelor are happy to provide assistance. “The whole reason we exist is to help churches and schools and ministries,” said Fargusson. “We have local leaders’ best interest in mind.”

Another department taking active steps to develop leadership is the Ministerial Department, responsible for serving NCC pastors and their families. Ministerial Director Walter Groff heads a team of ministerial associates – pastors working in locations around the conference – who provide support and encouragement to their fellow pastors. 

The team believes that the first step in improving pastoral leadership is extending support and inviting trust. “It’s similar to the discipleship model,” said ministerial associate Pete Braman, Paradise church associate pastor. “Jesus had a team of people who walked together, worked together and shared together.” 

In addition to support, ministerial associates also provide counsel and resources when needed. “We remind pastors that what they do is important to God and that we appreciate it,” said Groff. “We offer to help with anything they need in the development of their leadership.” 

Groff likes to quote the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:8: “If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.” With Goal #2, the conference is endeavoring to follow Paul’s admonition.
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists | 401 Taylor Blvd. | P.O. Box 23165 | Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 | (925) 685-4300 | info@nccsda.com