HISTORY AND VISION
The Academy for Leadership Excellence was born out of a God-inspired vision of some United Methodist laity who believed that the ministry effectiveness of congregations is influenced by the level of leadership effectiveness of their clergy and lay leadership. The founding of the Academy was, therefore, motivated by the strategy of investing in the development, and equipping and nurturing, of effective, Christ-centered servant leaders. This would enable local churches to more effectively reach out in Christian ministry within their local communities and to the wider world in the name of Jesus Christ.
The founders recognized that divinity schools equip clergy with theological and theoretical leadership skills, but often not with the practical skill sets required for local church leadership. Thus, the focus of the Academy is on the development of practical leadership skill sets such as how to handle conflict, how to build strong ministry teams, self-awareness, and how to navigate transitions and change. At heart, the Academy is not an organization or institution, but a leadership transformational movement of spiritual renewal.
Key in the Academy vision is that God calls both clergy and laity to be in shared ministry in the name of Christ. Whether the Academy National Leader Series, the Academy Leadership Fellows Program, or specific district or local church leadership training events, it is the shaping vision that clergy and laity learn leadership together. Indeed, a fundamental leadership principle of the Academy is that although there might be “naturally born” leaders, leadership can also be learned. In fact, even naturally-gifted leaders realize that effective leaders are always growing and learning.
The Academy vision is ecumenical, and programs are open to all denominations. Often, the Academy partners not only with other church groups investing in leadership development, but also with business, political, educational, governmental, and community groups committed to investing in the development of effective leaders. In fact, faculty members of the Academy Leadership Fellows Program are drawn from universities and business coaching and mentoring services, as well as church leaders.
Although closely associated with the United Methodist Church and the North Carolina United Methodist Conference, the Academy for Leadership Excellence is a non-profit movement. The Academy is supported by the generous gifts of donors who share the Academy vision and passion for investing in the leadership development of Christ-centered clergy and lay servant leaders in the name of Jesus Christ.
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