Learning to ‘Lead Like Jesus’

Daylong workshop for parish leadership

By Dan Russo | Witness Editor

S3, lead like Jesus ILANSING — Pastors and parish staff are learning more about what it means to be a Christian leader thanks to a program that is catching fire in the Dubuque Archdiocese.

Dan Rohner, the leadership development and pastoral planning director for the archdiocese, is offering “The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus,” a daylong workshop which explores how Christ was the greatest leadership role model.

“There are many leadership development programs to choose from,” said Rohner. “I was drawn to this one because it clearly shows how Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time through what we find in Scripture as well as through what we hear from today’s leadership experts. The videos and small and large group activities make for a lively, interactive and fast moving day.”

In the past year, about 200 people in the archdiocese have attended “Leading Like Jesus,” including personnel at parishes in Dubuque, Waterloo, Ames, Nashua, Forest City, and Dyersville. The latest workshop was held at Immaculate Conception Parish in Lansing March 24.

Nineteen participants delved into topics such as the need for laity to take a more active role in the parish and the fact Jesus’ actions didn’t always please everyone, but leaders need to follow in His footsteps and do the right things.

“The ‘Leading Like Jesus’ seminar was a real joy and breath of fresh air, said Andrew Zeisel, a participant from Trinity cluster. “I feel rejuvenated in my desire to imitate Christ and lead like Him. I feel more capable of doing this as well.”

During the seminar, participants receive a workbook containing 100 activities. Only a small amount of them are done that day. Individuals and groups are encouraged to do the remaining exercises as follow up. The content is based on an ecumenical program developed by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Owen Phelps, former communications director for the Rockford Diocese in Illinois, adapted the program for Catholics, emphasizing not only servant, but also steward and shepherd leadership. Owen refers to this as “S3 Leadership,” according to Rohner.

“Next year I intend to continue to offer the main encounter to a wider audience of parish leaders as well as offer shorter follow up workshops for those who attended the encounter this year,” he said.

For more information on ‘Leading Like Jesus, visit Owen’s website at yeshualeader.com or call Dan Rohner at the Dubuque Archdiocesan Pastoral Center at 563-556-2580.