Equal Opportunity Leadership
Cam Hill | November, 2020
“Those who are closest to the problem, are closest to the solution, but often, furthest from the resources and power.” - Glenn E. Martin (Just Leadership USA)
At Lead Collective, we’re committed to equipping and elevating next-generation leaders from our most vulnerable communities. Here’s why: We’re in the midst of a critical, painful—yet surprisingly beautiful—cultural moment. Our society is waking up to many heartbreaking realities and seeing the impact of racial injustice and marginalization that our most vulnerable communities have been experiencing for generations.
Truth-telling is a necessary first step toward renewal. That’s why I get excited when I see people of privilege beating the drum of justice on behalf of the marginalized. But in most cases, the excitement of awakening is quickly followed by a desire for action. “We have to do something about it!” And while the desire for action is good, it can lead to incredible hurt if it’s untamed. Groups of well-intentioned but poorly-informed white folks trying to solve the world’s problems is a recipe for disaster.
We don’t need to elevate the white voice. (I say this as a white man.) That’s not to say that white folks have no role in God’s mission of reconciliation and justice, but it’s essential for us to know our role. We can offer our support. We can leverage our privilege. We can be an ally in multiple ways. But contrary to popular opinions—and a lifetime of examples that suggest otherwise—we are the least equipped people to lead the charge. Why? We’ve been insulated from the problem for generations!
The challenges that our communities of color have been facing are nuanced and complex. If you haven’t experienced the trauma of social disenfranchisement, how can you chart a pathway toward healing? If you haven’t been forced to navigate the barriers of racial injustice, why would you think you’re best suited to identify them and remove them? If we’re going to see justice roll down and renewal spring forth, we need to elevate leaders from our most vulnerable communities.
Unfortunately, the disenfranchisement and marginalization that have been happening for generations have created a leadership vacuum where we need it most. That doesn’t mean we don’t have excellent leaders who have grown up in poor and marginalized communities. It simply means that while we have routinely created pipelines for leadership development in affluent communities, we have placed countless barriers to leadership in communities of color. And we’ve been doing this for hundreds of years. Consequently, the leaders we need most right now have few opportunities to grow and even fewer opportunities to be discovered and elevated. This trend needs to change.
At Lead Collective, we’re committed to providing leadership opportunities for those closest to the challenges of our most vulnerable communities. Our mission centers around this desire. We want to raise up young leaders within their communities and elevate their voices by placing them in positions of influence in our ministry, in their community, and in the world at large. We do this in partnership with a diverse group of leaders to provide expert training from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.
This initiative is essential, but it won’t happen overnight. Leaders are not forged by information or developed through five-week classes. Leaders are formed over time through experiences, teaching, equipping, and apprenticeship—all through the dynamic vehicle of a relationship. The Bible refers to this process as discipleship. It’s the art of coming alongside someone and walking with them as a friend. It involves taking life as it comes, slowly peeling it back, and unpacking it together. The markers of growth get a bit more grey, but the depth of transformation is far more profound.
Here’s where you come in. Remember earlier when I mentioned that we all have a role to play? If you’re a person who has received leadership training (formally or informally), we would love to give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with the next generation of leaders. If you have the financial means to partner with us through giving, we would deeply appreciate your generosity.
During the past year, we were able to hire two former students to join our staff team, and we want to continue placing leaders in positions of influence through employment. We’ve found that one of the best ways to equip a leader is to buy their time and give them opportunities to lead alongside you. Your giving provides leadership development opportunities that are often not afforded to the leaders we need the most!
We are beyond grateful for you and your willingness to partner with us as we provide equal opportunities to equip and elevate the next generation of leaders.