Values-based Leadership: Transforming leaders through an Anabaptist perspective

By Mim Shirk

GOSHEN, Indiana (MHS) — The first session of this year’s Values-based Leadership Program (VBLP) was held at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, Oct. 18-20. Leaders from diverse settings gathered for the first of two sessions, titled Leading from the Inside. The session used the DiSC profile and the Leadership Practices Inventory to help participants better understand their own leadership style and the styles of others.

Rick Stiffney at VBLP
MHS President/CEO Rick Stiffney engages the VBLP group on leadership integrity.

Participants shared their goals with an assigned cohort in order to encourage and update one another on progress made. Cohorts were groups of seven or eight participants facilitated by a leader who had been through the program before. The cohorts were formed at the beginning of the session and will meet together throughout the program, including the inter-term. Cohorts helped to remind participants that leadership is a team effort.

VBLP alumnus Rachel Swartzendruber Miller from Hesston College (Kansas) serves as a cohort leader.

“I vividly remember those at VBLP who my leadership jouimpacted rney,” Swartzendruber Miller says. “I’m honored to be a support or encouragement to someone else on their unique leadership journey.”

In a few short days, a group of 36 strangers became a supportive learning community. There will be a four-month gap before the second and final session, to allow for intentional work to be done.

“The program was designed this way to give participants an opportunity to put into practice what they are learning and spend time intentionally thinking about their leadership development,” says Lee Schmucker, program facilitator.

The second session will take place February 21-23, 2017, and will focus on Leading and Empowering Others. Participants will learn more about team dynamics and team leadership. This session will emphasize understanding, valuing and learning how different styles and persons work together and the importance of all the team work styles for a highly effective team.

Registration for next year’s VBLP is open now at The program is open to leaders and developing leaders of churches, senior managers and leaders from business and non-profit organizations, schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, new executives and seasoned or rising leaders from all fields.

“Christ gave us a wonderful leadership example to follow. VBLP puts Christ at the center of leadership development instead of as an afterthought,” Swartzendruber Miller says.

More than 500 people from across the US and Canada have taken part in VBLP since it started in 2001. The program is co-sponsored by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Everence, Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Mennonite Education Agency, MHS and Schmucker Training and Consulting.

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Photos available: RickStiffneyVBLP2016.jpg

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One thought on “Values-based Leadership: Transforming leaders through an Anabaptist perspective

  1. Mim, I remember your helpful work while I was involved with MDC(Goldenrod) during a leadership change !! Do you remember?

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