Diocesan Leadership Initiative

The Diocesan Leadership Initiative (DLI) is an intensive, holistic experience for bishops (and their leadership teams) who are committed to exploring and implementing new, innovative, and sustainable models of diocesan and congregational ministry for the church of today, and, more importantly, the church of tomorrow.

Potential bishop participants are selected based on their demonstrated entrepreneurial leadership, openness to change and capacity to propose and implement new, creative models of diocesan and congregational ministry.

Funded by ECF through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. pursuant to its National Initiative to Address the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral leaders, DLI is a collaborative effort of ECF, the Church Pension Group, the College for Bishops, and the Office of Pastoral Development.

Each participating bishop is asked to select one senior staff person (e.g., Canon to the Ordinary) and one key lay leader to comprise the DLI team and attend a three-day residential program. Currently, DLI is limited to thirteen teams.

DLI incorporates pedagogical models, e.g., adaptive leadership, the coach approach, and Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), that are relevant, impactful, and potentially transformational. The purpose of DLI, however, is to provide participants with training, resources, and networking opportunities to enhance episcopal and diocesan leadership for a changing church and world.

DLI is a year-long commitment that includes:

  • Pre-work data gathering, assessment and initial analysis
  • A three-day residential training program resulting in the development of an action plan
  • Eight months of professional coaching and individual support
  • Follow-up webinars, resources, and online gatherings

Based on pre-conference work, each DLI team will identify specific priorities that will lead to the development of a new initiative. The topics addressed during the conference are designed to provide relevant background and information to support diocesan context and needs as follows:

  • Adaptive Leadership and change theory
  • Visioning and planning
  • Changing roles of judicatories
  • New models of congregations and local faith communities
    • Diocesan/parish finance and administration
    • Communications and networking
    • Team Leadership

ECF covers the cost of tuition, room and board, ground transportation and the coaching component. Participants are responsible for their own round trip travel expenses to and from the residential event.

The 2018 and 2021 DLIs were held at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, N.C.