Leadership Development

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. – Frederick Buechner


Among many things, life in the Blackburn House is an opportunity for resident staff to discern their vocation, what God is calling them to whether inside or outside of the Church. Some of the practical ways for resident staff to use and develop their unique gifts include:

  • Preaching & teaching
  • Worship leading
  • Music ministry
  • Pastoral care
  • Gardening
  • Tutoring
  • Art
  • Social justice and advocacy
  • Community development
  • Community organizing
  • Event planning
  • Community service
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Writing
  • Social Media
  • Website and graphic design

Combined with work in the community and in the house–this is a unique setting for emerging church leaders to discover or hone their calling and gifts. As a small, rural and unincorporated community, Todd lacks a formal government and widespread business and industry, and thus relies on the grassroots efforts of ordinary citizens to address it’s needs and opportunities. Likewise, Blackburn’s Chapel, with its small membership, lacks a traditional large committee structure for ministry. Leadership and ministry in Todd present the opportunity to regularly cultivate sustainable grassroots, entrepreneurial, communication and organizing skills. Through regular spiritual direction sessions with the Abbot/Director resident staff reflect and listen to what God is doing through their experience in Todd–discerning not only how God is speaking presently, but how God is shaping one’s future calling into leadership and ministry.

As newcomers in Todd pursuing leadership, Blackburn House resident staff must take on the attitude embodied in the Chinese proverb:

Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Love them

Start with what they know
Build on what they have:
But of the best leaders

When their task is done
The people will remark

“We have done it ourselves.”

We always seek to not only cultivate leadership development among resident staff, but to walk alongside local residents to bring about empowerment and flourishing of their leadership. A huge part of our life and ministry is practicing reconciliation and peacemaking in simple ways by creating and entering spaces that cross social boundaries in order to make new friendships and mutual service possible!

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