Launching Leaders Worldwide has Launched

After nearly 6 years of successful creation and implementation, Launching Leaders has hired its first executive assistant and is taking LL to the world.

In the coming months Michael Leonard (executive director) and the other directors of Launching Leaders Worldwide will work to establish a new curriculum that invites people of all faith to participate in a life-changing experience.

The New LL worldwide is shaping an advisory board comprising leaders of several faiths to assist in development of the curriculum content.  Our target audience is the Millennial generation; though the material applies to all ages.  Our objective is to teach principles that empower™.

Some of the areas of focus will be creating a congruent faith-based life, teaching the formula ‘s for success, mentoring, financial fitness, entrepreneurial pathways, development of value statements and life plans, as well as principles of giving back.

LL Directors

Launching Leaders Worldwide Directors.  From Left; Laurence Day, Terry Pitts, Steve Hitz, James Ritchie, Michael Leonard.

Here is a synopsis about Launching Leaders Worldwide:

Faith-Based Principles that Empower

Faith-Based Principles that Empower

It is well documented that young people are falling away from traditional religious affiliations or worship at increasing, and even alarming rates[1]. Secular society and its social causes and concerns are winning the hearts and minds of many Millennials (ages 18-33), at the expense of an abiding faith in God. They struggle with the perceived “old ways” of the denomination they grew up with and how faith and belief apply to their everyday lives.

Commonly this group classifies themselves as atheists or agnostics, or say their religion is “nothing in particular.” According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, these religious “nones” makeup 35% of Millennials. Far more Millennials say they have no religious affiliation compared with those who identify as evangelical Protestants (21%), Catholics (16%) or mainline Protestants (11%)[2].

However, while Millennials have been falling away from faith, there are still millions of Christians who remain deeply committed and active in their faith[3]. But these Christian Millennials also want to know how to apply their faith to solve their everyday problems and accomplish their professional and life ambitions. They don’t want their faith to be relegated to Sunday worship alone. Similar can be said of other Millennials of faith.

There is a desperate immediate need to inculcate faith into the lives of Millennials and anyone who feels a gap between where they are and where they want to be in their spiritual and professional life. The resultant lack of faith is reaching into our society with symptoms that are causing a dark and faithless abyss.

Launching Leaders – Reaching Millennials and Beyond

Launching Leaders was founded in concept in 2000, from ideas born from the work of James W. Ritchie and used across the globe in his philanthropic efforts.  Launching Leaders is a forum of ideas and teachings centered in faith in God and is directed toward Millennials, and the entire world generally, in helping to close the gap between where a person is and where they desire to be. The unique formulas for life-giving success range from financial fitness, to uniting the professional and spiritual affairs of one’s life in order to maximize potential.  Participants experience tested formulas and patterns of life that inspire hope and a commitment for a better life, no matter their life ambitions.

LL DataLaunching Leaders as a set curriculum and in-person class was first tested in 2008 in New Zealand by Terry and Mary Pitts, who organized and taught three cohorts of students, aligning them with mentors, and celebrating several hundred graduates.  It has since been taught in multiple places in the USA, Fiji, Ghana, and elsewhere.  The initial companion book (The Ministry of Business), which combined many of the teachings, was developed after the New Zealand experience, and has since been published in two languages (English and Spanish).  Several thousand of these books have been distributed.

The next step for Launching Leaders is to deliver this proven curriculum to a broader, worldwide faith-based audience of Millennials and any others who desire to lift themselves to higher ground.  Delivery will be online and in-class. We invite you to come along with us and catch the vision…

Catch the Vision of Launching Leaders – Come to the Mountain, and Become a Wall of Oak!

Launching Leaders will EMPOWER you into a new world of possibilities, a world that has most often been reserved for the ‘few’ who have rubbed shoulders with the game changers, observed their success formulas and incorporated them into their character and behavior.  This program will change your life.

Napoleon by many measures was a very successful military leader but his primary goal was to conquer England, the prize.  It was all that was left on his punch List.  Load his men in the boats; cross the English Channel and in a few days he would control the entire continent.  But his dream died on the beaches of Normandy.  He never gave the command to board the ships.

“Why?” historians have asked.

Unseen, but real, over the horizon was the powerful British Royal Navy, which he had named the Wall of Oak – a wall of ships made of oak – and he never dared attack.  They were so good at their game that the strongest military machine on the planet, at that time, dared not confront them.   Napoleon’s rise to greatness died on that beach.

Launching Leaders will bring each of you face-to-face with mentors and coaches who individually have become a Wall of Oak in their areas of expertise and by learning from them we can borrow their strengths until we have incorporated them into our character and we too have that attribute as a piece of our personal Wall of Oak.

Each session we will symbolically climb a steep mountain where we will spend some quality time with many of the masters of the past as we glean from their character those principles and attributes we will need to become a Wall of Oak.  We will begin with Moses where we will discover the scary – but exhilarating – reality of our God-given potential, which translated means that there is truly nothing that we can not do if we have been created in God’s image. We will never be the same once that reality has sunk in and we begin to realize the true purpose of our mortal existence and the endless possibilities.

Each session we will return to the mountain with a new mentor or two and pick from their character their attributes of success. Men and women such as J. Paul Getty, David B. Haight, Stephen Covey, Ben Franklin, George Clason, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Og Mandino, Joan of Arc, Peter of the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Paul, Dr. Jim Loehr, Jim Collins, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington just to name some of the heavy hitters lined up for us.

Let’s get started. Put on your hiking boots; Moses is waiting for us where he wants to share with us what happened to him when he enrolled in an earlier version of Launching Leaders.  WE think you will quickly see why we begin with his story.

Grab you a mentor and coach and let’s find Moses.

Faith-based – A Key Differentiator

Johnson MckayThere are countless “leadership” and “self-help” courses and other offerings.  These include traditional live open enrollment or on-site classroom settings, as well as online workshops. Vendors range from in-house training departments to commercial providers.

There are also faith-based leadership and self-help courses provided by specific denominations (e.g. United Church of Christ and Bethel Church), or in local houses of worship, often using “home grown” curriculum and talent, targeting local parishioners. Some universities also offer faith-based programs, targeted at improving denominational leadership (e.g. University of Portland and Kellogg School of Leadership).

However, we have not identified a single offering that teaches in the faith-based realm and unites the spiritual with the professional to maximize success, as does Launching Leaders.

Delivery Platforms

Important to the success of the new Launching Leaders will be a robust online series of learning modules where a worldwide audience can participate fully.  An online learning management system will be established utilizing cutting edge learning methodologies tailored to the needs and learning styles of Millennials, including mobile applications.

Also critical to success is engaging local faith group leaders who can customize the curriculum to fit their needs and particular faith group interests, texts, traditions, and mentors/leadership figures.

Global Interfaith Advisory Board

Quentin DanielsWe are looking for denominational and other leaders, as well as Millennials of faith, to become members of our global interfaith advisory board. These individuals will help us move Launching Leaders into a new era, appropriate for all types of faith-based individuals and organizations. The board will direct the creation of the curriculum and updating of the companion book. They will help shape effective in-class and online tools, provided to pastors and worship leaders to teach principles that engage and enable Millennials and adults. They will help us establish a mentoring base that will form both local and global mentoring opportunities for the participants.

The Lines are Being Drawn

Let’s help Millennials and others see that their faith and professional lives need not be separate and distinct from one another. Let’s help them understand that combining the two will clarify their purpose in life and bring happiness, enabling God to do His work and connect the dots.  Let’s help them understand that success in life and beyond can and should be based on God-given principles. Our young adults are being tugged and pulled by powerful worldly forces and convincing arguments. The lines are being drawn more plainly than ever.

Let’s Launch some Leaders!

[1] Pew Research Center Study, May 2015

[2] Id.

[3] Barna Group Study, Sept. 2013

Identity Crisis

identityThis is a personal story about what matters most.  As most of you know,   our family formed a company in 1988 and grew it to maturity over the past 27 years, having sold it to another entity five years ago.  My last day with the firm I founded was August 13, 2015.

I always wondered what leaving the firm we founded would feel like.  The timing was not my own; though we had planned for this day years ago.  Still, it is a step into the unknown.

If you believe as I do that there are no coincidences, that everything happens for a reason, and that there is a God in Heaven who cares about and directs our journey, then you will understand what I’m about to say.

In the end, the legacy we leave is how we treated the folks who we mingled with in this journey.  In the company we founded, we always treated folks with dignity, affording them trust and the freedom to excel and become.  That can never be taken away.

My wife said “Steve, we didn’t build a company, we built a family”.  That is exactly right.  The lessons we learned along the way are lessons for eternity…..and the lessons continue.

When you leave a position of influence, there is a natural vacuum that occurs in the mind.  For me, it was the unexpected silence.  Electronic chatter came to a standstill.  The phone pretty much stopped ringing.  Many of those I considered my friends (in the company) over the 27 year journey became quiet.

There were a few of those who worked for us over the many years who made an effort to express their gratitude, which was very nice.  We love the company family we created; much like our own.

I’m not asking for sympathy as our lives continue to be fruitful, and the new time afforded us will allow us to focus on things that matter most to us; our family, other family businesses, charitable ventures and much more.  The life lesson I want to express in this post has to do with our identity.

Is it formed by what we perceive to be a part of our identity?  When your friends are only those whose email traffic you vet at work, or the social media, then you probably don’t have many real friends at all.  Cut yourself out of that traffic loop for a few days and you will see what I mean.  What would you do without thumbs to text?  Try this test and see how you survive.  More importantly, see how that world survives without you.

Is it shaped by the volume of our electronic river?  I was pretty shocked actually to see my river dry up from some directions; but it didn’t take long to really appreciate.  If the size of your electronic river is a big part of your identity, then prepare for an eventual drought.  This is an interesting topic as books have been written on how to capture this river and store it in your reservoir, and monetize it.  All well and good, but don’t let it affect who you really are.

What I have discovered is also a lesson my wife taught me.  It is most important to know both WHO you are, and WHOSE you are.

In my situation, I have a certain knowledge that I am a child of God.  I believe I have deity in my veins; that I am a part of God’s royalty.  Because of that belief, I also believe that I belong to Him, in a way that carries with it a certain amount of humble confidence.  I am a child of God, and I belong to Him.  That is who I am, and whose I am.

The pride of position (in my case, the CEO of a significant employer), the praise of men (in my case, the accolades that come with positions of influence), and the “fake” assurance of importance created by social media (were my identity grounded in those things), could have sunk my ship.  No instead, I recognize the hand of God in my life; that I have value and worth, and that what I have to offer is of a type of value that overshadows the comfortable cocoon the world wraps around you.

Don’t get too cozy if you plan to do God’s work.  He will move you from your comfort zone toward a land of promise.  He will move you.  If you reduce the cacophony of sound (noise), it creates the space to move forward.

Onward I say, on to more important victories!  Stay tuned as I express more of the things Ginger and I are involved with as we move from our comfort zone toward the land of promise.  We look forward to having you all become a part of this wonderful adventure.  Things we have just touched on in our past blogs such as Launching Leaders, The Ministry of Business, and Mycore to name a few, will become front and center in our universe.  We are excited to share this journey with you.