Nollau To You: Bringing Servant Leadership to CHHSM-Member Ministries

CHHSM President and CEO Michael J. Readinger and CHHSM Associate for Leadership and Advocacy the Rev. Danielle Bartz field questions during a Nollau To You seminar at Emmaus Homes.

When Grace Congregational UCC in Two Rivers, Wis., sent a financial gift to United Church of Christ-related Emmaus Homes in St. Charles, Mo., the hope was for one home manager at Emmaus to attend the Nollau Leadership Institute, a servant leadership training program from the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. Instead, the original gift is still giving today, thanks to an imaginative use of the funds and the creation of a new CHHSM program.

Grace Congregational gave the gift after its pastor, the Rev. Kim Henning, spent a sabbatical at Emmaus and learned about its struggle to instill the principals of faith-based leadership in the organization.

“We have sent employees to Nollau in the past, but with over 700 employees in a high-turnover industry, it was a bit like throwing a penny in the ocean,” said Cindy Clark, president and CEO of Emmaus Homes. “I thought that if the Nollau instructors could come to Emmaus for an abbreviated training, we would have the opportunity to train more of our supervisors.”

So Clark invited CHHSM to Emmaus and “Nollau To You” was born. On July 12, 24 Emmaus leaders were trained, with 12 leaders from other area CHHSM organizations and the UCC’s Missouri Mid-South Conference participating July 13.

“We adjusted a year’s worth of curriculum into a one-day primer on servant leadership, core values, and organizational analysis and change theories,” said the Rev. Danielle Bartz, CHHSM’s associate for leadership and advocacy. “This is a great way to get the concept of faith-based leadership out there on a wide scale.”

“Class picture” taken at the end of a Nollau To You session.

According to Clark, attendees reported that the training gave them “a different perspective about their responsibility as leaders and supervisors” in a faith-based organization. Participants also learned about the often-difficult decisions faced by agency executives in order to preserve their organization’s mandate and ministry.

The two training sessions were facilitated by Bartz and CHHSM President and CEO Michael J. Readinger. “The response to Nollau To You is encouraging,” said Readinger. “The possibilities for using this program to talk about servant leadership and provide much-needed leadership tools to larger numbers of people are exciting.”

In the final analysis, Nollau To You is a bit like “training the trainers.”

“Initiatives are more powerful here at Emmaus when they spread organically through the organization. By training a larger group of leaders, I am confident they will take these concepts back to their teams and share their knowledge with team members,” said Clark. “This couldn’t have happened by sending one person to Nollau.”

“More importantly,” she added, “they will be leading by example. Modelling servant leadership is the best way to expand these concepts throughout the organization.”

To learn more about holding Nollau To You seminars in your CHHSM or wider UCC setting, contact us.

The more extensive Nollau Institute is a yearlong program that gives participants the opportunity to discern their calling as Diakonal Ministers, a special vocation for leaders within CHHSM. Through retreats, site visits, online dialogue and peer mentoring, the program helps participants explore their vocation as leaders with the support of a community of practice. The Institute is named after Louis Edward Nollau, a 19th-century missionary, preacher, and founder of several St. Louis-area CHHSM ministries; it is open to leaders from CHHSM ministries and partnering organizations, such as colleges, seminaries, conferences and other institutions related to the United Church of Christ.

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