The 12-month Nollau Institute will be built around online and phone dialogue, held every month: three 2.5 day retreats at a retreat center, and participation in the CHHSM Annual Meeting.
The Institute will emphasize those same touchstones that constitute the collective calling of Diakonal Ministers:
- Exploration of the process of leadership formation. Participants will explore their own vocation and its relationship to personality and history. They will consider what it means to be formed as leaders in contrast to the acquisition of skills. Theological and spiritual reflection will frame formation as both the awakening to God-given gifts and the patterning or following inherent in the journey of faith.
- Exegesis of integrated leadership. Participants will critique the dominant cultural understanding of leadership as “fixing things” or “producing things,” a mechanistic perspective that reduces people and places to parts – what John O’Donahue calls the “ideology of functionalism.” Participants will consider an alternative understanding that seeks the integral or the whole by paying attention to energy, movement, the good work already underway. Theological and spiritual reflection will invite participants to envision leadership as blessing, as saying yes to what God inspires, creates and calls good.
- Immersion in the practices of a community of leaders. Participants will consider practices as habits and rituals that remind them and their organizations of resources that are already present. Appreciative Inquiry, asset-based planning, and other strength-based and entrepreneurial practices will be explored alongside older spiritual practices such as Lectio Divina and Awareness Examen. Participants will encourage and hold each other accountable to these practices.
Every session will be highly interactive and will emphasize integration of theory and practice, but each session will have a distinct flavor, depending on its type:
- Retreats: The three retreats will create space for in-depth exploration of identity and calling, theory and theology, as well as an introduction to individual and communal practices of integrated leadership. The retreats will outline the Institute’s major themes.
- CHHSM Annual Meeting: Full participation in CHHSM's Annual Meeting will expand knowledge of health and human service vocation. It will also provide a unique opportunity to relate to and learn from members of the dynamic CHHSM community of faith-based leaders. The Annual Meeting will reinforce the Institute's major themes.
- Online Dialogue and Peer Mentoring: In between sessions, participants will continue learning via online dialogue and peer mentoring. These conversations will give participants the opportunity to explore specific issues germane to their own leadership and organization. These sessions will help participants work through particular details raised by the Institute’s major themes.
The Institute's major themes — to be explored at the three retreats — are as follows:
- "Hearing God's Call: The Theology of Leadership"
- "Following the Energy: The Practice of Leadership"
- "Forming Faithful Cultures: The Product of Leadership"