Leadership Focus: A Personal Testimony
My name is Judye Ronalter, and I am a graduate of Leadership Focus (LF). LF made such an impact on my life that I am now also coaching a cluster of four participants. It is so fulfilling to me to watch as each individual student grows spiritually and is challenged to think critically about our connections in the community and the world as we do God’s work.
I have served several staff positions in two large churches. As God clarified my call to ministry, I was asked to serve in a ministry position that required me to become ordained as a pastor. I had never felt like that was something I was qualified to do, but the encouragement of the leaders around me, and the call I felt in my own heart and spirit gave me the courage to start seeking the process. This was my opportunity to enroll in Leadership Focus as it was being developed, and I have been blessed beyond measure to learn so much about God, theology, ethics, the Church of God, and a commitment to a missional lifestyle and ministry.
As I entered each new module (every six months over the three year LF journey), I was learning, reading and embracing a full understanding and appreciation of this movement known as the Church of God and the skills and competencies required for ministry in the 21st Century. The books, many articles, and videos that we were asked to read or watch actually created in me a hunger to learn more, and I found myself growing in a sense of leadership and ownership in the Church of God.
As a student, this was so helpful for me because it stretched me to think beyond just the cluster or the module itself. Summarizing each discussion and topic helped me to think about how I could pass on what I was learning to the ministry leaders in the church. My passion, and I truly believe my calling from God, is to build the systems and infrastructures to prepare people to grow in their walk with God and for the work of ministry, to connect them into the ministry God designed and purposed for them, and then to equip them to continue learning and growing in their giftedness. I believe that leadership development is a crucial mandate that needs to be included in church growth. Leadership Focus gave me numerous opportunities to not only grow and develop myself as a leader, but to also equip the lay leaders in our congregation and to serve our staff more skillfully. God was using Leadership Focus to stretch and grow me and, at the same time, using Leadership Focus to help me lead better in equipping others and helping them to understand God’s purpose and plan.
I completed the journey of Leadership Focus and the credentialing process in the spring of 2015 and was ordained the following October. I am so honored to be an ordained pastor in the Church of God.
Now serving as a coach with Leadership Focus, I continue learning through the students in each module. Our conversations always open new horizons of vision and mission and help us to explore how this aligns with God’s purpose to be connected—serving, sharing, and listening to one another. I’m growing and learning and focusing on God’s direction for my life and how to be an effective and missional part of the Church of God family. I am truly blessed to be a part of this incredible team!
Pastor Judye Ronalter