How, Then, Will I Lead?

A journey in leading from within -- in the messy world out there.

An intensive, introspective program for rostered ministers of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA.

Helping participants to lead out of out of God-given identity guided by the Holy Spirit.


  • The Church is changing.
  • Nebraska is changing.
  • American culture is changing.

Empowered, insightful, fearless leadership is critical to helping our congregations, members and communities navigate these changes. The old approaches don't work well anymore.

  • This program is intended to help YOU answer the question -- "How, Then, Will I Lead?"


  • An engaged cohort of co-learners meeting together over 8 days across 5 months.
  • An exploration loosely structured around answering 4 questions based on Wayne Muller's book "How, Then, Shall We Live?"
    • Who am I?
    • What do I love?
    • How shall I live knowing that I will die?
    • What is my gift to God's creation?
  • World-class assessments:
    • Emergenetics (thinking and behavior preferences)
    • Emotional Intelligence (EQi 2.0)
    • ValueMatch Personal Values and Change profiles
  • Individualized coaching


  • The Fall/Winter 2019 program (HTWIL 2) is closed to new registrations.
  • Program applications are due November 15, 2019 December 1 for the 2020 Winter/Spring program (HTWIL 3).
  • The anticipated program dates, to which learners MUST COMMIT for all 8 days is indicated on the Schedule. Missing any session will be damaging to the group.
  • Most of the cost is underwritten by the Nebraska Synod.
  • Learners will be expected to pay a $500 tuition up front and cover cost of travel, and partial lodging expenses (for single occupancy if desired).
  • Homework prior to each session (including time to complete assessments) is an integral part of the program.

Presented by Shrinking Borders LLC and the Nebraska Synod, ELCA

Comments from prior participants

"Over the last 5 months, I learned a multitude of different basis for communication with the people I serve, much like learning to speak a different language would be, and now I feel more equipped to anticipate and predict those moments where my messages fall flat in meetings with individuals or with groups and how to avoid this happening by speaking from approaches that resonate. I also bonded in a deep way with those on this journey with me, and I will forever be grateful for the experience and the mutual support. I highly recommend How Then Shall I Lead as a means of improving your self-awareness, discovering concrete areas for growth and development in your leadership efforts, and an exciting forum for problem solving on the issues facing the church in the 21st century." Pr. Travis Panning

"How then shall I lead offered me new ways of thinking about ministry, and the world around me. What are the leadership strengths that I bring to the table? What areas of leadership do I struggle with? How can I use my strengths to encourage others? How can I invite others to help where I struggle? How do the changing dynamics of culture affect the ways I think about the world and communicate with others? How can I communicate new ideas with members whose world-view differs from mine? In addition to exploring all these questions and more, "How Then Will I Lead" offers a chance to explore these questions with a great group of colleagues that grow into knit together partners in ministry." Pr. Carla Johnsen

" How, Then, Will I Lead has been the most meaningful formation experience of my ministerial career. It was a wonderful opportunity to deepen my understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, and to be affirmed in my gifts for ministry, as well as to think about the church's present and future, with a group of faithful and graceful colleagues." Pr. Andrew Chavanak

“this is what the candidacy process should look like" Pr. Rick Johnson & Pr. Nathan Metzger

Great tools, comprehensive unpacking of tools, group reflection/activities, comraderie!

This provided a thorough, safe place for self-reflection. I would say even better than the candidacy process I went through.

Good assessment tools. Excellent collegiality, community and discussion.

The focus on individual leadership and understanding different styles was great!