What We Teach

What We Teach

The Leadership Development Initiative’s pedagogy across programs is based on the action-reflection model. Each group in the Flagship Program commits to designing a six-month project using the tools that they learn. Participants receive regular coaching and training from LDI staff. In this way, the leadership tools are learned through study, application, and reflection. Read about Grace Medford Church’s work with LDI for an example of one group’s project. 

LDI and our foundational curriculum has been shaped by its staff training and teaching with Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  Following Ganz, LDI defines leadership as

"accepting responsibility to enable others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty.”

We believe leaders in a church context do this by “focusing on their own calling, the calling of their congregation, and the call to action.” This is why, at LDI we have chosen to focus on developing star teams rather than star players. A star player alone is not really a leader.

The key leadership practices taught through our flagship program are:

  • Public narrative – how to tell stories to move others to join you in collective action. See several great examples of public narratives here.
  • Relationship-building – how to explore and make mutual commitments around shared values and interests
  • Team-building – how to build teams with a clear purpose that are stable, motivated, and accountable
  • Strategy – how to create a clear, compelling plan for turning the resources you have into the power you need to make the change you want
  • Action – how to design events that achieve measurable goals, expand resources, and develop individual leadership


LDI's commitment to an experiential learning model means your Flagship team receives at least five months of working with an experienced, dedicated coach to reinforce the key practices, problem solve in real time, and help navigate team dynamics. Our Flagship coaches are LDI alumni, local organizers, and teaching assistants to Marshall Ganz.

Spiritual Practice

What differentiates LDI from other community organizing and training organizations is our strongly rooted context in Christian spirituality. Contemplative worship infuses everything we do at LDI, from our trainings to our internal meetings. Contact Steven Bonsey, our Director of Contemplative Training, if you think your organization could benefit from the intersection of contemplation and leadership.