By: Mennonite Health Services Staff

This article originally appeared as a daily news post on November 13, 2015 on the Mennonite‘s website (Link)


Group Photo from Session I Gathering in October 2015











Individuals working in health and human services, education, missions, international relief and development, area conferences, congregations and businesses met Oct. 27–29 at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, for Session 1 of the Values-based Leadership Program. Leaders from diverse settings gained fresh perspective on their leadership stories and styles, seen through an Anabaptist Christian understanding of leadership.

Over the 2½ days, participants learned about leadership issues and challenges from the viewpoint of others with different experiences.

Ron Dell from Landis Homes in Lititz, Pennsylvania, appreciated the varied backgrounds of participants: “I enjoyed meeting the other participants and hearing their perspectives since we come from different backgrounds, ages and places of work.”

The Values-based Leadership Program is not just about best practices. Rather, it helps individuals gain a fresh perspective through peer feedback, input from the resource team and group discussions about topics such as integrity, power and authority, understanding and appreciating differences, and the gift of feedback.

Resource team members set the stage for learning with an Anabaptist Christian look at leadership effectiveness. Tiffany Ingersoll from Spring Haven, Mt. Eaton, Ohio, appreciated the session on shared Anabaptist beliefs: “I’m going to talk to our leadership team about how we can work at living out those beliefs in every new program we create.”

In a few short days, a group of 36 strangers became a supportive learning community. To keep the energy flowing, cohorts will meet by phone over the next few months to encourage and hold each other accountable. VBLP alumnus Cathy Smeltzer Erb from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, Virginia, has joined the resource team and serves as a cohort leader.

“I love watching my cohort use the learning tools to set goals,” she said. “Staying in touch by phone and then coming back for the second session are important for implementing changes that stick.”

The group will meet at Laurelville on Feb. 23–25 for Session 2.

Nearly 500 people from across the U.S. and Canada have taken part in the Values-based Leadership Program since it started in 2001. The next class meets Oct. 18–20, 2016, and Feb. 21–23, 2017. Registration opens in January.

The Values-based Leadership Program is sponsored by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Everence, Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mennonite Church USA Executive Board staff, Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Mennonite Education Agency, MHS and Schmucker Training & Consulting.


Laurelville is a Christian Retreat Center in the Laurel Highlands in Southwestern Pennsylvania.