Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults

Activity 2: Sharing Our Leadership Stories

(25 minutes)


  • Newsprint, markers, and wall-safe tape
  • Clock or timer
  • Bell or chime


  • Title a sheet of newsprint “Early Leadership Experiences,” write the following questions on it, and post it where all participants can see it:
    • How did the experience feel at the time?
    • How did you learn and grow from the experience?
    • What were your hopes and fears in taking on that leadership role?
  • Prepare (but do not post) another sheet of newsprint with the title “Becoming a Leader in a Congregation.” Write these questions:
    • How did you first become a lay leader in a congregation?
    • What role did you have, and how did you come to take on that role?
    • How did your personal faith and beliefs affect your decision to be a leader?


This activity invites participants to reflect on and share their own leadership journey. It has three parts, offering participants an opportunity to consider in turn their early leadership experiences, their congregational leadership experiences, and what they have learned about what it means to be a lay leader.

Some may be new leaders in the congregation, some may be longstanding congregational leaders, and some may be leaders in other aspects of their lives. Acknowledge that everyone is in a different place on their leadership journey. Say that participants in this workshop have in common that they have taken on (or are at least considering) a leadership role in your faith community.

Point out the sheet of newsprint you posted. Invite participants to consider the questions and to try to recall their early leadership experiences—childhood and adolescent experiences as well as adult ones.

After a minute, invite participants to turn to a partner and share their experiences and responses to the questions listed on the newsprint. Tell them that each partner will have three minutes to share. Ring a bell or chime when it is time for the second partner to share. Facilitators may also choose to take part in this activity.

Post the second sheet of newsprint. Invite participants to use the questions provided to recall the circumstances of their first becoming a leader in this or a previous faith community. After a minute, invite participants to share with the same partner their experiences and their responses to the questions. Tell them that each partner will have three minutes to share. Ring a bell or chime when it is time for the second partner to share.

Reconvene the large group. Prompt a discussion by asking, “What have you learned about being a leader in the course of your experiences?”

Wrap up the activity by asking, “How was the experience of sharing leadership stories? Were there any surprises or revelations as you told your own story or heard someone else’s?”