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Leadership Advance

The Trust’s Leadership Advance conference is held annually in late November or early December for executive leaders who have the responsibility of leading organizations, including the development of other leaders.

Leadership Advance participants include Christian ministry leaders, educators, trainers, businesspeople and others. To learn more about the conference, please email Mary Hill at the Murdock Trust.

The next Leadership Advance conference will take place on November 28-29, 2018.

Find resources, audio files, and videos from past conferences below.

2017 Ignite Film Showcase

In partnership with the Windrider Institute, The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s Ignite Film Showcase seeks to honor emerging filmmakers with original and existing films that illuminate and explore the human condition with creativity, compassion, and respect.

The following six films were shown at the Leadership Advance Conference, Telling THE Story: Telling YOUR Story, along with a brief interview with each of the filmmakers. The winning filmmakers received a cash prize and will have their films screened at the Windrider Forum, which takes place during the Sundance Film Festival, January 2018.

Gold Medal – Red Folder | Ben Kallam, Director ($3,000 cash prize)

Red Folder is the story of a high school student who has set out to find his teacher’s red folder. Over the course of a single class period, he moves from one classroom to the next, increasingly adrift, until another student forces him to confront the implications of his search.

Ben Kallam is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles, CA. Before pursuing his MBA/MFA in film at NYU, he worked as a high school math teacher in Richmond, CA. These experiences and observations served as the inspiration for much of Red Folder. He is currently working on the script for a feature adaptation and planning to shoot another short film in 2018.

Silver Medal – Riding Grace | Aria Swarr and Dane Christensen, Directors ($2,000 cash prize)

Tony Monroe rides his horse, Grace, five days a week through the most dangerous streets of Fresno, California, in the hope of being a presence for change. His peculiar pursuit began twenty-five years ago with a vision he had of himself riding a dark horse through a gang-controlled neighborhood.

Aria Swarr (www.ariaswarr.com) and Dane Christensen (www.srndpts.com) are filmmakers who joined forces during their studies at Stanford University’s Documentary Film and Video MFA Program. They each have varied experience creating documentary films in such places as Jerusalem, Cuba, Southern Africa, and Denmark.

Bronze Medal – Night Lights | Isabella Issa, Director, and Martha Fellbaum, Producer ($1,000 cash prize)

The director, Isabella Issa, was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She is passionate about telling true stories that bring awareness and hope to her audience. Night Lights was shot in Sydney Australia and centers around the mystic min min lights. After the loss of their son, a young Australian couple takes a camping trip in an effort to heal, and in the process, finds themselves being haunted by the night sky.

Honorable Mention – The Kite Maker | Brian Wertheim, Director ($500 cash prize)

The Kite Maker (Sona’a Al-Ta’ara Al-Waraqiyya) is the story of a teenager named Peter, told against the backdrop of Egypt’s infamous Garbage City – an innovative community of Coptic rubbish recyclers on the outskirts of Cairo that is often mislabeled as a slum.

Born in 1989 in Los Angeles, Brian Wertheim is a photographer and film maker focusing on documentary work in the Middle East and the Muslim world (www.brianwerthe.im). Since 2014, he has been creating an ongoing body of work centered on Cairo’s Coptic rubbish recyclers. Outside of the Arab world, Brian also focuses on long-term projects in South Central, DTLA, and Northeast LA. He was educated at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Honorable Mention – The Pants Society | Brandon Deepwell, Director ($500 cash prize)

Find out what happens when Reginald shows up to the Pants Society wearing capris.

Brandon Deepwell lives in Langley, B.C. with his beautiful wife, Karina. His love for videography started in middle school when he first borrowed his dad’s old Sony handycam. After high school, he attended Capilano University and graduated with an advanced diploma in motion picture production. Since then he has filmed many weddings, produced one award winning short film along with receiving nominations for others, created corporate pieces, and mini documentaries. He is currently the Creative Video Director at Broadway Church in Vancouver, B.C.

Honorable Mention – Wondrous | Sebastian Rogers, Director ($500 cash prize)

Made for a 2016 Advent service at Imago Dei Community (Sebastian’s home church), “Wondrous” juxtaposes the business of human creativity with the transcendence of God’s creation. It was the second in a series of 3 collaborations with poet Vandoren Wheeler. Music by Michael Blake.

Sebastian Rogers spent 15+ years as a professional record producer before a radical conversion led him to pursue full-time ministry. While working as a communications director at a church, he discovered a talent for telling stories through film. Rogers’ now runs a non-profit film company (pvpdx.com) which makes promotional films for non-profits and ministries, as well as social justice documentaries and liturgical films. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Catherine and their three foster children.

Past Conference Resources

2017 Leadership Advance Conference | Telling THE Story: Telling YOUR Story

Session 1: Andy Crouch (audio)
Session 2: Andy Crouch (audio)
Optional Film Viewing: Terry Stokesbary & John Priddy (audio)
Session 3: Eugene Cho (audio)
Session 4: Andy Crouch & Romanita Hairston-Overstreet (audio)
Lunch Presentation: Tim Mackie (audio)
Breakout Resource: Getting Your Organization’s Story Told / Telling Your Organization’s Story in Times of Crisis or Misrepresentation | Brian Gard & Bill Robinson (PDF)

2016 Leadership Advance Conference | Preparing for the Future: The Vital Work of Developing People

Session 1: Brenda Salter McNeil (audio)
Session 2: Bruce McNicol, John Lynch, Bill Thrall (audio)
Session 3: Brenda Salter McNeil (audio)
Breakout Resource: Bill Robinson, “Executive Leadership: A Model of Growth & Development” (pptx)

2015 Leadership Advance Conference | Understanding the New Millennium: Reexamining the Cultural Narratives

Session 1: Alissa Wilkinson, “The Core of Our Cultural Narratives” (audio)
Session 2: Greg Jao, “Living With Pluralism” (audio)
Session 3: Peter Greer, “Navigating the Cultural Landscape: Anchors and Sails” (audio)
Session 4: Jason Locy, “Engaging a Post-Modern World with Your Organization’s Story” (audio)
Session 5: Dave Blanchard, “Harnessing the Entrepreneurship Narrative” (audio)
Session 6: Panel & Closing (audio)

2014 Leadership Advance Conference | Word Made Flesh

Session 1: Introduction by Steve Moore & Terry Stokesbary (audio)
Session 2: Sandra Richter keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 3: Mark Labberton Keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 4: Michael Lindsay keynote (audio)
Session 5: Sandra Richter keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)
Session 6: Mark Labberton keynote with Michael Lindsay response (audio)

2013 Leadership Advance Conference | Convicted Civility: Candid Conversations in a Conflictual Culture

Session 1: Introduction by Dr. Steve Garber (audio)
Session 2: Dr. Richard Mouw, “A Journey Toward Convicted Civility” (MP4 | audio)
Session 3: Dr. Richard Mouw, “The Hard Work of Convicted Civility” (MP4 | audio)
Session 4: Dr. Richard Mouw, “God Loves a Pluralistic Society” (MP4 | audio)
Session 5: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Every Person is Full of Hopes and Dreams” (MP4 | audio)
Session 6: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Common Grace for the Common Good” (MP4 | audio)
Session 7: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Leadership… Living with the Mystery of God’s Work” (MP4 | audio)
Session 8: Dr. Richard Mouw, “Cultivating Conviction and Passion” (MP4 | audio)

2012 Leadership Advance Conference | Leadership in a Changing/Unchanging Time

Session 1: Introduction by Steve Garber (audio)
Session 2: Eric Metaxas (audio)
Session 3: David Kinnaman (audio)
Session 4: Eric Metaxas (audio)
Session 5: Kentra Creasy Dean (audio)

2011 Leadership Advance Conference | Shaping the Soul of a Leader

Session 1: John Ortberg (audio)
Session 2: Ruth Haley Barton (audio)
Session 3: John Ortberg (audio)
Session 4: Ruth Haley Barton (audio)

2010 Leadership Advance Conference

Session 1: Steve Garber & Sharon Parks (audio)
Session 2: Andy Crouch & Sharon Parks (audio)
Session 3: Michael Flaherty (audio)
Session 4: Charlie Peacock & Sharon Parks (audio)

2009 Leadership Advance Conference

Session 1: Rob McKenna & Ron Carucci (audio)

The 'On Leadership' Video Series

How do you develop the leaders of tomorrow? At all levels of an organization, what qualities do existing leaders need to help people learn and grow? What tools and resources are necessary? In the Murdock Trust’s video series, On Leadership, nonprofit sector leaders with decades of experience and wisdom share their insights on these important topics. These short videos contain practical, illuminating perspectives on the most vital leadership themes, including making time to mentor, the traits of leaders, overworking, how to cultivate young leaders, and many more.

  • “The Big Christian Enterprise”
    Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, describes the worldwide need for leadership. Thoughtful, purposeful, moral people are needed to live out Christian principles to carry on the work Jesus began.
  • “Transitional Leadership”
    Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, argues that every leader is a transitional leader. Focusing on developing the next generation of leaders—those who will follow you—is a necessary part of every leader’s responsibility.
  • “Thoughtful Leadership”
    Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, describes leadership as a need in organizations, communities and nations worldwide. True leadership, Labberton says, comes from “thoughtful, purposeful moral vision.”
  • “Investing in Others”
    Terry McGonigal of Whitworth University demonstrates the mentoring model of Jesus among his disciples. The impact of faithful mentoring has lasted throughout the life of the church and into today’s Christian organizations.
  • “Calling for the Best”
    Annie Jones-Barnes of Northwest Leadership Foundation discusses the need for patience when developing leaders. Patience includes not judging those you develop, being consistent and invested in their lives, and challenging people to be their best.
  • “Looking Under Rocks”
    Annie Jones-Barnes of Northwest Leadership Foundation believes we must search anywhere and everywhere to discover new leaders. Traditional models of leadership development do not necessary find leaders who bring true transformation.
  • “Mentorship is Discipleship”
    Tod Bolsinger of Fuller Theological Seminary suggests that the cultural affirmation of busy-ness is an area Christians should challenge. Perhaps senior leaders in Christian organizations should be people who are never too busy to invest in the next generation of leaders and disciples.
  • “Built Into Our DNA”
    Tod Bolsinger of Fuller Theological Seminary talks about the need for intentionality in developing new leaders. While it is necessary for a leader to possess certain skills, equally important is a leader’s ability to develop the generation of leaders who will follow.
  • “The Power of Relationships”
    Patricia Talton, President of Northwest Leadership Foundation, says that building deep and real relationships is a foundation on which developing leadership can succeed. Mutual trust is necessary, as is caring for people in the long run as they discover their own strengths.
  • “Transforming a City”
    Patricia Talton, President of Northwest Leadership Foundation, talks about the leadership needed to transform cities. Giving future leaders the opportunity to practice their leadership will help strengthen our cities. Different models of leadership are needed to help cities thrive.
  • “Passing the Torch”
    Kohl Crecelius, CEO of Krochet Kids International, argues that the organization a leader leaves behind is as or more important than that leader’s individual successes. Being prepared to hand leadership to those who come after is “the most graceful thing we can do.”
  • “Nurturing Talents”
    Mako Fujimura of Fuller Theological Seminary discusses the need to steward young leaders’ talents. This involves nurture and providing opportunities for growth, even when such growth leads in unexpected ways.
  • “Empathy”
    Mako Fujimura of Fuller Theological Seminary discusses the critical need for learning empathy. Using metaphors of sports and performing arts, Fujimura points out that empathy is one of the most critical characteristics of a leader.
  • “To Listen is to Learn”
    Celeste Cranston of Seattle Pacific University discusses the importance of leaders being willing to learn. Being open to a diverse range of voices and narratives helps leaders grow.
  • “Who Will Teach Leadership?”
    Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, argues that everyone is responsible for developing leaders, and taking an active interest in young leaders. Leading by example is vital in addition to more traditional forms of teaching.
  • “Developing the Future”
    Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, makes the case for succession planning and “developing the bench”—cultivating people who are ready to step into leadership when needed. Younger leaders need challenges to grow and be prepared for the future.
  • “Over the Should and Through the Heart”
    Steve Garber of the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation and Culture talks about the importance of mentors letting young leaders observe the mentor in action, try their hand at he work, and then make it their own.
  • “Ride Along”
    Steve Moore, Executive Director of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, describes his experience—as a student—of accompanying a mentor throughout his day, the gift of being able to learn from the mentor, and the impact it had on their relationship.
  • “Sherpa Style Mentoring”
    Sarah Baldwin, Vice President of Student Development at Asbury University, uses the metaphor of a Sherpa to describe how mentors come alongside interns to help them along the way. Interns must “climb the mountain” themselves, but a good mentor will serve as a guide.
  • “The World as God Sees It”
    Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, talks about “seeing the world through God’s eyes.” He suggests we remove the lenses through which we view our world and attempt to see and embrace the world in love, as God does.
  • “The Importance of Mission”
    Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, talks about the importance of having a mission statement that is understood and embraced by people throughout an organization, and why leaders bear responsibility for helping their organizations have clarity around the mission.
  • “In Between Leadership”
    Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, discusses being “people of the in between.” Leaders are always learners, teachers are also students, mentors are also apprentices, throughout all of life and even in positions of great responsibility.
  • “Creating a Movement”
    Mako Fujimura of Fuller Theological Seminary talks about creating movements versus creating institutions. Movements require people to develop as leaders and encourage people to take on new responsibilities, all of which helps people grow.
  • “Driving Mission”
    Mako Fujimura of Fuller Theological Seminary describes an organization’s mission as “a window into creativity and growth.” Great mission statements help define the heart of the movement an organization is building.
  • Kairos Moment”
    Brenda Salter McNeil, Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University, talks about taking advantage of Kairos time—“a moment in history that’s unique”—and recognizing when God is calling and mobilizing new generations to lead.
  • “Avoiding Redundancy”
    Brenda Salter McNeil, Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University, discusses the opportunity afforded her to share about her experience in the black church, and the importance of seizing such opportunities when they arise.