Grassroots Leadership Training
By Tim Poppen
It’s not your standard leadership training program. In the words of Al Hassler, an elder at Rockhills Church (RCA) in San Antonio, Texas, it’s “organic.”
Twenty years ago, Al was an atheist and a trial lawyer with no friends, a failing marriage, and nowhere to turn. But when he joined a faith community, a few key relationships changed the course of his life and marriage. Now he’s dedicated his life to help other men find what he found.
When Hassler comes across men who may be struggling with their faith or have no relationship with God, he first invites them to lunch. After that, he invites them to one of his three Bible studies, where they discuss things like spiritual gifts. Hassler challenges them to use their spiritual gifts by getting involved in the church and embracing the vision of “servant leadership.”
In the last six years, these new servant leaders have traveled to Honduras to help build clean water systems in mountain villages. The men not only help change the village’s future, but they also change their personal outlook about serving and ministering to God’s world.
As each man grows and matures at his own pace, Al finds the right time to encourage each one “to go out and find a couple of guys and start their own group.”
At Rockhills Church, there are many of these groups. This is leadership training and multiplication at the grassroots.
Tim Poppen is a member of Sunnybrook Community Church (RCA) in Sioux City, Iowa, and video producer for the Synod of the Heartland.