Lakewood Connects – Leading Leaders

LLL 11.2017

A community is only as strong as the strength of its leaders! Wednesday November 8, 20 leaders met on the campus of Colorado Christian University to participate in the first “Lakewood Leadership Lunch.” Lakewood Connects and Thrivent Financial partnered to create the event which merged faith, education, government, nonprofit and business leaders for the purpose of growing the leadership capital in the city of Lakewood.

The event featured presentation clips from the 2016 Willow Creek Leadership conference called, “Leadership Summit.” Our first clip was a 7 minute dose of challenge from Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels. He challenged that the “passion level“ of the leader sets the passion pace of their organization. He reminded us that it is no one’s responsibility to fill the “passion bucket” of the leader, other than that leader. So…what am I doing to keep my passion bucket full?

The second presentation was by bestselling author and researcher Dr. Travis Bradberry. His book called; “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” challenges us to understand the difference between IQ, Personality and EQ, or “Emotional Intelligence.” Where IQ and Personality are set our emotional intelligence can grow, morph and improve thus directly impacting our success and leadership effectiveness. We can change for the better and this presentation and subsequent discussions sharpened our resolve and set the pathway for these steps in our lives.

Finally, we were taught by the world leadership equipping leader John C. Maxwell. Maxwell aimed us at “The One Thing to Get Right.” Leaders add value to people. This call was convicting and motivating and his stories perfectly illustrated how vital and important adding value is. Leaders change people for the better and that change is THE key for positively transforming our world.

Attending the event were leaders from the largest Chamber of Commerce organization in Jefferson, County, a former Lakewood mayor, a leader of a government supporting foundation, nonprofit organization leaders and many other kinds of leaders all working together to build up one another’s leadership strengths and confidence. Fact is many of these leaders would have disagreed strongly with one another about many specific topics…but in this venue they all grew closer to one another and closer to their highest leadership potential.

Lakewood Connects is working in many ways to connect leaders to leaders and leaders to the possible community initiatives that will never be realized until we work on these problems together!

A week in the life of Lakewood Connects July 11—15, 2017

Lakewood Connects: Mobilizing churches for effective service in the community

178Monday
• Met with the new church relations director at Lutheran Family Services and helped her make plans for networking with city, school, and church leaders in Lakewood.
• Mentoring time with a local pastor. This is one of the core goals for Lakewood Connects as we work to strengthen faith leaders.
• Facilitated community connections so that 40 teen counselors from a local camp for inner city kids could have food and a nice place to meet for their celebration dinner.

 

181Pictured: Teen counselors from Zocalo camp enjoying a great meal provided by Lakewood leader Bill Marino/Olive Garden/Bill Marino, Lakewood leader from the Lakewood – West Colfax Business Improvement District. The dinner was held at Bethlehem Lutheran church who offered their serving hall for free. Lakewood Connects works to link business, church, neighborhood, nonprofits, government and schools together so everyone benefits from partnership. When we pull together nothing is impossible!


183Tuesday
• Linked a new church plant with Green Mountain High School’s principal so the church can meet there this fall. Relationships make all the difference for helping link churches to schools!
• Gathered and led pastors from the Lakewood Church Network for prayer at the Cove Bar. Sometimes church leaders return to the places Jesus used to minister in!
• Participated in the nonprofit roundtable with West Chamber of Commerce. It’s important that Lakewood Connects participates in community wide vision and helps build networks for excellence and leadership across the aisle separating us.


Wednesday
• Prepared the Jeffco Human Services “Power of Partnership” program for database support. Power of Partnership links government, churches, and nonprofits for collaborative service networking in Jeffco.
• Met with city Affordable Housing Leaders to better communicate what the most vulnerable populations in the city need now and in the future. This will be one of our most important problems to solve!
• Consulted with leaders of an apartment ministry as they seek to help more families in needy neighborhoods.


Thursday189
• Consulted with leaders of local Lakewood Service Clubs as they form a new network aimed at serving the city together. Their first priority is helping Title 1 elementary schools. Pictured here, leaders from the group look at art tables in Rose Stein Elementary that were constructed by prisoners. Rose Stein will start their first reopened school year with a team of local churches, service clubs, businesses and neighborhood association partners helping the school in the years to come.
• Chaired the Lakewood Faith Coalition Team’s regular meeting. The Faith Coalition is a network of over 50 faith communities in the city serving together!


201Friday
• Met with the Lakewood Connects Action Team to plan next steps. A top priority is fund raising plans for this fall.
• Linked Thrivent Financial with Rose Stein Elementary. Pictured here are Principal Esther Valdez and Thrivent’s Tim Tier. Thrivent provided books for the school and is also researching ways to participate in a landscaping project at and for the school in the next 3 weeks! When Tim left the school that morning, principal Valdez literally jumped up in the air with excitement! Lakewood Connects is bringing joy to Lakewood!

Reg’s Activities January through May 2017 (What does Reg do everyday?)

What does Reg do each week? My time each week is focused like this:

  • 20% connecting to pastors and church leaders
  • 20% meeting with business and community leaders/leading groups
  • 20% service activities like Whiz Kids or Lakewood church involvement
  • 10% Jeffco Human Services – Power of Partnership
  • 10% Attending events
  • 10% meetings with school district, county, city leaders/serving on boards
  • 10% administration/organization

Each week I meet with at least 2 – 5 pastors. There are around 30-33 churches that are connected to or active in the Lakewood Church Network and another 20 in the Lakewood Faith Coalition. My goals in these meetings is to consult, encourage, admonish and support. I’m also preaching regularly at churches in the network across Lakewood.

Each month I organize and lead a prayer gathering for pastors from the Church Network. Usually 15-25 faith leaders, Christian therapists and others meet at one of the network churches to pray. We believe prayer is the catalyst that facilitates positive action in Lakewood.

In addition to monthly prayer I lead the Faith Coalition steering committee bi-monthly as they focus on projects and programs related to collaborative church service to the community.

In addition to these groups I serve on committees related to education at the School District Ed Center, meet regularly with other education leaders, city leaders, county leaders and business partners who are aimed at serving in the city at various degrees. These meetings are enjoyable for me and are fueling much of the project direction Lakewood Connects is involved with.

Each week during the school year I support the faith based afterschool tutoring program at Foothills Elementary called Whiz Kids. I’m there Tuesday and Thursday evenings for 2 ½ hours. I also attend Lakewood Church of Christ staff meetings and support programs linked to their community connections ministries. This allows me to nurture the relationship connection between the church and neighborhood, which is the central spiritual passion of my work.

I’m currently serving part time at Jeffco Human Services on reinvigorating their Power of Partnership program which links the county Human Services department to all the nonprofits and churches in the county. This links to various events, meetings and connections that bring together church, government, school, nonprofits and neighborhood associations to perform service together. This is wildly satisfying to participate in.

Last, I don’t do enough admin/organization work as evidenced by a newsletter coming out 3 months late! That’s where I could use some help! Website, newsletters and database management! If you can help please contact me or Amy. Thanks!

 

 

How can I help Lakewood Connects?

There are a few ways you can help us at Lakewood Connects:

  1. Prayer – Lakewood Connects strives to enhance the “brand” church in Lakewood Colorado through linking churches and church members to effective partnership service opportunities with secular and civic leaders in the community. This is effectively a faith building effort and we can use your prayer! Pray for opportunities to make Jesus famous in meetings and projects!
  2. Financial – As a nonprofit the entire operation depends on financial support from friends and supporters like you. Some funds are needed now for building and improving our database, website, newsletters, office supplies, an office, pastor retreats and program needs for a few of the local Title 1 elementary schools. We are always blessed by your gifts and are pursuing support to complete our salary needs and an additional $10,000 for organizational growth plans. If you are in a position to help we are ready to put your gift to work!
  3. Fundraising events in the fall – This fall we will design and host a few fundraising events. If you would like to help Lakewood Connects Board or leadership plan, host or support an event please email Reg and Amy. We will post information on these events in upcoming newsletters.
  4. Webpage development – up to now volunteers including Courtney Drysdale and Don Scanga have led Lakewood Connects webpage development. The webpage helps tell our story and connects folks to our work. We are discussing developing a more robust and professional web presence and a supporter has donated funds for this. If someone in the Denver area had expertise to coach us/help on this that would be appreciated. Please email Reg or Amy.
  5. Newsletter development – obviously Reg is struggling to balance too many spinning plates and regular communication with supporters has fallen by the wayside. If you would like to help Reg and Amy develop regular monthly newsletters please contact us via email.
  6. Supplies for Rose Stein Elementary – Reg is working with a principal of a reopened Title 1 elementary in Lakewood named; Rose Stein. The school needs classroom books, library books, PE equipment and Art supplies before August 2017. We are collaborating with the Jeffco Schools Foundation and they have set up a website to list specific school needs. Click on: https://loveourschools.communityfunded.net/, then on the right side you will see lists of schools and needs. Rose Stein is listed more than once…please donate directly here.

*The picture is of the empty library at Rose Stein elementary…Lakewood Connects is partnering with the Jeffco Schools Foundation to get the supplies this school needs before August 2017! Please Help!

The Power of Partnership and Jeffco Human Services

In every County in the U.S. there is a Government office that coordinates services for people in need that live there. Lakewood, Colorado lies in Jefferson County, Colorado. Jefferson is the most populous county in the state with over 550,000 residents. With so many residents you can imagine there are more folks with needs than any county in the state of Colorado living here.

Human Services employs hundreds and manages over 50 programs under 6 main divisions. These programs serve thousands of needs from ageing to infants and from homelessness to foster care. The work is daunting and the people who serve here are all compassionate servants.

Nationally Jeffco Human Services is known for ground breaking work with the Jeffco Prosperity Project.

http://jeffco.us/human-services/community-initiatives/jeffco-prosperity-project/, The Prosperity Project is a ground breaking program linking nonprofits and agencies of every kind in order to target, guide, mentor and support over 50 families from crushing need to sustainable life success.

Under the leadership of Human Services around 2006 the Power of Partnership was created. The Power of Partnership (PoP) is comprised of county Human Services employees, nonprofit leaders and faith leaders who work together to serve needs in the county. PoP has a steering committee and holds bi-monthly meetings designed to improve networking, awareness and collaboration for serving needs together. That’s right, the government, churches and nonprofits work together! Brilliant!

In April, Reg took a part time contact with the county to help reinvigorate PoP. He will be focused on rebuilding the church connection database, expanding church involvement and supporting a new newsletter to better communicate “win” stories, expand awareness of partnership opportunities and tools and make connections in order to grow the network. Reg’s work with PoP will enhance the impact and recognition of Lakewood Connects in the city of Lakewood and across the County. This is a great opportunity to link Lakewood Connects with Countywide impact!

The Lakewood Faith Coalition and Title 1 Elementary Schools

When Reg is introduced by city or school district leaders he’s usually called the; “Director of the Lakewood Faith Coalition.” What does the Faith Coalition mean in the city of Lakewood or in Jefferson County?

As a City Connector facilitating opportunities to mobilize churches and church members for effective service in the community the Faith Coalition is a primary connection point for achieving this mobilization.

The Lakewood Faith Coalition is a movement, an aim and an organization that provides an effective process of connection. As a movement the coalition is something of a miracle! Reg leads a Steering Committee comprised of faith leaders, school leaders and members of the city of Lakewood’s staff. These committee members are leaders from various faith heritages and government working together as one!

The steering committee: Gregg Moss serves on staff at Mile Hi church of Mind and Science. Drew Ross is senior pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran. Larry Linsenmaier is senior pastor of Grace Covenant church. Mike Fletcher is deacon at Christ on the Mountain Catholic church. Mary Ruther serves as the Strategic Initiatives Director for the city of Lakewood. Brett Berninger serves as director of Lakewood’s family services. Sean Kovar is director of the Title 1 family engagement liaisons at the Jeffco School District. Perry Richards is the president of the LDS church in Lakewood.

The fact that this diverse group exists at all is reason enough to be impressed! The vision of the coalition is that when we work together opportunities multiply to do and accomplish more than any one entity can accomplish by themselves! Impossible becomes possible when we work together! The steering committee models the “silo” and division busting philosophy that we hope grows throughout the entire faith community in Lakewood.

As an entity that is moving in the city of Lakewood, Colorado the Faith Coalition is aimed at a certain point of service: Title 1 elementary schools. Title 1 is a federal designation that both identifies schools with great need who receive special federal funds to support programs and services to help the students and families achieve success.

For the Faith Coalition the philosophy behind this aim is critical. It is our belief that when you transform the lives of elementary school students you change the future culture of a community. These Title 1 schools are located in the most under-served neighborhoods in the city. If the efforts of the Faith Coalition can lead to positive change in the lives of hundreds of students then it is possible to transform whole areas of our city that are now struggling in many ways. This isn’t a Band-Aid social program but instead a long term commitment to change the future by strategically investing in a key population.

There are currently 6 Title 1 elementary schools in Lakewood and there will be 8 in 2017-18. Our main goal in each school for 2017-8 will be to develop a Support Team comprised of local church leaders, neighborhood association leaders and other volunteers who would serve as a group to meet regularly with school leaders to discuss the needs of that school. These Support Teams now exist in 4 of the current 6 schools and are working together to offer after school tutoring, program support for school events, backpack food programs and teacher appreciation efforts.

Long term these Support Teams will seek effective ways to serve that school. The first priority of each Support Team is to develop relationships and build trust. These relationships and trust will lead us to effective plans and programs in the future! Look for news and updates on the Lakewood Faith Coalition Support Teams in blog posts in the future.

*The picture is principal Esther Valdez of recently remodeled and reopened Rose Stein Elementary, our 7th Title 1 school in Lakewood. She is standing in the empty library. The Faith Coalition is partnering with businesses and other groups to get books before August 2017.

Law Enforcement, Faith and a new Therapist Network

A least three times a year the Lakewood Church Network meets for a lunch meeting. The lunch is designed to provide food, fellowship and focus on information pertinent to leveraging our churches to improve the community in some way. February 22 the Lakewood Church Network lunch was hosted by the Wednesday class at Lakewood Church of Christ. The meal was incredible, the fellowship energized and the presentation powerful!

Presenting to the faith leaders, nonprofit directors and citizens assembled that day was new Lakewood Police Chief, Dan McCasky. Dan introduced himself to the audience then spent 30 minutes offering connection and partnership plans so the faith community can better serve the city in partnership with law enforcement. Police ride-alongs, participation in safety summits, partnership serving the homeless, keeping dialogue open with neighbors to improve the connectivity of our neighborhoods…safety and peace is born in partnership and it’s everyone’s responsibility. It was great to feel connected to law enforcement and be invited into making our city safer.

After the lunch meeting several Christian therapists met with a group of Lakewood Church Network pastors to discuss the formation of the “Trusted Health Network” (THN). The network will be formed by and for therapists in Lakewood who will then prepare a directory of services, a list of therapists, classes, conferences and other support tools churches can use to connect strategically to therapeutic help for members or the people they serve in the community.

The directory was especially interesting for the pastors because it can be a tool for linking specific member counseling needs to the best therapist. The directory will include information on location, billing and areas of counseling expertise. All therapists listed will be referred and accepted professionally by the THN and will have reference information from churches and anonymous individuals who have enjoyed that therapists services.

The Lakewood Church Network is building networks upon networks in all areas of our world. The partnership forged in the connections between churches, public servants and therapists represents an example of how unity in one area breeds connection, partnership and unity across an entire city.

 

Partnership, pastors and prayer

For over 12 years a group of pastors, faith leaders and the directors of area nonprofits from around Lakewood, Colorado have met monthly to pray. The very fact that a group of pastors from different Jesus tribes (denominations) have been meeting to pray every month may sound trite or tremendous, it all depends on your perspective of faith and prayer, but this time of holy conversation has connected us, grounded us and transformed us. Anything good happening in Lakewood has been birthed here.

Central to the purpose of faith is the responsibility to create and sustain positive change in the world around us. That change begins inside an individual as they strive to build hope or learn how to live hope or both. Where does hope come from? Prayer is the single greatest tool related to faith hope for at its core hope isn’t a fact or a feeling it is an unshakable faith that tomorrow will be better and that we have a promise and a pathway to that better tomorrow.

The Lakewood Church Network devotion to prayer has made love tangible for thousands of people in the city of Lakewood. Love is, after all, the greatest command of Jesus (Matthew 22:34-40) and the proof of our true allegiance to Him (John 13:35-35). Love is relationship and as relationship it is organic. Prayer grows relationship love as we gather to communicate to God and each other. When spiritual leaders connect to each other in prayer a unique and profound kind of love happens – unity!

January 17, 2017 the Lakewood Church Network gathered at Colorado Christian University with their new president, Dr. Don Sweeting, Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul, CCU campus pastor David Jongeward, several CCU professors and student leaders and dozens of faith leaders from across the city. Over 50 of us huddled to seek God for the city together.

Unity is no small thing in faith and it is an even more important thing when you consider the world we live in today. Jesus ends his ministry the night before the cross praying for it (John 17). This final request of Jesus is the most important work of people of faith today because together we can accomplish what alone we cannot. The fact of “together” is the key ingredient in transforming the world in positive ways.

Too often we set out to change the world before we have humbled ourselves and sought personal change in prayer. Prayer is confession, openness and the acceptance of others wholeheartedly. That’s where prayer has led us in Lakewood and it is our prayer that through prayer we will seek and find the greater good for the city together.

Scope of Lakewood Connects

Lakewood Church Network – Lakewood Faith Coalition – Lakewood City Connector

What is a “City Connector”? A City Connector builds relational bridges among vital community leaders in a defined geographic area in order to develop, support or sustain breakthrough service projects. These relational bridges are designed to link the faith community to government, business, school, nonprofit and neighborhoods to develop collaborative partnerships aimed at serving the greater good in the city.

Philosophy

Faith Networks: The key to developing these partnerships are various faith communities working together. The positive impact of a faith community (church) is increased when they unite their leadership, values, desire for service and membership with other faith communities for the purpose of doing good. The aim of Lakewood Connects is to meet, connect to, link together and support faith communities in Lakewood so that together they form a resource for volunteer service and positive impact in the city.

 

Networks of Networks: When faith communities are linked together then that network can connect to leaders in government, school, neighborhood, business and nonprofits to serve the city together. This merging of service resources creates exponential positive impact.

History

Background to City Connecting:  Lakewood Connects represents two church networks; The Lakewood Church Network and the Lakewood Faith Coalition.

Lakewood Church Network (LCN) – The LCN was formed in 2005 and currently 30 churches are involved meeting regularly for prayer, vision synergy and service collaboration. The LCN has partnered with government, schools, neighborhood and nonprofits to develop breakthrough projects including elementary school facility restoration, afterschool tutoring programs, a severe weather shelter network for the homeless and a collaborative health project serving underserved neighborhoods in the city.

 

The Lakewood Faith Coalition (LFC) – In 2014 Lakewood Mayor and Reg Cox formed the Faith Coalition. The LFC connects all faith groups in the city (approx.70) merging the Evangelical/Protestant Christian community with the Catholic, LDS, Mind and Science, Muslim and Buddhist faith traditions.

The LFC is led by a steering group of leaders from several different faith communities who formalized a mission and policy in order to develop and manage collaborative service projects in the city. The LFC is focused on serving Title 1 Elementary schools in Lakewood (8 schools) by building, supporting and maintaining Support Teams for each school.  These teams are comprised of local community and faith leaders who will develop relationships, explore needs and build service projects for each school.

Reg Cox – City Connector

City Connection – Reg and Lakewood Connects function as a connector between needs in the city and organizations and individuals who have available resources of time, energy and money. Lakewood Connects bridges the divide separating groups, needs and resources and helps guide committed groups to service success.

  1. Lakewood Church Network – Each week Reg meets with pastors and nonprofit leaders from Lakewood, Colorado. The purpose of these meetings is to: mentor, consult, support and guide these churches and nonprofits to collaborate, partner, sustain outward community service vision and maintain a positive collegial relationship with city and county government, local businesses and one another. In addition to these individual meetings Reg plans and communicates a prayer event monthly (second Tuesday) and a three times a year lunch meeting that features pertinent information and networking opportunities for these church and nonprofit leaders. Reg also maintains the church network communication for events, needs and service opportunities.
  2. Lakewood Faith Coalition – Reg leads the faith coalition steering committee meetings which meets six times a year. The faith coalition steering committee is focused on growing, supporting and sustaining Support Teams for each Title 1 elementary school in Lakewood. To support this effort Reg works with the City Manager and Mayor offices, school district leadership and other leaders from the community to develop and support success in faith coalition projects. Reg also leads faith coalition communication and vision processes that will aim the growth of the coalition in the future.
  3. City Connector Activities – As a “connector” Reg links various nonprofits, community leaders and citizens together to support existing or future projects for good in the city. In order to facilitate this “connecting” Lakewood Connects is a member of various chamber of commerce groups, school district and city committees and attend meetings and events sponsored by various groups in the larger Lakewood, Colorado community. Reg meets regularly with the city Mayor and leaders in the City Manager’s office.

July to October 2016 -Activities report

Here’s a more detailed report of updates, activities and growth in La

1. Lakewood Connects Board: Lakewood Connects board; Paul and Audrey Crabtree, Chris and Lisa Welsh, Gary and Patti Southern, Diane Rhodus, Don Scanga, Amy and Reg Cox.

2. 501c3 Non-profit status: We started the Lakewood Connects non-profit certification process and registered the name; “Lakewood Connects” with the state.

3. Lakewood Connects mission: “Building collaborative service initiatives by merging leaders in churches, schools, businesses, nonprofits and neighborhoods for the greater good of the community.” This mission will begin appearing on Lakewood Connects information.

4. Title 1 elementary schools: In August Reg/Lakewood Faith Coalition met with leaders from churches, school district and the city to launch a new initiative linking faith communities to Title 1 elementary schools. Each school will have a Support Team for dialogue and improvement plans.

5. Whiz Kids: The afterschool tutoring program; Whiz Kids, has started up for its 5th school year in Lakewood helping connect kids and families to support, encouragement and the love of Christ. The Lakewood Church Network supports 9 sites in the city reaching over 150 kids.

6. Fall Festival: Reg organized a festival for 200+ folks in the Green Mountain neighborhood 9/25 which linked the local neighborhood association, apartments, school PTA and Lakewood church of Christ together for an afternoon of kid and family friendly activities.

7. Homeless families: Reg worked with County Human Services and a local non-profit to organize a fundraiser for the Family Severe Weather Shelter. The shelter operates out of a local church during winter months to house homeless families. Funds raised will further this good work.

8. Jeffco Human Services: Supporting Human Services director Lynn Johnson as she and her team establishes; “Thrives”, an organization linking all non-profit, church and government “service” entities in into a collaborative partnership. Reg’s role is to link faith communities to this effort.

9. Pastoring Pastors: Developing/growing relationships with dozens of pastors to support and nurture their personal and professional life through one-on-one discussions.

10. Speaking Engagement: Presented at Abilene Christian University’s “Cross Training” camp in Sipapu, New Mexico in July.

11. Speaking Engagement: Presented at the Colorado Christian University’s “Religious Freedom” Symposium 8/25

12. Speaking Engagement: Presented at a family camp in Felton, California Labor Day weekend

13. Jeffco Prays: Reg is co-chair of an organization that holds a yearly breakfast (March 2017) designed to nurture, support and expand prayer in Jefferson, County.

14. Upcoming – Lakewood Connects Information and Fundraising breakfast: 11/17 Lakewood Connects will host a breakfast to seek new financial partners from the business and city leadership. Reg is asking several local leaders to be “Event Hosts” to invite potential partners who would be excited about the mission and activities of Lakewood Connects.

15. Upcoming – Lakewood Church Information and Partnership lunch: In early December Reg and Amy will host a partnership lunch at Lakewood church of Christ designed to thank our supporters from 2016, share some success stories from the year and ask for financial help in 2017.

kewood Connects: