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The mission of CFL is to guide students, drawn to lead and serve, to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling through experiential learning and mentoring.

Experiential Learning + Practitioner Mentoring

Short Introduction

We are students and practitioners.  We believe leadership is integrity with our values and gifts.  Our values include taking the time to understand the needs of others and meeting those needs.  Therefore, our “Golden Circle” looks like this:

Our WHY is to help students discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling, and transition from college to a life of leadership and service.

Our HOW is integrating Experience Learning and Mentoring.

Our WHAT, then, is CFL Consulting, CFL Incubator, and CFL Integrated Learning.  In the former two, we hire students and put them on interdisciplinary teams to develop and validate ideas.  We also hire experienced practitioners with proven track records to coach and mentor our students while they work on those teams solving problems for themselves and others.

The result is transforming experiences.  We help you discover your leadership potential!


Hope College CFL logo

Long Introduction

God created us to work and to do good works.  To work and do good works requires discerning, developing, and deploying our gifts and calling so that in whatever we do, we are light and salt in the world.  That means we are to reclaim the very goodness of the right relationships God gave us when he created the world.  Those are work experiences that matter!


Clara and Liping at StartGarden (2)

That Matter.

Our “Why?” is to help students holistically flourish.  Flourishing, work, and college experiences are related: people who are engaged in a career are 4.6x more likely to experience well-being, and people who engage their strengths are 6.0x more likely to be engaged in a career.  (See below.)

Fathom 3

(See Fathom.)


Our “How?” is that we invest in students.  We uniquely combine action learning with coaching and mentoring focused on knowing as we are known and students’ long-term fulfillment and well-being.

Herman Miller team


We complement Hope’s high quality liberal arts-oriented academic program.   We are students and practitioners.  We believe leadership is integrity with our values and gifts.  Our values include taking the time to understand the needs of others and meeting those needs.

Matt Rutter

(See Kingdom Paradigm.)


We strive to be a revolving door between the classroom and the community.  We go out and the community comes in.


We begin with who we are, who we know, and what we collectively know.  (Read more here.)

grace theisen

(See Songs Against Slavery.)


We do things to be light and salt.  The hope of shalom is fundamental to our faith.  This motivates us to be world-changers one relationship at a time, beginning with our students.


We start learning when we try to solve relevant real-world problems, instead of beginning with memorizing general principles and theories and abstract concepts.  (Read more here.)

Sam Tzou

(See Ring Cam.)


We seek to be light and salt by seeking our holy discontent and leveraging it.

We know that without vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).  Our vision is to become an authentic, growing community of people who help others live holistically fulfilling lives of leadership and service — to be light and salt.  We want students not only to remain part of our community by becoming coaches, clients, donors, mentors, and subject matter experts, but also to help us expand our community by helping others discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling through the work we do and connections we make.

How does this feel?  There are few experiences as fulfilling as seeing a person excited about who they are and what they can do.

What does this look like?  Imagine filling the largest ballroom at the Amway Grand Hotel or all of 8th Street in Holland on a summer Thursday night or some other large venue to showcase and encourage young people being salt and light in whatever roles and challenges they are gifted for and called to!  Or imagine CFL Consulting and CFL Incubator project leader meetings filled with CFL Consulting and CFL alums!

How do we measure it?  Our metrics are authentic relationships with our alums, clients, coaches, staff, and students.  We pay in meaning.

It begins early.  Our vision for students is that they all have an experiential learning and mentoring experience by their third year of college.

Reed Swift


We provide students with experiences that connect ideas across disciplines abut also faith and life and work and life.


We seek to cross social-economic boundaries.


We offer students from all academic programs opportunities to work on inter-disciplinary teams to help people solve relevant problems and launch ideas.


Inter-generational — coaching and mentoring!

This is the heart of what we do.  We provide students with coaches and mentors to help them discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling while they are working in teams and cohorts.  Why?

“The odds of thriving in all areas of well-being are 4.6x higher if [we are] engaged at work” (Gallup).

The odds of being engaged at work are…

2.6x higher if college prepared students well for life outside of college

2.2x higher if students had mentors who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams

2.0x higher if at least one professor made them excited about learning

1.9x higher if professors cared about students as people

1.8x higher if students worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete  (Gallup)


One-page b-plan authors

Student Led, Practitioner Coached

Preparation for leadership does not come from books. Books sometimes give you an insight or an outline, but real preparation consists of hard work and wandering in the desert, much feedback, much forgiveness, and the yeast of failure” (Max DePree in Leadership Jazz).

See our coaches:

CFL Consulting Coaches

CFL Incubator Coaches

Work Experiences.

 CFL Consulting 2000x2000

CFL Consulting Helping students help organizations.  Students work with peers, coaches, and subject matter experts on project teams to help clients develop their ideas.  To start, students enroll in “boot camp.”  To prepare, students enroll in LDRS 291: Becoming an Influential Leader and LDRS 292: The Trusted Adviser.  One result of CFL Consulting is that employers invest in our alums.

CFL Incubator 2000x2000

CFL Incubator   Helping students help themselves.  Students work with a cohort of entrepreneurial students, coaches and advisors to test and develop their own ideas.  “Boot camps” and 3×3 competitions are a way to start; to be eligible for HEI, students must enroll in LDRS 231: Leading the Start-Up Process.  We specialize in Customer Discovery, with with good results.

Matt Gira

CFL Integrated Learning — Experiential coursework and mentoring for all interested students to help them discern their gifts and calling.

LDRS 201: Introduction to Inspirational Leadership (2 credits)

LDRS 231: Leading the Start-Up Process (4 credits)

LDRS 291: Becoming an Influential Leader (2 credits)

LDRS 292: The Trusted Adviser (2 credits)

EagleCrest Sutton Alaska

(Photo credit: Eaglecrest Alaska Missions)

IDIS 495: Thriving in Transitions — Alaska May Term (4 credits)

CFL Mentoring — Helping students discern, deploy, and develop their gifts and calling offering student the opportunities to informally meet one-on-one and in small groups of students and practitioners.

For a brief history of CFL, click here.

To God be the glory!


41 Graves Place, VanZoeren Hall 182

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