CFL’s Story: Past, Present, and Future

I. The Past

The Center for Faithful Leadership continues a tradition dating back to Hope’s incorporation in 1866: “to provide comprehensive courses of study… enabling students to… prepare for positions of leadership in the nation and the world.”

To enable students to prepare for positions of leadership is one reason President James Bultman created the Center for Faithful Leadership in 2005.

From its beginning, however, the vision for CFL went beyond offering courses of study. Instead, the center has focused on providing experiential opportunities that highlight several elements of Hope’s current mission, specifically:

  • Preparing students for lives of leadership and service
  • Through academic and co-curricular programs
  • Of recognized excellence
  • In the context of the historic Christian faith.

CFL’s first program was academic — leadership courses and a minor in Organizational Leadership Practice (2007). The Leadership minor has helped students prepare for work by discerning, developing, and deploying their gifts and calling and transitioning from college.

CFL’s second program was an all-college mentoring program, matching alumni and friend practitioners with students.  At one time the mentoring program had 50 student-mentor pairs.  Due to resource constraints, we offered our mentoring program only to those students who declare the minor.

These two programs taught us that co-curricular programs better reflect the mission of CFL and complement the Hope College experience.

II. The Present

From its beginning, CFL has focused on providing students opportunities to experience their faithful leadership potential.  Its first program was launched in 2007: an academic minor in Organizational Leadership Practice.

A student consulting business was added in 2010, followed by an entrepreneurship program in 2011.

We continue to take very seriously Max DePree’s words that preparation for leadership does not come from books.  We seek to launch students by co-creating work experiences.  That matter.

  • Our “Why?” is to to guide students, drawn to lead and serve, to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.
  • Our “How?” is experiential learning and mentoring.
  • Our “What?” is CFL Consulting and CFL Incubator and CFL Integrated Learning.

Boot Campers Fall 2014)

III. The Future

Our vision is to create an ecosystem for faithful entrepreneurial leadership; it is, ultimately, a vision for human flourishing or shalom.  We wish to be a “city on a hill” in terms of this vision but also a “mustard seed” planted among academic programs and departments at Hope College.




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