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

To reflect our mission we co-create work experiences that matter.  Why?

We believe God created us to work and to do good works.  To be faithful in God’s “mustard seed” kingdom we are to lead by being light and salt and yeast, changing the world one relationship at a time.  To work and do good works, then, requires preparing for work, which requires an understanding of our gifts and calling, which requires work experiences that matter!

We believe such experiences consist of small interdisciplinary teams and cohorts working on real-world problems with coaches, mentors, and subject matter experts.  Research bears this out.  At present, we co-create such experiences through two interdisciplinary co-curricular programs:

III. The Future

As in 1866, we believe our role is to enable students “to… prepare for positions of leadership in the nation and the world.”  True to our roots of the historic Christian faith, our vision is to be an authentic, growing community of people who seek to help others live holistically fulfilling lives of leadership and service — to be light and salt and yeast.  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 — our tribe! — 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 light and salt in whatever roles and challenges they are gifted for and called to — excited about what they are doing and drawing others to their tribes — our extended tribe!

Thus we value experiences that are:

  • Co-creative
  • Co-curricular
  • Community-oriented
  • Effectual
  • Impacting
  • Inductive
  • Inspiring
  • Integrative
  • Inter-disciplinary
  • Inter-generational

Our strategy, then, is to bootstrap, build a tribe, and earn our discretionary resources by engaging our alumni and friends who have wisdom from years of experience as practitioners and putting them to work with our students.  We grow life-long covenantal relationships and pay people in meaning.  Here are three blueprints for our future:

Although we have shortened our name to CFL, our goal for CFL Consulting, CFL Incubator, CFL Mentoring,… is still the same: to be faithful because God is faithful.

To learn more about CFL, click here.


Co-creating work experiences.  That matter.

41 Graves Place, VanZoeren Hall 182
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