The Garden Project:

It’s More Than a Program. It’s a Developmental Experience.

Through biblical and modern stories, familiar images, and songs that help commit the leadership lessons to memory, Freedom to Lead’s pioneering initiative – called The Garden Project – cultivates leaders in grassroots storycentric communities to become competent, Christ-centered leaders.

This page contains a synopsis for each of the eight leadership development modules contained in The Garden Project.

Leadership for a Healthy Church

This module exposes the unhealthy leadership behaviors, beliefs, and worldviews that are hindering the quality and growth of churches and ministries. A leadership approach that uses people to serve the leader’s agenda is compared to a Christ-centered leadership approach that cultivates people and trusts God for the results. Selected gospel narratives reveal Jesus’ leadership priorities that include meeting people’s deepest needs, cultivating others to reach their highest potential, and calling His followers to serve others as He had served them.

View/download a sample.

Ministry Planning

This module builds upon Leadership For a Healthy Church to construct a ministry strategy. Key elements include: (1) developing a strategy with the whole Gospel in mind, (2) cultivating people as a strategic component of healthy ministry, and (3) identifying mission. The module highlights three tools that leaders can use to prioritize cultivating people while executing mission: (a) modeling and teaching, (b) allocating resources, and (c) rewarding behavior that advances the ministry’s mission and values.


Although the term “mentoring” does not appear in the Bible, principles and practices of mentoring can be observed in Jesus’ ministry as he prepared the disciples for their future leadership. This module advocates and applies three essential mentoring principles. First, effective mentoring is based upon a relationship between mentor and mentee. Second, mentors who listen responsibly and ask good questions foster self-discovery learning for the mentee. Third, mentees benefit most from mentors who share their own story with authenticity.

Leading Change

The unfolding drama of redemption is a story of continual change; therefore, guiding God’s people through change is a fundamental competency for Christ-centered leaders. This module equips leaders to understand and navigate the sense of loss that people experience as they encounter change. In light of the typical resistance to needed change, principles for leading individuals and collectives through the change process are taught and applied.

View/download a sample.


Christ-centered leaders are called to be peace- makers who demonstrate God’s commitment to redeem conflict. This module presents biblical illustrations to understand how one’s own story fits into God’s ultimate plan of redemption. Principles of peacemaking are reviewed, and competencies for crafting a culture of peace are learned. The peacemaking leader represents God’s continuing redemptive cycle of confession, forgiveness, and renewal in the world today.

Spiritual Leadership

Christ-centered leaders need an intentional strategy to cultivate their own spiritual growth and the spiritual lives of others. This module emphasizes the foundational principle that spiritual life and growth result from the dynamic interplay of God’s faithfulness and our obedience. Based on this principle, five “streams” of Christ-centered spiritual growth from the Scriptures and subsequent history are taught and applied: (1) the new life, (2) the abiding life, (3) the empowered life, (4) the compassionate life, and (5) the witnessing life.

Leading Teams

Based on the Holy Trinity’s model of teamwork, this module teaches that serving together within ministries and across ministries has potential for growth toward deeper Christian maturity and greater kingdom impact. Key competencies including mission, roles, facilitation, and decision-making are applied to lead teams.

Stewardship and Sustainability

Followers of Jesus Christ are entrusted by God to steward what He owns. This module teaches ministry leaders to steward local resources toward the fulfillment of Jesus’ final command to be his witnesses locally and beyond (Acts 1:8). Empowering and mobilizing the local church is a critical factor for long-term ministry sustainability.

The Garden Project September 9, 2016