Statement of the Problem: An Argument for this Thesis Shakespeare penned, ‘and now my project comes to a head’1 whereby he was
describing the coalescing of a number of elements that gave shape to a particular moment of action. In the context of this thesis these elements are the problem that is being answered, the context by which the problem arose, the desired outcomes that surface as the problem is answered, and the research methods that were used to answer the problem. While the thesis in its first eight chapters will answer these questions, this short outline will answer these questions in, what is hoped, a concise and tactical way.
Statement of the Problem
The problem that this project addresses is how to create training classes that capture the theological, historical, and practical essence of the LFA movement and can be delivered in practical ways for its growth into the future.
Context of the Problem
LFA has become a national and international movement of urban reconciliation and redemption. Building on the ideas of people like Sam Shoemaker (Pittsburgh would become as know for God as it currently is for steel) and Ray Bakke (the whole gospel through the whole church for the whole city), and the practical expression of people like John Perkins (relocation, reconciliation, redistribution), LFA has become one of the leading urban movements in the world with work in over fifty cities in America and a number of cities internationally. Much of this growth has been due to the oral tradition that has been primarily carried by LFA’s founder, Reid Carpenter. Relying on his long experience in starting the first leadership foundation in Pittsburgh, his extensive relational network, and remarkable gift of communication, Reid has singlehandedly raised up a number of local leadership foundations. With this growth has come the ever present reality that if this movement is to sustain itself into the future three things will need to happen: an agreed to discipline of what are the theological, historical, and practical ideas that shape this unique movement; the oral tradition of LFA will needed to be complemented by a written tradition; others
will need to be trained to assist Reid in the task of raising up other leadership foundations. If these three realities are answered, the future for LFA is unlimited.
The following outcomes are anticipated as the results of this thesis on behalf of the LFA movement:
1. The development of two classes, currently named the God’s Playground:
Seeing the City through the Eyes of LFA that capture the theological, historical, and practical applications of developing local leadership
2. The development and implementation of an annual LFA training institute around the content of these two classes.
3. The adoption of these two classes into the Bakke Graduate University’s course offerings where LFA colleagues would be allowed to pursue a formal master’s and/or doctoral degree while studying how to develop a local leadership foundation.
The following methods were employed to develop these two classes:
1. Oral interviews with LFA’s mother’s and fathers.
2. An online survey assessing current LFA personnel to determine the critical issues that need more education to effectively develop local leadership foundations. Regarding this assessment, twenty-one questions were created to survey the current accredited leadership foundations to learn their training needs. Of the sixteen accredited leadership foundations, eleven responded. Those results were tabulated (see appendix A).
3. The development and implementation of an LFA training weekend where the content of these courses are delivered, and surveys are used to evaluate the effectiveness of the weekend.
4. Historical research on the seven historical figures that provided the largest amount of input into the LFA movement.