The New Year In HLI By Jesslyn Craner


Every new year is an exciting time, where we prepare for new adventures with expectation and hope. For the Heroic Leadership Institute, we have hope that the new year will bring more opportunities, exciting travels, and further growth in each of the students’ personal relationships with God. While the first semester of HLI primarily focused on what Mark Warner calls our first order calling, personal spiritual formation and healing from the past; this next semester, we will concentrate on our second order calling, evangelism and preparation for the future God has planned for each of us.

As far as Evangelism goes, we have been training in small quantities, such as our trips to serve in other churches we’ve visited and conversations we’ve had with others we meet during the program, but this new year offers bigger opportunities. In February, the HLI group in Kansas City will split up and attend two youth retreats: Whiteout and Reverb. These trips will give us chances to teach and pray for the teens who attend. In March, we make the international trip to Ukraine for three weeks, which everyone is looking forward to. Even weekly volunteering at the Hope Faith shelter has begun to grow into times we can minister to others. Through the next semester, I hope everyone will find the confidence to be open about their faith and personal testimony to those God leads us to.

When HLI ends, our prayer is that God will show us the unique ways He wants us to serve, steward, and progress. Some students will go to college, others will work. A few will volunteer, a few will intern; at programs we’ve encountered, other churches, or even here again to lead the next round of HLI students. To prepare for life after HLI, we are reading and gaining experience through the streams we have entered-- Multimedia, Worship, Social Justice/ Nonprofit, Church Planting/ Missions, and Youth Ministry. In putting concentrated intent toward one of these, we will learn to use our gifts and talents to serve God’s kingdom.


The next few months will fly by, and we all know it. We have become more aware of how we can uphold each other in respect and love, and to appreciate the time we have left all together. Everyone involved in HLl regards our group as a family. As would be expected, we have inside jokes, familiar games we play, a coffee shop we frequent, and a familiarity with each other grown out of trust and fellowship. This new year, we expect God to bring us closer together and teach us patience, courage, and discernment so we may stay connected through Christ’s love.

Mary McKellick