Although the early versions of this site were published in 2000, the expansion project that led to the 2012 launch edition started in 2007. In that five-year period, many have helped with various stages.

I am thankful to Johnson University for granting a partial sabbatical in 2007 which allowed me to build the site foundations. In 2011, they provided additional teaching assistants to help with the extensive data entry. Several Johnson colleagues gave enthusiastic moral support. My students, especially those in the leadership classes, eagerly anticipated the final product, and offered helpful suggestions based on early paper versions of the resource guides.

My colleagues at Harding School of Theology consistently promoted and generated excitement among church leaders nationwide for the eventual release. They also joined me in building support among the Church Leaders Resource Network and the Shepherd Network. I also enjoyed the support of many current and former students.

The brothers of the Hope Network Mentoring Partners provided constant encouragement, especially during our annual retreats. Several are authors themselves, and identified first hand with the tiresome “alone work” inherent in writing projects.

I am also grateful to the coordinators of the Pepperdine University Bible Lectures and the Lipscomb University Summer Celebration for opening slots on these programs and providing suitable venues for the public launch.

I must mention the earnest and prayerful support of several friends at the Laurel Church of Christ, especially my Heart-to-Heart group. Also, I was uplifted by several friends from the Academy for Spiritual Formation (#27 Bon Secours) who prayed and followed the occasional updates.

A special word of thanks to my assistants. In the embryonic stages of the project, this included Carissa (Rowe) Dumond and Amber (Brookman) Strozyk. As the site progressed, Lauren (Wingfield) Shelnutt worked tirelessly for three years on multiple dimensions of researching, organizing, coding, proofing, archiving images, etc. In the final year, I was blessed by Deanna Walter, Katie Rittersdorf, and Jessie Ragan. These three became “the team.” They embraced the opportunity to learn web development, and provided competent assistance. A seasoned professor once advised that teaching assistants are usually smarter than their professors, it’s just that the profs know a little more. This is certainly the case for me. I could not have done this project without them, and continue to benefit from their help.

And then finally, and most importantly, is the wholehearted support of my family. My wife, Ann, has been a cheerleader for this and every ambition and accepted the sacrifices inherent in my choice to engage demanding serving roles. In recent years, she has accepted my obsession with the project, being especially understanding of the late nights and long weekends when I was glued to the computer. Not only has she not complained, but has been very enthusiastic and entrepreneurial, even helping with the arduous task of coding and data entry. All of this is alongside her challenging work as a healthcare professional. Now we move on to getting her web project off and running. I am also blessed with two wonderful daughters. Just thinking of them makes me smile. While in these last few years they have increasingly grown into their own busy and happy adult lives, they also accepted my commitment to this project, and I am grateful.

All of the above represent God’s special works of grace in my life. Together they have helped make it possible for me to complete and dedicate this site to church leaders around the world who will be equipped for greater effectiveness.

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