Equipping the Next Generation

The LECNA Fellows Program is a year-long leadership development experience organized around vocation and calling, sustainable leader development, and visionary organizational leadership designed to equip the next generation of leaders for Lutheran higher education, congregations, and church agencies. The program includes three intensive retreats that are the foundation for a webinar series and eight hours of individual executive coaching. Fellows put what they learn into practice by developing a personal integrated leader model and completing a visionary leadership project within their current organization, role, and context.

Who We Are

The Lutheran Education Conference in North America, a pan-Lutheran organization comprising the colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, is able to offer this service to the church through the generous support of the ELCA, the LCMS, and the Kern Family Foundation.

Visionary Organizational Leadership

Fellows develop skills appropriate for senior leaders in the areas of strategy, planning and other relevant topics.   

Lutheran Identity


Leadership is viewed through the Lutheran theological understanding of vocation.

Sustainable Leader Development

Leadership is viewed as an ongoing process of formation and capacity building.  

Program Foundations

The foundation for the Fellows experience is Martin Luther’s doctrine of vocation and calling. Fellows are challenged to reflect on their personal calling, strengths, and values as they develop a personal integrated leader model. Participants explore the principles and practices of visionary organizational leadership, a perspective that focuses on the vocational calling of their institution or congregation. This includes an exploration of economics, entrepreneurial thinking, human flourishing, and community service.

A Record of Success

This new offering builds on nearly two decades of successful senior leadership development for Lutheran college and universities. Since 2001, the LECNA Fellows (formerly Thrivent Fellows) Program has served over 200 emerging and accomplished leaders; We are very pleased that twenty-seven Fellows have been promoted to presidencies, thirty-two to vice presidencies and twenty-nine to the director or dean level.Two former Fellows are currently ELCA synodical bishops.