How Parents Can Influence the Faith of Their Teenagers

About 60% of kids raised in the church leave during the college years. Father of four and author Dan Dupee explores this phenomena in his book “It’s Not Too Late: The Essential Part You Play In Shaping Your Teen’s Faith.” He looks at three opportunities that can help parents continue to be influential to their teen’s faith.

Confront Myths

Teens tend to give off the “I need you but I don’t want to need you” or “I love you but sort of hate you” attitude. In reality, Dan reminds parents that kids are always looking towards their guardians, even during college. Just as Jesus looked to his father, parents matter.

Create Opportunities

Parents make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Dan created a list of way to create opportunities for your children within the messes and mistakes parents make. Even with imperfections that lead to suffering, we experience God’s true and beautiful grace.

Stay With It 

Entrepreneurs constantly experience triumphs and trials, they experiences periods of anger and periods of love for their program, business, or organization. Likewise, a parent’s relationship with their child will go through highs and lows. Even when they make choices that can’t be taken back, they can be forgiven.

Lastly, Dan reminds us that, “Our kids needs us to hang in there with them and invite others into the fray.”

Dan’s book is available at Hearts and Minds Books. Order a copy today!

The Role of the Local Church in Urban Economic Renewal

If you missed Jubilee Professional 2016 or want to relive our speakers’ insightful talks, we are making all the talks available on our blog!

Pastor Christopher W. Brooks.

Pastor Chris Brooks is integrating entrepreneurship into his church in Detroit. But what does entrepreneurship have to do with the church?

Why should we concern ourselves with the question of urban economic warfare?

The Moral Mandate:

“But seek the welfare of the city, where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7

The Monetary Motivation:

The Shifting Demographic realities facing our nation, require that any institution who wishes to remain viable and relevant take seriously the need for communities, which have a high percentage of ethnic minorities, to be reached and resourced.

An Entrepreneurial Mindset: Not Just for the Entrepreneur

When you hear the term “entrepreneur,” thoughts of starting a business, or designing a new technology may come to mind.

While it’s true that those are the actions of entrepreneurs, the idea of having an entrepreneurial mindset applies to everyone—including you, your coworkers, and even your pastor.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t require you to run a startup company, it simply involves having innovative thoughts, and acting upon those thoughts. A person with an entrepreneurial mindset looks at their surroundings, and asks, what is it going to take to make this better, or how can I come up with ways to add value here? Then they pursue the necessary avenues to meet that need.

This mindset can be brought into any context, but it’s more than just about creating value—it’s also about valuing people.

As we make decisions throughout the day to create value, our world-view is a filter for those decisions; there is an ethic that guides a definition of the value we are looking to create. A biblical worldview calls us to value people as we work to create flourishing in the places we work, serve, and play.

Valuing people translates into recognizing the strengths and giftedness in oneself and others, which not only facilitates a solution to a problem, let’s say, but also contributes to human flourishing as a whole.

What does an entrepreneurial mindset look like in the arts? Working in the middle of a large corporation? As a retail manager? Leading a church?

Join 400 others who care about these questions and explore more about what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset at Jubilee Professional on Friday, February 19th in Pittsburgh.

Jubilee Professional is an annual gathering of marketplace, church, and nonprofit leaders who want to explore the profound connectedness of faith, work, art, and enterprise.

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Faith & Work Labs: The Question of Vocation

Last weekend on November 20-21, the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation hosted a gathering called Faith & Work Labs. This new initiative brought together over 40 theologians, pastors, and practitioners to participate in real dialogue around practical integration of Faith, Work, and Economics.

Sponsored in part by the Made to Flourish Network and the Kern Family Foundation, this event proved to be a powerful environment for the merging of those involved in different spheres of influence in our city.

Guest speaker Pastor Aaron Richardson from Detroit brought a richness to the day’s conversations as he shared about his experience in collaborating with churches and entrepreneurs in his city over the past 13 years.

Two local entrepreneurs had the opportunity to be featured as “case studies” for the day, as they each shared the complexities of a real-time business challenge they are facing. A panel of pastors, scholars, and  marketplace leaders responded to the cases, each bringing a valuable perspective that provided wisdom and encouragement to the entrepreneur facing the issue.

For the attendees, there was a great time of shared learning and conversation at each table as some presented their own challenges to their peers for discussion.

The day concluded with remarks from Steve Garber. He later reflected:

Pittsburgh has a long and unusual history of collaborative commitment to the city as a city, and today’s convening organization, the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, has led the way. They are taking the question of vocation seriously, understanding that a revitalized social ecology is dependent on a recovery of that rich vision of human life and labor that allows us to see beyond ourselves into the common good.

May their tribe be blessed, and their city prosper.


Check out our Facebook page for some great photos from Faith & Work Labs!

Check out the Washington Institute for more information on Steve Garber and what he is up to.

Photo Credit: Steve Garber

Building Capacity in Pittsburgh’s Nonprofits

While Pittsburgh continues to experience economic growth and entrepreneurial flourishing, there is a large segment of the population that is disconnected from the “renaissance” happening in the city.   Those people and places are largely the same ones that are served by the non-profit organizations in the Urban Leaders Project.

In January 2015 we created the Urban Leaders Project to give Christ-centered non-profit leaders an opportunity to sharpen their leadership and prepare their organizations for long-term effectiveness. The initial cohort, including 12 executive directors of Pittsburgh non-profits, participated in 5 months of teaching, coaching, and collaboration.

This offering seemed to strike a chord in the non-profit community, where leaders are eager to build capacity and cultivate professional community.

Word of mouth has already filled our next cohort, starting in January 2016, and we are thankful for the individuals and organizations that have sponsored leaders to participate in this initiative.

We are grateful to be able to serve godly leaders that are committed to making Pittsburgh more than just the “most livable city,” but a city known for God.

God’s Economy: A New Way To Think About Alleviating Poverty


This week PLF had the pleasure of partnering with the Acton Institute and Tugg Media for a screening of the award winning documentary, Poverty, Inc. The screening was followed by an informative time of Q&A with co-producer Mark Weber, to a sold-out crowd of 156 people. 

This documentary takes a critical look at the “poverty industry” and raises thoughtful questions on whether international aid is actually working to alleviate poverty.

The antithesis of traditional poverty media, this film elevates the world class endeavors of enterprising individuals in our countries and highlights the critical need to restore power in the hands of everyday people by democratizing access to networks of productivity and exchange, and by building the fundamental institutions of justice such as property rights, rule of law, and freedom. -Dr. Kinoti Meme

For PLF, the alleviation of poverty through job-creation and supporting entrepreneurship is very close to the heart of our own mission to equip, connect, and mobilize individuals and organizations in Pittsburgh to create a more robust and inclusive economy.

Poverty, Inc. illuminates the “business” of NGO’s and global aid organizations as they negatively impact the people in countries where they intend to help, creating unhealthy dependencies. Many insights of the film can be applied to our own cities where aid has become normative in vulnerable communities, causing a widening gap in the economic flourishing among all socio-economic groups.

The film creates a powerful awareness of the challenging realities that people face when trying to contribute meanigful work amidst an economic system that doesn’t fully recognize the value of the human person.  

How should we respond differently in the way we approach charity and poverty alleviation?

It’s time to recognize and seek the positive contributions that all citizens can make to the economy. Whether in Pittsburgh or abroad, we must work to foster an economic system that invites people across all socio economic strata to participate.

To arrange a viewing of this fantastic film, visit

The Most Important Lesson For The Next Generation of Leaders

The Rev. Sam Shoemaker once said, “The untapped conviction and belief in [Pittsburgh] is worth more to it than all the coal in the hills and all the steel in the mills. If we could train and mobilize that force, Pittsburgh would become the spiritual pilot plant for America.”

16489_994111810448_7939774702136935498_n-570x428This is how Lisa started her talk on the most important lesson for the next generation of leaders last Saturday morning for the Learning to Lead breakfast, organized by LC grad Doug Smith.

There are three marks of a great leader.

1.) Faithfulness (11:20)

Faithfulness in the small things will get you to where you want to go. Continue to be faithful about the things you are called to do.

2) Obedience and yieldedness (16:10)

This means you truly know what it take to submit. We are not doormats, but yield when it is the appropriate thing to do, and do it with a sense of grace and forbearance. All the plans in the world mean nothing unless you are yielded to God.

3.) Stewardship (19:10)

We were created by God to create. Stewardship means that we take our God-given gifts and use them for the greater good.

Imagine if all of us worked for the good of the cities around us. What would it look like if we understand that our whole work is heavenward offering?

You can listen to the podcast below, by visiting Doug Smith’s website, or listening to it on iTunes (Learning to Lead)

Episode #68: Lisa Slayton on Leadership


[box] Part of PLF’s calling is to invest in what being a great leader means. We offer programs such as the Leaders Collaborative and the Urban Leaders Project to address these questions.[/box]

[learn_more caption=”Leaders Collaborative”] The Leaders Collaborative is a leadership development program that utilizes teaching and community-building to help members gain clarity around stewarding their calling. Email Lisa Slayton if you are interested in this program.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Urban Leaders Project”] The Urban Leaders Project is a cohort-based program that offers non-profit leaders the unique opportunity to embolden vision and cultivate professional community through five months of teaching, coaching, and collaboration. Contact Herb Kolbe if you are interested in this program.[/learn_more]


Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club
Photo credit: Doug Smith

Gathering, Equipping, and Coaching at PLF with Terry Collier

Terry CollierOur friend and long-time board member, Terry Collier, finished his term on our board in June. Terry has been on the board since 1991, and we wanted to get some insight from him on where PLF has been and where we are going.

Emily: What motivated you to get involved with PLF?

Terry: My great motivation is to help people find their great purpose in service of God. God will ask what have you done with what I’ve called you to do, and I want Him to be able to say well done good and faithful servant. I believe it was Reid who once said, “God calls us for a purpose and a place.” I believe Reid has been very helpful in helping me identify my great purpose. It is easy to become very inward looking, and PLF forces you to keep your head up and looking around and finding out what God is doing in our city, in the country, and in the world. This awareness helps you serve with more vigor.

Emily: How have you seen PLF evolve over the years?

Terry: PLF from its beginning has gathered, equipped, and coached. We have worked with people and organizations to achieve the common good in accordance with Biblical principles. Over the years this has taken many forms. We have been led by Reid Carpenter, the great gatherer; John Stahl-Wert, the passionate equipper; and now by Lisa Slayton, the insightful coach.

Emily: How do you see Lisa’s role as the insightful coach impacting PLF?

Terry: Lisa is a good identifier of the strength in people, which helps them better perform in roles. By doing that, she’s hired fantastic staff and recruited board members who are insightful and brought success in the organizations. We haven’t forgotten that we still have to gather to raise money, but we still need to equip, educate, and coach people in doing something that they’ve learned. Then they will gather out of a sense of gratefulness. Gathering will raise money, but does not necessarily equip. She keeps her eyes open to what the Lord wants to do.

Emily: What advice do you have for PLF in the future?

Terry: As we move on we should be careful to keep prayer at the center of all the organization says and does. We need to remain faithful to the organization’s call and purpose and keep our communication clear and simple. We also need to approach our donors, those who serve, and those we serve with humility, clarity of expectations, faithfulness in delivery and a sense of gratefulness. PLF was created by Reid Carpenter as led by God. May we continue, such that the organization’s purpose is fulfilled.

Emily: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your experience and thoughts about PLF. What do you plan on doing next?

Terry: My focus is for the Homewood community. I attend Bethany Baptist church and serve on the leadership team. We are in the process of raising funds to build a new sanctuary to do more ministry in the community. Our focus is to work in the community, and I am doing a lot of what I was doing with PLF. I want to help kids in the community find their great purpose and connect them to the resources they need to do that.

Photo credits: Dollar Photo

What it Practically Looks Like to Follow Your Calling

Have you ever heard a talk about calling or vocation and then wondered how to even begin applying it to your life? The conversation on calling and vocation is an important one, but it really starts getting good when we are able to apply it to our daily lives.

We asked Dan Essig to join us at our Leadership Breakfast Series to talk about how his calling to serve the Lord pulled him away from a cubicle to starting his own contracting business, Essig Renovation and Design.



Here are some highlights from Dan’s talk:

  • Dan’s journey to discover what he’s passionate about (2:02)
  • What it took for Dan to take the leap to entrepreneurship (7:23)
  • How Dan is using his management position to help members of his crew use their strengths (18:35)

Dan’s desire to serve God has shown up in every aspect of his work, from the ethics his company takes pride in upholding, to his relationships with his employees and clients. This interview with Dan highlights his passion for his company and his deep understanding of his calling.

Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

100_1325-1024x768Dan is a graduate of Geneva College and an alum of the Pittsburgh Fellows. Dan followed the call to start his own business in the renovation space, and Essig Design and Renovation was born. Dan’s company works in Pittsburgh to build tangible and intangible communities.


Why God Can Be Trusted – Dr. Bruce Bickel

On Friday, March 6, nearly 700 community leaders gathered for the annual Greater Pittsburgh Community Leaders Prayer Breakfast. Keynote speaker, Dr. Bruce Bickel, explored the question of who we can trust and how we know that we can trust them.

We can trust somebody who will do everything that’s necessary to maintain a relationship with us.

We can trust somebody who will do everything that’s necessary to maintain a relationship with us. God does this by holding back his wrath so we can have a relationship with Him and removing our sin from his sight so He won’t hold it against us.