This summer we have two fellows with us from Sacred Sector Fellowship, a Center for Public Justice initiative that equips current or recently-graduated seminarians with the skills and experience to lead within the faith-based nonprofit sector. We sat down with both of them – Patrick Wallace (pictured above), a recent graduate of Fuller Seminary, and Eyasu Gebrehiwot, a recent graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary – and got their thoughts on non-profit leadership and what they hope to gain from their time at Little Lights:

Q & A with Patrick

Q: What have you learned or come to admire about the students and the community connected to Little Lights?

A: I have learned that middle school students, even though they want to be independent, desire someone to walk alongside them on their journey. In other words, they long for mentorship.

Q: What type of skills and experience do you think are essential for leaders within the faith-based nonprofit sector, especially when working with under-resourced communities?

A: I believe leaders doing ministry in under-resourced contexts must completely devote themselves to the work. It requires an all-in approach that also necessitates constant examination of oneself, the organization, and the people being served in order to grow and improve their ministry.

Q: What do you hope to gain from your summer fellowship at Little Lights?

A: I hope to learn from Little Lights on how to incorporate discipleship with education. I believe that when discipleship and education are integrated, education is more formational rather than informational. Many schools, including Christian institutions, focus on depositing information into our students’ minds, rather than shaping them into well-rounded human beings. Little Lights…excels in educating their students through discipleship.


Q & A with Eyasu

Q: What does a typical day at Little Lights look like for you?

A: I arrive to Little Lights after working two hours in my Center Public Justice work role as a fellow.  My primary work at the Hopkins Center is to help out with the science and academic support for the kids. My day consists of helping students with science-related projects, serving lunch, and assisting students with any academic (usually math) challenges.

Q:  Is there a particular area of nonprofit operations that you are most interested in? Why?

A:  I am most interested in a nonprofit’s mission, strategy, and evaluation.

The reason is that most organizational successes and effectiveness are related to its mission, strategy & evaluation. Organizations that have a well defined mission, strategy and evaluation can go longer distances without solely depending on personalities.

A mission reflects the uniqueness of the organization and the values, priorities and choices of the organization while the strategy shows the means it will accomplish its goals. This for me goes beyond the leadership of a certain individual or group.

Q: What do you hope to gain from your summer fellowship at Little Lights?

A: The main reason that my friend Patrick and I are here is to conduct an Organizational Assessment and Implementation Plan. My summer engagement with Little Lights is helping me understand FBOs from the perspectives of public policy, organizational practice and public positioning, and nonprofit standards of excellence.

Every day through observation, reading, and discussion I am better understanding the organizational life, the beautifully effective programs that Little Lights is doing, and the areas that it could further develop.

Besides my organization assessment, I enjoy my day to day engagement with the kids at the Hopkins Center. I hope to develop long-term relationships with some of the kids as a mentor or as a tutor so that their lives could be further impacted by Christ’s love.