Passing the Baton – Presidential Succession

baton pass
Dave Hills

Dave Hills

President, Leadership Foundations

Dear Friends of Leadership Foundations (LF),

One of the riveting images in the New Testament is Paul describing his ministry as a race reflecting, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Much of the appeal of this image is our inherent sense that there is effort involved, training is required, good work is rewarded, and there is such a thing as a finish line. While at times I have imagined St. Paul running this race as a heroic loner and/or the rugged individualist, I have come to believe the opposite to be true. Rather than something like a 100-meter sprint or even a marathon, what I suspect is really at play in Paul is a relay race. And if that’s the case, what then becomes most important in the race is the passing of the baton. That it’s all about making sure that you hand the baton off in such a way to ensure your team has the best chance of success.

Rather than something like a 100-meter sprint or even a marathon, what I suspect is really at play in Paul is a relay race.

It is with this image in mind and through prayerful discernment with the LF Global Board of Directors and Staff that we have initiated the baton pass to the next President of LF.  This decision has come as a result of a strategic planning process to prepare Leadership Foundations for a stronger future as it continues to grow and serve cities around the world. And it should be noted that I undertake this transition this with a great deal of enthusiasm.

I am deeply grateful to the LF Board for their invitation to take a paid sabbatical beginning in April in preparation for a future thought leadership position with LF’s Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center. I am excited for the opportunities ahead to continue walking alongside the LF network as we work to make cities more like playgrounds. 

Larry Lloyd brings a wealth of leadership experience and depth of knowledge to the role of  President and I have the utmost confidence that he will continue to serve the Global Network well. 


Rev. Dr. Larry Lloyd, Incoming President

When I was asked to take the place of LF’s founder, Reid Carpenter, as president in 2008, I did so with the collective conviction that the organization was ready for a reappropriation of the initial charism that the Holy Spirit gave to Dr. Reid Carpenter—the remarkable gift of seeing the city as God’s playground instead of a battleground.

My job, over these past number of years, has been to steward this charism and imbue it with a level of rigor and discipline while protecting our network members’ innovative spirit and the great theological truth of cities as living, breathing organisms. In short, to create discipline around a common process (LF’s Wheel of Change) while celebrating the wildly diverse ways the Holy Spirit works in each city.  As a result of this posture the LF Network this past year directly impacted 567,778 individuals through 188 different initiatives and programs; provided capacity building for 709 organizations and curated 1,788 partners and supported 1,003 staff and 13,106 volunteers. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story:

  • We have expanded the LF membership into 48 cities around the world.
  • Created network-wide initiatives like our Board Training Initiative, the Global Youth Initiative and Charity to Change.
  • Developed a robust impact measurement platform to guide our members with a data-informed approach.
  • Established the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center (CCIC) to further look at best practices, partnerships, and policy recommendations on behalf of cities and communities.

A Legacy of Leadership

Under Dave’s leadership for 13 years, LF has grown into an renowned Global Network. 

Expanded LF Membership

into 48 diverse cities across the world, cementing LF’s reputation as a global network and movement

Established LF's Leadership

as a renowned thought leader, probing and deepening our understanding of the intersections between spirituality and social change in the work of urban renewal

Launched Network-Wide Initiatives, Including:

Our renowned training for nonprofit boards of directors


Our work to ensure children and youth in every city have access to caring adult mentors and safe places to play


Charity to Change, equipping local congregations to better serve their city

Established the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center (CCIC)

to further look at best practices, partnerships, and policy recommendations on behalf of cities and communities

In short, the LF Global Network is poised to be remarkably relevant and effective under new leadership for the future.

And all of this could not have taken place without the generous investment of your prayers, support, and resources. It has been thrilling for me to see the miracle of Jesus’s feeding of the 5000 play out in real ways because of your decision to share your “fish and bread” with LF. I hope you are as deeply encouraged as I am.

In closing, I want to express my immense gratitude for the support and confidence that you’ve shown the LF organization over these last 13+ years. It has been the honor of my lifetime serving as president and I look forward to more opportunities to collaborate in the future.

With best regards and sincerest gratitude,

Dave Hillis Signature

Dave Hillis

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What book, movie, quote, or tv show has most shaped your understanding of leadership or the city?   

A quote that has shaped my understanding of leadership and the city is, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

While the amount of work there is to do to transform cities is great, this quote reminds me that we are freed from having to complete it all, though our obligation to continue remains. We may never see a huge transformation in our lifetime. The work stretches far beyond us. However, this does not make our acts of faithfulness in the day to day less significant, no matter how small they may seem.