Empowering Leaders in New Ways: A Pitch for Cooking Classes

Pastor Amy Spaur

February 5, 2019

The church is located in an area with, well… high crime. High teen pregnancy rates, high drug use. Do you want to live here? Serve here?

What if you were called to pastor here? Could you see it for what it truly was, a beautiful, culturally rich community whose vibrancy cannot be contained by negative statistics?

Pastor Amy Spaur can. “I serve a ministry that is innovative. It is a ministry of and with the poor in their neighborhood. This community is more than statistics,” Amy said pointedly. “It is filled with talented, resourceful people, and part of my work at Christ’s Foundry is simply to empower them.”

When she applied to attend the Courageous Leadership Imperative’s Launch 1.0, a cooperative event with the South Central Jurisdiction Foundations and Bishops designed to create a network for dynamic leaders, she wanted to be surrounded by people who were thinking creatively. In her setting, as in so many others, the urgent, but strategically unimportant, could delay and stifle important ministry outcomes, an undesirable reality in a mission field reliant upon innovation.

“I felt like I needed extra help and encouragement to make space for creativity and I believed Launch 1.0 could be that space.”


As the three-day event progressed, participants were invited to pitch ministry ideas to their table groups and then each table group decided on one pitch to be presented to the larger group. Amy’s idea was selected.“In my pitch, I described our neighborhood, but more importantly, I described a potential idea to empower new leaders. What if we hosted Mexican cooking classes, where you could learn to make authentic enchiladas, gorditas, tamales, and other prominent Mexican dishes? We would organize the classes and provide the ‘teaching chef.’ Our guests would learn to cook, and then, we would share the meal we just made together.”

It resonated with the participants so well, Amy’s idea landed in the top three and earned a small grant. Now, she is working to help her church implement the idea.

“Colleagues from Launch 1.0 have helped me take my first steps to implementation. Someone recommended partnering with a church that has a large kitchen and space that are not utilized, so now we are in a dreaming stage about that partnership.

Additionally, we modified our annual tamale event, where we make tamales for the church, opening it up to the public. People were invited to learn how to make tamales and everyone who came was part of our neighborhood. They wanted to know how to make the food they love. We had people join because of this event.”

From the application stage to the pitching stage, Amy set out to seek encouragement for innovation and with the help of her fellow Launch 1.0 participants, she found it. The event was a reminder that connecting with God’s creativity in the world is worth a paused moment, a three-day conference, and time to network with peers.