SDB Leadership Development: Past, Present, Future

Written by Carl Greene

February 8, 2023

Join me on a quick stroll through SDB leadership development in years past, Kingdom engagement in the present, and future opportunities before us.

Past

Nathan Earle Lewis is one of our pioneering SDB leaders from the past. Nathan was born in 1876 in Ashaway, RI, educated at Stevens Institute in New Jersey, and then employed as a mechanical engineer for Babcock & Wilcox Company, residing in Plainfield, New Jersey. Mr. Lewis served in a number of SDB leadership roles: Trustee of the SDB Memorial Fund (1926 – 1958), President of the Memorial Fund (1937 – 1954), Trustee and President of the Plainfield SDB Church, Trustee of the American Sabbath Tract Society (1928 – 1949), Trustee of the SDB Historical Society (1944 – 1957), and Trustee of Alfred University.

The first SDB youth camp (Lewis Camp) was built in 1926 under his pioneering direction, utilizing land he donated near Ashaway, RI. When Nathan Lewis died in Westerly, RI in 1959, he left $5,000 to be invested and the income to be used for the benefit of the blind. He left another $5,000 to be used to maintain Lewis Camp.[1]

Present

Nathan Earle Lewis was a pioneering SDB leader who invested in the present and future leaders of Seventh Day Baptists, specifically through his work with the Memorial Board. The tradition of Memorial Board partnerships to leverage the development of SDB leaders continues. At the February 5, 2023 meeting of the SDB Memorial Board, Trustees deepened partnerships for the cultivation of our emerging leaders. From pastoral internships, to youth ministry, to innovative lay leadership education opportunities, to long standing support of Dedicated Service and SCSC, the SDB Memorial Board is actively engaged in SDB leadership development work.

Future

As a Conference of Churches, we invest in healthy leader, healthy church initiatives. We develop and support new and existing leaders who will work through healthy local churches. Leaders are discovered, developed, and deployed throughout our network of churches as an investment towards actively advancing God’s Kingdom.[2] We have an exciting road ahead of us!

Learn more about opportunities to participate in SDB Memorial Fund grants for leadership development by contacting grants@seventhdaybaptist.org. If you would like to partner with the SDB Memorial Fund with a financial gift to equip emerging SDB leaders, please contact rochs@seventhdaybaptist.org.

[1] Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Volume III, pp 205/6. As reported and expounded upon by Mark Lewis, SDB Memorial Board Trustee, February 5, 2023. The picture is from the A-File in SDB History Archives at the SDB Center in Janesville, WI. Further citation data available upon request.

[2] https://www.seventhdaybaptist.org/vision-map/

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