by Jack Taylor
Seventy-Five percent of leaders flatline after midlife (40+). This reality, in 2002, gave birth to CREST as a place where leaders can flourish. Three hundred individuals have responded to the opportunity so far. The learning experience sets up a unique journey of deep reflection, wise input and courageous output.
Dr. Dan Reinhardt, in Calgary, was at the top of his game at the age of 43 but deeply tired. He’d had a great run at ministry but after 18 years his strength
“was taxed and his emotional reserves were drained.” Rather than burnout, he focused on prayer so that he could rest, learn and retool for the second half of his life. Dan prayed, “Father, its been great serving you. But I’m really tired, and I’d rather have a time out than a burn out. Would you give me a year to refresh, and re-learn?” A Doctor of Ministry at Asbury Seminary was his answer. CREST grew from that stimulation.
CREST, because of their charter with the Alberta Government, has been offering onsite cohorts for a diploma or Master in Christian Leadership. Half of those who begin, continue to complete their Master’s program. Those who desire to earn the Master’s degree need to have a Bachelor’s undergrad degree or its equivalent. The shared life experience from the wide diversity of learners adds richness to the strategic lessons learned in the classroom format.
For the first time, in the Fall of 2020 because of Covid 19, the opportunity is shifting online and the education is opening up to the world. For those interested, there are no pre-requisites apart from mid-life experience, and a desire to reflect on life and leadership. Reinhardt, who continues to be President, says “CREST is willing to assess a person’s post-secondary learning to determine if there is an equivalence to a Bachelor’s.”
When asked about his dreams for the future of CREST, Reinhardt says “we envision that CREST will continue to offer our gold standard face-to-face cohorts in Canada and possibly in the USA. We also dream that we can extend this unique help for midlife leaders to the rest of the world via the online platform. We dream that CREST graduates will be offering this midlife transformation in many places. Alumni who take special training will be authorized to deliver CREST in their locations.”
Dan was raised in India as the son of missionary parents. He earned a Bachelor’s in the US and a Master’s in Israel. He and his wife Anne have four grown children and 11 grandchildren. Moving online is giving him the chance to reach the world his heart has embraced already. He is convinced from his research that everyone comes to a time around mid-life where they must pause, reflect, think and wonder or they may end up floating or frustrated. This need doesn’t stop when formal CREST training finishes. Ongoing webinars and podcasts keep alumni enriched.
Other experienced second half coaches, such as John Pritchard and Dr. Terry Young, assist students in paying “fierce attention to their lives at midlife” and help them with an “ordered reflection” which is life transforming. Reinhardt admits that “CREST is not for everyone; its for seasoned adults who deeply desire their second half to be their best half. That won’t happen unless they invest the attention, time and finances in a catalytic program like CREST.”
John Pritchard was one of the first students in 2003 and graduated in 2006. He says that “as a pastor for almost 20 years at that point, the CREST environment gave me the safe place to ask questions and explore the dreams and convictions that were growing inside me. I knew there was something different I was made to do. Not that doing something different is true for everyone who takes CREST. Many want to continue the path God has placed in front of them, but be better equipped to maximize their impact. CREST can help do that.”
Pritchard is now the Lead Facilitator with the Diploma Program. His passion is to “help people re-acquaint themselves with their own story, values and strengths as well as a sense of purpose so they can make the adjustments they need at midlife and be empowered to live a full and fruitful second half.” He believes that this is “what glorifies and brings joy to Jesus – a person living fully alive as He designed them.”
“With hundreds of graduates, CREST has emerged as a premier life and leadership program for men and women who want their life to matter.”
Reinhardt finishes his thoughts by appealing to midlife leaders. “Your life is worth the investment! Check us out at www.crestleadership.ca”