Knoxville Skyline


Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF) serves the Knoxville area by connecting communities of resource with communities of need, while reconciling people to Jesus Christ and to each other.


“Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it, for as it prospers you will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7


We value not only the persons of a city but the city itself, a place of refuge and grace for many. Structures that are efficient and just are gifts of common grace for all. We see that healthy persons develop from healthy families, and healthy families benefit from healthy communities where people are nurtured and cared for. We are committed to a theology that is both creative and redemptive, for persons as well as places, and so we seek the spiritual renewal of persons and the social renewal of places.

We care about the successful and the powerful in our cities, but in the Bible we also notice God’s unrelenting concern for those who are poor, widowed, migrant, sick, in prison, alien, homeless or otherwise victimized. Cities have the catch basin of those at-risk. The Knoxville Leadership Foundation commits itself to the leadership of the city but we are always in partnership with the vulnerable who are “equally sinful but more often sinned against”.

The biblical Gospel does not patronize but frees and empowers. Persons are not only delivered from bondage, sin and guilt, but processes are stimulated that lead to freedom from oppressive and unjust public or private structures. We resist attempts to reduce the Gospel’s significance to only personal piety or programs that keep people powerless or dependent. The Knoxville Leadership Foundation calls the powerful to partnership with the vulnerable, so that the Gospel has equal and full effect on both groups.

We strongly affirm this beautiful, old theological term, and are committed to partnership and networks in ministry. We believe it takes the whole family of God to embrace the whole faith of God, and are scandalized by separations, bigotry, elitism, and destructive competition. The Cross transcends race, gender, and denominations; the power of the Gospel is in linking arms rather than pointing fingers. And so we will engage people of faith to work with people of good will for the well-being of the city.

We may be called to stand with those with whom we may only partially agree on matters of faith so as to affect a Christian presence in society. The Knoxville Leadership Foundation will work to bring together urban and suburban, Protestant and Catholic, mainline and evangelical as well as Anglos and non-Anglos.

The exploding impact of the phenomenon of urbanization will require creative vision and bold initiative from individuals, churches, and other institutions if renewal of persons and cities is to take place. We are not impressed by or committed to the status quo but believe that church leadership must engage in serious R&D in order to discover more effective means of having Christ’s presence seen and felt in the city. This will take courage and an innovative spirit, as we seek the priority of the Kingdom of God over institutionalism.

We take leadership in urban life very seriously. As the best equipped and brightest seem to exit the city neighborhoods the needs grow larger. The model of Christ-like leadership is affirmed as a value. Servant leadership on the part of the influential as well as the vulnerable is the leadership we wish to affirm and build-transformational leadership characterized by openness to change, personal growth, and strong faith.

We believe that a life in Christ provides the platform by which individuals in the city will find hope. But without the development of the individual in other areas, the urban dweller is unprepared to face the challenges of their life. We value the church working together with development efforts in neighborhoods. Change will take place one person at a time, one family at a time, one neighborhood at a time.

Change in urban communities takes time. And we believe that God provides ministry opportunities through the context of relationships. We see relationships as the starting point for our involvement and commitment to urban neighborhoods. As our relationships develop we value the development of long-term ministry efforts to shape the communities toward future health. We believe the process can be as important as the results in the Kingdom of God.