History of Christian Leaders Institute
President Henry Reyenga formed a mentorship relation with Rich DeVos Sr. of Amway. DeVos was sixty-eight at the time. He mentored him to encourage bi-vocational non-clergy and clergy local leaders to spread the Gospel. The principle of reproducible leadership and encouragement was a pillar in the forming of Christian Leaders Institute.
September 11, 2001
Christian Leaders was born on September 11, 2001, after Henry experienced the September 11, 2001, tragedy in person. Shortly after that, Rev. Henry Reyenga Jr. started Christian Leaders NFP under the encouragement of Rich DeVos Sr. and Ron Parr, who agreed to be part of the founding board of directors. The founding mission of Christian Leaders, NFP, (DBA Christian Leaders Institute) was to raise up reproducible Christian leaders to spread Christianity everywhere. Henry and his wife Pam committed themselves to this calling and work.
Shortly after starting Christian Leaders, Henry studied the use of the Internet as a tool for reproducing Christian leaders. Finally, his study of cutting-edge Internet technologies brought him to start offering Internet classes in 2006 and Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) offered free online ministry training classes.
Lorene Franklin and the older President’s children were instrumental in the launching of CLI. Haley, in particular, discovered the moodle tool that became our technological school interface, even to this day. Haley also served as the first dean of the school while attending Calvin Seminary.
Jerry Lorenz came over from the University of Chicago in 2007 as our IT developer. He has been instrumental in developing the Moodle interface into a robust tool for tracking grades and work.
In 2008, Dr. David Feddes became the provost. Dr. Feddes was the radio minister of the Back to God ministry. Dr. Feddes and his wife Wendy are called to bring high-quality ministry training everywhere.
Christian Leaders Institute brought advanced training to called leaders in the United States and Canada. Starting in 2010, CLI spread to the entire English-speaking world. Christian Leaders started developing Mentor Centers of local groups which encourage and support each other in their ministry training. In effect, these mentor centers function in many parts of the world as micro-seminaries or Bible Schools.
The headquarters was moved to the Spring Lake, Michigan area. About 10,000 new students signed up for ministry training. In 2016, we moved into a new 8,000 square foot building.
In 2014, Christian Leaders NFP launched the Christian Leaders Alliance, under the leadership of Board President Brian DeCook for the development of our ordination program. In this ordination program where graduates of Christian Leaders Institute are guided to a local ordination within their local communities. The Christian Leaders Alliance has an international directory that recognizes the ordained leaders.
January 1st, 2015 brought an entirely new face to CLI with the launch of the Degree Program, in which students can earn their Associate and/or Bachelor of Divinity. Also, the translation of the Christian Basics course into Spanish and French began; along with increased staff and budget.
The French Program was launched.
Christian Leaders Institute has three office locations including Florida, Illinois, and Michigan. The new world headquarters was purchased in Spring Lake, Michigan.
Ann Merkle directed the renovation of the entire building.
The Chinese program was begun as well.
CLI Graduate, Wally De La Fuente, launched the Spanish Program. He is also the program director of CLI. He was hired by CLI in the fall of 2015.
The Vision Partners program was introduced and students and graduates have been stepping up to invest in this generosity-driven training. Over $429,000 of the $1,200,000 budget was contributed through this vision partners program. This program is run by Abigail Reyenga.
Christian Leaders Institute had enrolled over 175,000 students since the beginning in 2006.
Christian Leaders Institute launched the Enterprise Program in 2017. The Enterprise Program provides students with essential skills to start a successful new venture or to gain employment in the business community.
The Ordination Minister Program was also renovated to create new tracks for students. CLI offers 10 different ordinations.
Christian Leaders Institute also continued to translate its curriculum into Mandarin Chinese. This program is headed by John Chen.
Student Graduate, Roy Lucas, was appointed to our Board of Directors. He is notable because he is the first student who now serves on the board of directors.
The Russian program was launched on January 1, 2018, under the direction of Dmytro Glazunov.
The Business Program was launched January 1, 2018, under the direction of Graduate Michael Greene.
The Philosophy program was launched January 1, 2018, with our core professor Dr. Roy Clouser, who will be recording two classes in the summer of 2018.
The Restorative Justice Program was launched on May 22, 2018, at Christian Leaders Institute’s Annual Spring Luncheon.
Spanish Language program hits over 28,000 students enrolled with over 15 courses of study released and ordinations.