David Deford has an amazing story. Born and raised in Indiana David became involved with various drugs that contributed to his leaving home during college (without telling his parents). He experienced glimmers of God’s love during this time and ultimately met his wife, Kathy, when he picked her up as she was hitchhiking. They were introduced to the Church while hitchhiking cross-country and through God’s grace received answers to their prayers and they chose to be baptized. After several months, they did exactly that.

Three years later, at the age of 22, David was called as bishop of the ward in Lexington, Kentucky. As bishop, he focused on the youth—including attending seminary, youth conference and girls’ camp–and put the best people he could in youth leadership positions. He even released one of his counselors to serve as Young Men President! Later, as branch president of a small branch in Wahoo, Nebraska where there were only two youth, he thought creatively and, through the stake president, called other young members of the stake to attend church in Wahoo.

David also served as branch president of a Sudanese refugee branch and had the opportunity to teach self-reliance. Serving with people who came from very violent backgrounds, David faced death threats and other unique situations where he learned a lot. While service as social media and public affairs representative, David trained other leaders how to use social media to help in missionary work and to benefit the church. David now serves as bishop again in Omaha, Nebraska where he lives with his wife.

5 Leadership Principles:

  1. Shake it up – intentionally break with traditions
  2. Treat the Ward Council as Senior Executives – trust their revelation as leaders of the ward
  3. Focus less on Sunday business and more on Sunday worship – leaders need to be in class where they can worship with the other members of the ward
  4. Focus on the Youth (Adults can take care of themselves) – listen & ask questions during
  5. Let Counselors and Councils handle the organization; focus on ministering – leaders need to know they can make decisions

David works as a leadership speaker, trainer, coach, and author.



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