In the late 1960’s, Jack Zorn began working with the young boys in his Montgomery, Alabama congregation. His goal was to develop their leadership skills. Under the name “Lads to Leaders”, the program spread to nearby churches of Christ.
Annual Easter weekend conventions usually held in Nashville, Tennessee, attracted participants from many states. Eventually, registration at the convention grew to about 3,500. Recognizing that more groups would participate if the convention were closer to home, an effort was made to establish a Southwest Region of Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes. A regional convention was held in Houston, Texas, during the Easter weekend of 1988 and over 700 attended.
Following the 1988 convention, it became obvious to the group from the Southwest that the geographical complications of coordinating two conventions through two boards of widely dispersed members were hindering the basic goal of both groups. The decision to form Leadership Training for Christ was finalized in October 1988.
Since its origin, LTC has focused on making the annual convention an opportunity to challenge young people to develop in an increasing number of leadership areas. New events have been added to the basic convention recipe. Others, like Bible Bowl, have been dramatically revised. The 1990-1992 conventions were also held in Dallas. In 1993 and 1994 the convention was held in Fort Worth where it had grown to 3,700 participants before it returned to Dallas in 1995.
1993 was also significant since this was the year LTC Western Region was established covering far West Texas, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. In 1996 a new Midwest Region was established in Kokomo, Indiana. The Dallas Region (North Texas LTC) was further divided into new regions with additional conventions held in Houston, Texas (Central Texas LTC), and Tulsa, Oklahoma (Great Plains LTC). In 1999, the North Texas Convention divided into two separate events with both now being held in the Dallas area. The Western Region divided into two sites identified as the Southwestern Region (Phoenix, AZ) and new Western Region location in Santa Jose, California was started in 1995. In 2006 a small start was made in the northwest by the combined efforts of the churches in Prineville, Oregon and Richland, Washington who operated as a satellite location of the Southwestern Region. In 2007 an official LTC Northwest Region Convention was started in Prineville, Oregon with churches from Oregon, Washington and Idaho and the first Northwest Region board of directors was formed. In 2009 the Northwest Region Convention was relocated to the more centralized Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco) area of Washington.
The learning process which takes place in the home congregation is the real value of LTC, with the Convention as a time and place where young people can meet together, demonstrate their accomplishments, and broaden their definitions of excellence. The events are the whetstone necessary to sharpen the tool, the opportunity to practice leadership skills, and a challenge to raise our collective standards.