Lance Rhoades, esteemed Executive Director and founder of Tree of Life Open Bible Church, is a dynamic leader whose strategic vision and steadfast faith have driven significant growth and impact. Since its inception in 2003, the organization has evolved from a humble one-bedroom apartment Bible study into a thriving 22,000 sq. ft facility in a little over fifteen years. This exponential growth is largely attributed to Lance’s focus on developing and empowering staff and volunteer leadership; this strategy has had a transformative effect on the organization’s reach and influence. Additionally, Lance’s ability to secure over a million dollars in grant funding has been instrumental in facilitating the organization’s expansion.

Lance holds a remarkable record of early achievements and leadership roles. He was the youngest licensed lay minister in the United Methodist Church and one of the youngest national board members ever to serve in Open Bible. Currently, he serves as a district director in Open Bible and has been a member of the regional board for Open Bible Churches East since 2017.

Lance’s strong family values, honed through leading his family through challenges, translate into his empathetic and inclusive leadership style. He recognizes families with children as crucial societal components – a belief that underpins his commitment to making a positive impact.

A passionate advocate for inclusivity and gender equity, Lance has made intentional efforts to promote women within the organization, appointing them to various key roles. His approach exemplifies his belief in the importance of diverse perspectives in leadership and his commitment to creating a culture that empowers all team members to succeed.

Carrying his insights beyond his organization, Lance is an accomplished author providing invaluable guidance on topics such as dream interpretation, marketing, leadership, and recovery. His works are instrumental in inspiring those seeking to deepen their faith and journey towards recovery. He has also hosted workshops and trainings on various topics relating to personal growth, spiritual disciplines, leadership, and innovation. 

As the leader of the South Pittsburgh Opioid Action Coalition, Lance has driven initiatives to bridge racial disparities in overdose deaths, notably by equipping black churches with life-saving resources. His innovative “Person First Pledge” has redefined how individuals with substance use disorders are approached, gaining endorsement from the Mayor of Pittsburgh and incorporation into city legislation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lance’s leadership was pivotal in navigating the challenges faced by the Brookline Christian Food Pantry. While other pantries were closing, Lance’s strategic adaptations and shift in funding models enabled his organization to grow, serving more people and absorbing the impact of the crisis. Other meal programming within the organization was transformed to serve the community in greater ways, resulting in the distribution of almost 100,000 meals during lockdown.

In the realm of childcare, Lance’s transformational leadership has turned Brookline Sprouts Preschool and Extended Care from a scarcely attended program into a highly sought-after childcare initiative in the community. This growth has been a testament to Lance’s dedication to community impact and equity.

Lance Rhoades is a multifaceted leader whose innovative strategies, unwavering faith, and commitment to empowerment are shaping a lasting and impactful legacy.