Dr. Jack Zorn
Founder, Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes
Dr. Jack Zorn was born on November 8, 1934, on a sharecropper’s farm in Geneva County, Ala. His father suffered from alcoholism, and his mother struggled to instill Christian values in the family.
As a young boy, he struggled in school because he often had to work the farm instead of attend classes. Stuttering badly, he dropped out of school and went to work.
In 1951, he was baptized during a gospel meeting held by Bill Hatcher. A student from Alabama Christian College encouraged him to come to “college” to get help finishing high school and begin college. Dr. Rex Turner, Sr. put him to work and enrolled him in college. There he met Sarah Frances Johnson, who became his wife in 1956.
Without any grants or scholarships, Dr. Zorn worked his way through school. He earned a B.A. from Alabama Christian College, an M.A. from Harding Graduate School and a Doctorate of Religious Education from the International Bible Institute and Seminary.
In his 21 years of full time preaching, he served local congregations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. While preaching at Warner Robins, Ga., he was asked by the elders to develop a leadership training program for the youth at the congregation. He envisioned what today we know as Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes. What started with eight boys in Georgia has now grown to thousands of participants in churches of Christ across the United States and several other countries.
In the November 1999 issue of the Gospel Advocate, Dr. Zorn was named one of the 100 Trailblazers in the church of Christ, along with brotherhood greats like Gus Nichols and Marshall Keeble.
His lovely wife, Frances, passed away on July 15, 2017. Her dedication to Dr. Zorn and the Lads to Leaders program through its early years was instrumental in the success and growth of the program. They were active in their local congregation, Hollins Church of Christ for many years. Dr. Zorn, even in poor health mentored young people until the time of his death. His life’s work was to prepare others for service in the kingdom of God. He passed away in 2021.
By: Dr. Jack Zorn, Founder, Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes
The “Leader Pledges” are integral foundation stones for the entire program. Each pledge is one aspect of the total development of the student. Students are encouraged to memorize the pledges and scripture references and then, through careful exercise, apply the principles in their daily lives.
I am answerable to God and to society.
Focus: To comprehend the relationship of the leader to his God and to people around him.
I will overcome pessimism and live a life of faith in God.
Focus: To see the importance of living optimistically by faith in a negative world.
I am fully responsible for my behavior.
Focus: To understand the necessity of accepting responsibility for attitudes and actions.
I am responsible for my agreements and obligations.
Focus: To comprehend the importance of keeping one’s word.
I pursue honest work to meet my responsibilities.
(1 Timothy 5:8)
Focus: To understand the necessity of establishing proper work ethics.
I honor and obey my parents and respect persons in authority.
Focus: To believe the importance and function of God’s design for authority.
I respect my body as the creation of God and use it for His glory.
(1 Corinthians 6:20)
Focus: To learn that we are not our own and that we should live to bring honor to the Creator.
I choose for my friends those who enjoy doing good.
(1 Corinthians 15:33)
Focus: To impress on the student’s mind the importance of choice and example in regard to friendship.
I lead in building character and in demonstrating integrity.
Focus: To understand the need for being a leader in character building through demonstrating a life of integrity.
I lead in second-mile service to others.
Focus: To understand the importance of doing all that is asked and can be expected of you and then some.