The single biggest theme in training is apprenticing so that people do it, and then they learn from it. In some cases, they’re actually assigned coaches who are very serious and almost formalized in their debriefing processes. Every missional community system that I’m in touch with is always scouring, looking, for the next wave of leaders. They emerge from inside the missional community. Then, they’re apprenticed by the existing leader.
I also find that almost all these systems have some kind of very pointed leadership gatherings, whether it’s once a quarter or once a month or three times a year. There will be some kind of convening of the leaders to celebrate the work, do peer-to-peer sharing and mentoring, and then again some intentional coaching.
Depending on the network, there will be some front-end, kind of curricular type of introduction so the key issues leaders are going to face will be addressed before they’re deployed. Maybe that’s done alongside this apprenticing model so that itâ€™s introduced, and then their newer leader is given material to read to process with the existing community leader.
Finally, a major theme of all the training is the personal, spiritual formation of a leader. One of the real limits of the typical program church model would be that we tend to train for tasks, so we teach elders to eld and teachers to teach and deacons to deac and ushers to ush, that kind of thing, but there’s not necessarily an attention to the leader who is doing the leadership.
A very huge differential for me in the missional community piece is to start with the leader (that’s always key) and the spiritual formation of the leader, because this leadership in missional community is lived out in community and on the ground and in full view. It’s not a positional leadership; it’s a personalleadership. Any leadership training that doesn’t address that, of course, is just not conceivable in the missional community world.
Reggie McNeal is the Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, TX. He has lectured or taught as adjunct faculty for multiple seminaries, including Fuller Theological (Pasadena, CA), Southwestern Baptist (Ft. Worth, TX), Golden Gate Baptist (San Francisco, CA), Trinity Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), and Columbia International (Columbia, SC). In addition, he has served as a consultant to local church, denomination, and para-church leadership teams, as well as seminar developer and presenter for thousands of church leaders across North America. He has also resourced the United States Army Chief of Chaplains Office, Air Force chaplains, and the Air Force Education and Training Command. Twitter: @reggiemcneal.
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