Tuesday, September 28, 2010

what do you need to be a pioneeer leader?

Tim Costello, currently CEO of World Vision, Australia, kicked off the Church in the City 2010 conference today. He spoke about his experience at Collins Street Baptist in Melbourne and the formation of Urban Seed. It was a mixture of challenge and inspiration.

During discussion was when Tim really (for me) excelled, a great mix of practical wisdom, reflection and astute cultural observation. He talked a number of times about the place of leaders as both prophet and leader, as taking risks and challenging the status quo. He ended with a fascinating quote (from my notes):

Our leadership issues are not to do with our structures. They are more to do with our spiritual intelligence. And our emotional intelligence.

I couldn’t agree more. Starting things is about seeing both what is and what might be. That takes honesty and vision. And faith, to believe in what is not yet. And the ability to align that with the stories of Jesus. In other words, spiritual intelligence!

And between what is and what is not, is the status quo. And inertia. And people who like the status quo. So to see change means challenging people. And leading through change. And dealing with conflict. That takes emotional intelligence!

So many times I feel when speaking to leaders the desire for easy answers and quick fixes. It’s hard to say, “There aren’t any. It’s just hard work.” The quote by Tim today gives me another frame and an affirmation, that of the need to deepen one’s spiritual and emotional intelligence, to let the slow processes of composting – emotional and spiritual – happen.

It made me glad of the Missional Church Leadership course I run, which seeks to offer spiritual practices, and to focus on Biblical narratives, especially Luke 10:1-12 and Luke 1:39-45. No easy answers, just invitations to listen, to discern i.e. spiritual and emotional intelligence.

Here at Uniting College, we’re working on three further ways (alongside the Missional Church Leadership) to access pioneer training

  • a one year Mission-shaped ministry course, hopefully taught ecumenically, introducing mission, church, leadership
  • the new Bachelor of Ministry which will include an “innovation” focus, allowing have-a-go learning
  • a Masters in Missional Church Leadership, which offers in-service training, with a mix of coaching, peer group support, reading and a praxis/theory thesis in which people work, over 4 years, on missional leadership in their own context

Tim’s input was a great reminder that in the midst of all of these changes, the greatest gift that can be offered is fostering spiritual and emotional intelligence.

All in all, a great start to the Church and the city 2010 conference.

Posted by steve at 08:05 PM

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fresh expressions formalised in South Australia: updated

Exciting weekend here in South Australia, with the Uniting Church Synod (council of all Uniting churches in South Australia), voting to accept a number of resolutions including the following:

  • develop Fresh Expressions and Church Plants throughout South Australia
  • develop a network/community of Pioneer Ministers
  • ask the Uniting College (of which I am a part) to take the lead in developing training for Pioneer Ministry, both for lay people and for those wanting to live out their ordination as Pioneer Ministers

(Updated: full resolutions here)

So there we are – a church denomination making Fresh expressions a priority, and formally charging it’s training arm to train pioneer leaders.

It dovetails beautifully with the fact that as a Uniting College staff, we’ve been putting in hours of work in the last few months into developing a unique pathway by which to train pioneer leaders. This will be as part of our new B.Min degree programme. If our application is successful it will mean we are offering two training paths. One path will be a more conventional mission and ministry degree.

The other path will also offer a B.Min degree, but with a focus on innovation and pioneering. It will offer learning by doing, in situ in a fresh expression, observational intensives so people can broaden their vision and practice of ministry, expect mentoring – both individual and in community – along with integration through study in areas of leadership, mission, Bible and Christian discipleship.  So if you sense God calling you to train as a fresh expressions pioneer leader, we at Uniting College just may be able to help you.

All quite exciting.

Posted by steve at 08:36 PM