Tuesday, January 18, 2011

pioneer stories, learning with those who’ve gone before

I’m privileged to be serving among a denomination making some really interesting missional moves. This includes the desire to make intentional the training of pioneer leaders. To that end, I have been asked to facilitate a retreat in February with a focus on the implications of training pioneer leaders.

In starting to prepare, I really wanted the voice of pioneers to be heard, to let their experience shape our thinking going forward.

So today was V-day – video day. I asked four pioneer leaders to reflect, on video, on their formation and growth. A set of similar questions was used to kick-start the conversations:

  • The word “pioneer” is often used to describe someone with a track-record of starting things, sees possibilities, takes risks, willing to live with high degree of ambiguity. In what ways do those words make sense of your life and ministry?
  • Do pioneers take just one shape, or are their diverse models?
  • What’s the most important thing someone supervising you? forming/mentoring you? should know?
  • What’s the most important thing the various denominational structures (selection, formation, placement) need to know about you as a pioneer?

One person is beginning the “formal” part of their training (wanting to explore mission and innovation by enrolling in our new B.Min), a second has just completing their formal training (having spent the last few years pioneering a new community as part of their College Fieldwork), a third is well into their first pioneer church-plant, a fourth is into their 3rd major pioneering project. Some fascinating discussion has ensued.

As we all know, discussion is the easy bit! Now we have to cut the 75 minute video into something more manageable. But a fascinating exercise, to sit with pioneer leaders and hear them reflect on how God has formed them. To hear the differences. To sense the commonalities
– the shared passion for possibilities
– the need for flexibility and space to experiment
– the uncertainty of the journey, both becoming internally self-aware in the midst of trying to work that out in existing paradigms
– the desire for an relational accountability

And to begin to wonder about what it means for colleges and denominations to partner with what God is doing in the hearts and lives of people.

Posted by steve at 01:54 PM

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