Saturday, December 11, 2010

the art and craft of missional leadership: masters year one

Further to my post on the art and craft of missional leadership, in which I suggest that leadership is a craft. By craft I mean that leadership is not a bunch of techniques. Rather it is a craft in that it is concerned about the cultures in which we flourish. Nor is it a program. Rather it is a craft in that it is a unique and individual blend of skill, commitment and judgment. Nor is it head knowledge. Rather it is a craft in the aligning of head and heart, intuition and intelligence, history and innovation.

So the application becomes: How do you develop leaders in their craft?

Which is what I’ve been working on through recent months – first a Masters in Missional Leadership.

And then more specifically, the shape of Year One

It’s for current ministers who want to grow in their leadership. Mention Masters ie post-graduate education and people tend to think of an individual pursuit in a library which involves lots of footnotes and even more words. Which seems opposite to this notion of the “craft of leadership”. Glancing back over the one page information blurb about Year One, using the lens of “craft” I note

1. It’s part-time, because leaders get better at their craft by practising their craft
2. The major thesis project expects participants to focus their craft in their own culture. It’s not a theoretical thesis, but a documenting over 4 years of an ongoing process of action/reflection (practising your craft). (This then raises a whole lot of theoretical and ethical questions, answered by the field of action research.
3. Program Seminars provides ways to embrace the strength and critique that comes from a community of crafters.
4. Leadership 360 creates a space space for people to gain a snapshot, shine on mirror on the practise of their craft and how they might improve.
5. Reading is assessed on integration, the implications for one’s own context.

Posted by steve at 12:12 PM

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the craft of work? a theology getting me out of bed

This is another entry in the dictionary of everyday contemporary spirituality: W for the craft of work

I picked up philosopher, Richard Sennett’s book The Craftsman a few weeks ago. It was the embossed pencils that made up the book cover that caught my eye …

And then I checked the back and a whole lot of things clicked in my head. The book explores craftsmanship, the desire to do a job well, for it’s own sake and suggests this as a template for living.

  • craft as technique. Not mindless procedure, but the cultures in which we might flourish
  • craft as a unique and individual blend of skill, commitment and judgment
  • craft as the aligning of head and heart, intuition and intelligence, history and innovation

Which got me thinking about what gets me out of bed and how I approach work. When I mark an essay, it can be a burden. But could it be something to craft – through the assignments I set, the comments I make, the best practice examples I provide, the clarity of my responses.

When I teach, it can be stress of preparation. Or it can be the entering of sacred space, those moments of learning that will be unique to this moment and this group.

When I seek to innovate within academic structures, to implement new pioneer ministry/social entrepreneurial training options (details any day now) or to create a missional masters , it can be the drudgery of administration, or search for clarity around best practice.

When I meet with a post-graduate student, it can be an appointment. Or an attempt to craft a unique learning experience, to co-operate with what God has already been doing in a person’s life, the discernment of discipleship as God’s spirit shapes and moulds.

When I start researching, it is a craft honed by others into which I enter. As I write, it is a deadline. Or the time to bring vague thoughts into communicative life through the craft of concrete black and white shapes, to hone the tools of grammar and punctuation to make plain my flights of fancy.

Such is craft.

Theologically, this links with Robert Banks book, God the Worker: Journeys Into the Mind, Heart and Imagination of God. He suggests that God is a musician and a composer, a designer and a garment maker, an architect and builder, a crafter and an artisan. (I’ve been part of writing more on this here).

And humans are made in the image of God the Crafter.

To be honest, the workload this year has at times nearly consumed me. New job, new responsibilities, new culture – so many adjustments. It’s been too easy to view work as draining.

Work as craft. It provides a different way to approach the day and the desk, the week and the workload.

Posted by steve at 07:24 AM