Beyond Skills Training: Leadership as Answering Call

Leadership is a popular term everywhere today.  Everyone wants to be a leader.  Every training offered is labeled “leadership training” to instill a sense of importance and value.  (I’m first in line to admit guilt here.)  We want to train leaders in our churches; we see leadership development as vital to the future of our institution.  But is leadership training the answer to strong leadership?

It’s an important question.  While strong leaders are vital to growth and mission, I wonder if we’re too quick to resort to programs and skill development and the “right” leadership topics.  Moses, Abraham, Esther, Paul – the Biblical leaders we identify didn’t have “leadership training” per se.  They were called by God to lead out of who they were, out of their passion and context, and most importantly, faith.

I’m convinced that identifying and equipping leaders begins not with specific skills training but with development of a culture of call and spiritual and relational growth opportunities for potential and new leaders. Robert Quinn writes in Building the Bridge as You Walk On It: A Guide to Leading Change , “to develop leaders is not to impart a set of concepts or to teach a toolkit of strategies and behaviors. It is to engage the process of deep change in oneself and thereby invite others to do the same.” Parker Palmer in Courage to Teach shares the same concept in relation to teaching, “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”

So a question for those who are leaders in the church:  What are we doing to raise leaders by nurturing call?  What resources do you have to help congregation members and guests to discover their gifts and passions and how God may be calling them as disciples?  What resources do you need, or what do you need to know for this vital ministry?  Let us know.

Rev. Brian Durand
Associate Director for Leadership Development

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