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Developing mature church leaders begins with the end in mind by defining three measurable competencies of a godly, effective leader. These competencies result in a Leadership Competency Profile that is essential for effective, holistic training.

In this next video, you’ll learn the danger of “one size fits all” leadership training and the power of outcome-based learning to transform church leaders.

In this course, you’ll be equipped to:

  • Understand the primacy of Christian character in leadership development
  • Demonstrate how leadership development occurs in relationships
  • Explain three effective training methods for developing leaders
  • Implement effective church leadership development models
  • Describe core competencies needed for effective church leadership
  • Evaluate calling, giftedness, and core competencies for church leaders
  • Develop vision, mission, values, and plans for effective leadership development
  • Design and implement a practical leadership development plan in your church

This brief video (11:27) will help you define what a mature, effective church leader really looks like.

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Leadership Profile

In this session, we’re going to take a look at the leader’s profile or the leadership competency profile. This is one component of another leadership development model called the competency model or outcome based model. The idea of the leader profile is clearly defining what a mature, effective church leader looks like. Seeking to avoid the concept if you aim at nothing, you hit it every time, the concept here is that it’s vitally important in leadership development to have a clear understanding of what that end goal or what we might say the end product of a mature leader actually looks like. If it is not defined and clearly understood, it inevitably will not be accomplished.

Now, this is just a general survey for you. There’s the leadership competency profile, which is the starting point where the leader understands the goal that is being moved toward. Then, there is the leader assessment, which is a comparison and a contrast of the individual leader’s competencies with those in the ideal leadership profile in terms of a holistic list of competencies that we will come back to. Then, based on that assessment, there is an acute realization always of particular areas that need to be focused on more than others. That then is the primary focus of the learning methods. Here, we will look at the concept of a learning covenant or a learning contract to give specificity and focus to the development of the leader under the oversight of a supervisor or a mentor.

Then, of course, if the learning methods have been effective, which usually they’re not, but if they have been, then there will be outcomes. The concept here is that the goal is not just simply teaching, but the goal is learning. As you heard me say earlier, the goal of teaching is to make learning possible. Therefore, the concept of evaluating the measurable outcomes of the learning methods that have been employed is vital to the development process because once there has been an evaluation of learning outcomes, then there can be an ongoing called an iterative process, an ongoing process by which the leader profile is revised as well as the assessment and even the learning methodologies. This is the overarching concept, and we’re going to be diving more deeply into this first session right here. We’re going to be diving more deeply into this first area in this session called the leader profile.

Now, this leadership competency profile is made up of three categories of competencies. One would be character competencies, the concept of spiritual maturity. The other would be ministry competencies, the idea of ministry skills. Then, knowledge competencies, in particular for ministry development, we’re looking here at knowledge competencies in the areas of Biblical studies, theological studies, and practical studies. As you are probably familiar by now, you can see how these different aspects of character and skills and knowledge are all, in many ways, overlapping and are meant to converge in the heart or the soul of the leader as the leader is being developed.

Now, let’s dive more deeply now and take a look at each one of these in particular, starting with the character competencies. Those are clearly given to us in scripture, often overlooked. It’s amazing how, I have said so many times already in this series, that God has condescended to inscripturate a literal job description of what a church leader is supposed to look like in the New Testament. It’s just embarrassingly neglected in the development of leaders. I’ve listed here 20- some competencies that we’ll put in the category of character competencies in 1 Timothy 3. As you go on in Titus 1 and then also other passages in 2 Timothy and Acts 2, Acts 20, Hebrews 13, you can see 20 or so other character competencies. Here, we see why one of the fundamental theses of this particular course is that character is primary in leadership development. Now, this is why.

That would be character competencies in terms of spiritual maturity. Now, let’s look at ministry competencies in light of ministry skills. Now, before we do that, I want to try to help you understand that what we’re looking at here would be more in the area of social science. Studies of effective leaders, be in profit or nonprofit organizations, churches, or businesses, the concepts still apply what is an effective leader. All truth is God’s truth. General revelation just has to be interpreted properly as does special revelation. The model that I am showing you here is based on decades of research. One particular organization did over 30 years of study, the Association of Theological Schools, which is an accreditation agency for most seminaries and colleges, theological colleges in the West, in the United States. These general revelation insights are brought to us by these kinds of studies of effective leaders over decades of research. We have been able to see now over time statistical validation of this research. Let’s just take a look at these.

Notice that there is an overlap. Just as we saw in Scripture the importance of integrity and spirituality and the family, we should expect that general revelation, studies of effective church leaders would see an overlap of exactly those things, but you can also see that you have a broader set of competencies drawn from special revelation or the social science studies of effective leaders here. This is the second category. Between 15 and 20, again, here. Now, there are 95 competencies in all in this leadership model. So far, you’ve seen the character competencies and the ministry competencies. Now, let’s look at the knowledge competencies of Bible, theology, and practical.

In terms of the Biblical knowledge competencies, that would historically and traditionally a knowledge of Biblical content from Old Testament courses, New Testament courses on different books of the Bible. Theological would be traditionally systematic theology. A subset of that is often Biblical theology as well as the study of church history. Then, in practical, you see the application of the Biblical and theological to life in the context of ministry through, I’ve listed several here for you, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, missions, preaching, teaching, leadership, personal ethics, church development, counseling, and social ethics, just to name some of the more foundational concepts where a church leader needs to have these knowledge competencies.

To look at these more specifically under Bible content, just to give you an example. Bible content, the mature leader knows and demonstrates how to apply Old Testament, New Testament content to real life and ministry. In terms of Bible languages, knows and demonstrates how to use the original languages in preparation for effective teaching and preaching. Then, in Bible interpretation, knows and demonstrates how to apply sound principles and methods of Bible interpretation in preparation for effective teaching and preaching. Now, in the area of doctrine, Bible doctrine, knows and demonstrates how to apply systematic and Biblical theology to real life and ministry.

Apologetics and philosophy, knows and demonstrates how to defend the Christian faith against false religions and philosophies. Then, in church history, knows and demonstrates how to apply practical insights to today’s issues drawn from the development of Bible doctrine and church mission in history.

What I want you to notice here with all of these, even the knowledge competencies, I want you to notice the critical importance of how every category, even in the knowledge competencies, is actually defined in terms of not just the knowledge itself but the application of that knowledge to life and ministry. This is the first component of five, the leadership competency profile. After this session, we will then take a deeper look at the concept of leadership assessment to compare and contrast one’s own competencies with the model to determine those particular areas where learning methods need to be developed and then learning outcomes measured and the process continuing from there.

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Leadership Development Models

In this session, we’re going to be taking a look at leadership development models. We’re seeking to answer the question, how does a church leader develop greater personal maturity and ministry effectiveness?

There are several models that have been developed, two that actually are focusing on the same practical applications would be one by Ted Ward called the Fence Model, one by Robert Clinton called the Railroad Track model. Both of these models are communicating three very fundamental dynamics that are almost always a part of effective leadership development.

We’ll use Clinton’s model, the Railroad Track, for this session. Those three dynamics are number one, instruction. This is either in a formal or non-formal environment where you learn concepts or ideas or principles or doctrines. The second dynamic is experience. This is actually being in the field doing ministry experience, and then this really the most significant because you can actually have instruction and no experience. Or you can have experience and no instruction, or you can have both of them going on at the same time but not connecting.

That’s often the problem with traditional field education. What’s being learned in the classroom, one set of concepts and ideas, and yet, the experience on the field is not connected to the concepts or the theology or whatever the principles are in the classroom. And so, the real key dynamic here is the idea of periodic reflection and application with a mentor or a coach or a supervisor, and this doesn’t necessarily need to be one person. It could be several.

But the concept is, periodic times where, to use another metaphor, someone helps you connect the dots between the theory and the reality of your experience. You may recall my reference to a quote I like very much from John Frame, “Theology is application. If it does not edify, it is worthless.” And the concept here would instruction in theory or concepts or ideas or doctrine that is not actually applied to life, and ministry is worthless.

Now what’s interesting is when studies have been done of Jesus’ development of the disciples, it’s very, very clear that as Robert Coleman says this first quote, “His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow.” And there’s much to learn from his methodology of developing leaders. Coleman goes on to say, “Having called his men, Jesus made a practice of being with them. This was the essence of his training program, just letting his disciples follow him.”

Coleman goes on to say, “Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation.” And then one more excerpt from his book ‘Master Plan of Evangelism’, “If we do not make the journey from theories and ideals to concrete situations, then the concrete situations will be lost under a smog of words.” You can see here that, although Coleman might not even be familiar with this model, he is making the same point, and that is, knowledge must be connected with experience normally under a mentor or a coach or a supervisor in the field.

Now, it’s very interesting when you look at this passage in Acts 4. It’s somewhat striking as you think of education and ministry preparation. In Acts 4 we read, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,” and now note this, “and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” And then notice this next phrase, and or but, it could translated, “They recognized that they had been with Jesus.” What a contrast between those who are formally educated and have not been with Jesus, and those who are uneducated and have, showing the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on them by their boldness.

I shared with you earlier an ancient Chinese proverb that also taps into these dynamics, bears repeating here:

“I do, you watch. I do, you help. You do, and I help. You do, and I watch.”

Another Chinese proverb I want to share with you here that applies, a new one in this series, “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.”

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