Thursday, 12 June 2008

lead yourself out of a job

"Where and how do we educate, train, and inspire leaders capable of influencing others for the sake of Jesus Christ?


New leaders don't just happen


... leadership development is not a program. It is about strong relationships in which people grow to be what God designed them to be. Sort of like what Jesus made happen when he selected 12 learners to be with him. Twelve guys in whom he—and he only—saw leadership (or influence) potential.


"We'll try to tell you everything we've learned about following Jesus, hearing his call, discovering our individual giftedness, and what it means to grow in biblically-defined character," we said. "We'll tell you whatever we've learned about influencing people.


In the 19th century an Englishman, A. B. Bruce, wrote a book, The Training of the Twelve, in which he tried to trace the curriculum Jesus followed. I recommend his book. But I warn you: it's no easy read.


At the midpoint of each year, every LDI person learns to write his or her story. For each this is a gigantic challenge: to chronicle the flow of one's life-journey (its triumphs and its testings), aware of the patterns of God's involvement in life.

For some this exercise is a piece of cake; for others it's something like a lifetime achievement. At some point, each group member gets the opportunity to read his/her story. Gail and I are first readers to set the pattern. And as we do, we leave very little out so as to demonstrate what vulnerability and transparency look like, where God shakes things up and orders our paths.
After listening to stories for many years, I can tell you this: almost without exception, every person's story is marked with pockets of deep, deep sadness and tragedy. Lots of stuff that never gets surfaced in the course of normal church life.

The result of story-telling? A growing bondedness that beats anything I've ever seen in larger church-life. A love, a caring, a level of friendship that could never have happened without the telling of stories.

After every story, there are questions and conversation. Finally, the storyteller of the evening is invited to the center of the room where, surrounded by the others, who lay hands upon that person, there follows about 30 minutes of the most moving praying I've ever heard. Many learn how to pray with power during those prayer times.


I should have insisted that something like LDI be in my job description: that 20 percent of my pastoral time each year be invested in 15-20 people. Let someone else do the committee work. Give me a dozen or so people each year (well, give them to Gail and me), and we'll pour whatever we've got into them."

~ Gordon MacDonald "Ministry's Sweet Spot"

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