The Journey Blog

Reflections on the art of leading

Five Culture-shaping Practices - Collaborative Community

Join a collaborative community

Everyone knows that Theological education is vital and necessary for ministry leaders. Many seminaries do this quite well. If you have a conversation with a pastor about this you will find that seminary education is only the beginning of learning. For the newly ordained minister or ministry leader it all remains mostly theory until the experience of immersion into parish or parachurch ministry.

One of the wise things Jesus did in training and spiritually forming the disciples was to make use of every life situation as a learning laboratory. He and his disciples lived life together virtually nonstop, for three years. Paul's practice was similar. He engaged in a lively, risky, collaborative mix of mature missionary leaders, younger missionary team member-learners, and a widely varied, curious entourage who did not follow Jesus. This took place over an eighteen months time period. (See the narrative of Paul's season in Ephesus in Acts 19 which I've dubbed "The Pauline Matrix").

For lasting change and growth in leadership, we love to encourage ministry leaders to consider the many, simple ways they might emulate these practices in their own ministries, and look for ways to form honest, supportive, collaborative communities of reflective learning.

Imagine what a difference that could make to discouraged pastors, and how it would improve the attrition among ministers.