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    Jim Wallace

    “Begin with the end in mind.”

    Our last several posts moved along this trajectory: developing distinctly Christian leaders is disruptive, messy and costly. You know, like people themselves. There are patterns and principles that enlighten an otherwise complex and confusing way of development. But this knowledge doesn’t make leadership growth any less rigorous. Or make enabling grace any less optional.

    Collaboration with a robust, accredited seminary process is costly. Partnership with diverse churches and pastors (since they are also people) is messy. Engagement with pointed developmental disciplines in a cohort environment is demanding. Most pointedly, seeking to follow The One who constantly bewildered and broke even the most sincere followers is disruptive. Grace not optional.

    Yet there’s promise in this “head filled, heart engaged, hands dirty” process. It facilitates spiritual cross-training — training that’s not merely preparatory for future ministry. Emerging leaders embed in ongoing ministry and integrate varied aspects of Christian life and leadership. That way leaders are effectively ‘sent.’ How so? Because sent to an integrated (and tension-filled) lifestyle in which they were already ‘called’ and ‘trained.’ It’s just so hard to maintain attention to this process with real people, experiencing the bumps of real life.

    So, as Stephen Covey recommends, we must begin with the end in mind — and daily return to it. In our neck of the woods, that connects to our mission of “training leaders to multiply… Christ-centered… disciples and churches.” The end: Christ-centered people for all peoples. A few statements help remind and redirect us toward this end.

    “We don’t use people to get ministry done. We use ministry to get people done.”

    “We reject using people to complete (self-directed & self-serving) ministry labors.”

    “We require that ministry labors cultivate (Christ-directed & Christ-serving) multiplying leaders.”

    Let’s conclude this series on ‘training leaders’ with two sets of questions for further consideration:

    How are you “getting done”? What do you sense you most need — today — in a “head filled, heart engaged, hands dirty” process to grow as a leader who multiplies Christ-centered disciples?

    Are you helping other people “get done”? What do you sense they most need —today — in a “head filled, heart engaged, hands dirty” process to grow as a Christ-centered leader?