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  • Training Leaders | It’s Confusing

    Jim Wallace

    “The shortest distance between two points is straight line.” Maybe so. But my story of leadership growth in gospel ministry is a long, perplexing journey of following Jesus around the globe. There were diverse locations and positions and tasks, over many years. There was much experimentation with varied ideas and approaches. The relational road was frequently bumpy. And the potholes of my own dysfunctions continually threatened the path arriving here.

    And where is ‘here’?

    Here’ is a place of settled persuasion that the development of Christian leaders is a disruptive, messy and costly path. Engaging the theological art of gospel ministry for broken people, in holistic ways, is overwhelming. Gospel ministers are formed by an abundance of tension-filled headaches and terrifying heartaches. Without immense personal support, the path is fraught with loneliness and confusion.

    Comfortingly, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone. Many others have shared a similar, disorienting journey through Christian leadership — a trajectory that enlightens my own murky pathway. Particularly with church planters and cross-cultural missionaries, the broad strokes of a narrative familiar to mine can be painted this way:

    1. Gravitation to gospel ministry and initial challenging experiences, leading to…
    2. Need for a deeper theological understanding as the ministry grows, leading to…
    3. Desire for greater organizational competency to support growth, leading to…
    4. Awareness of deep dysfunctions in the heart that most affect life-giving growth

    And looking at it from this perspective, simplified though it is, makes me wonder how this path might inform developmental processes…

    …but that’s getting ahead of myself in this first post.

    Rather let me close part one of this series on ‘training leaders’ by raising a few questions to consider together:

    What are the most significant confusions you have encountered in ministry of the gospel?
    What did your response(s) to those confusions accomplish in and through you as a leader?