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Thread: Leadership Training for Pastors

  1. #1
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Leadership Training for Pastors

    How strong of an education were you given for leadership as pastor?

    I ask this because I starting my own small business selling essential oils and am reading a lot of the training materials. I find that I am reading more about leadership than I did in the ministerial course of study. It got me to thinking about the concept of leadership training that we provide for pastor. It could be that I missed something or maybe there just isn't much out there?

    I know that leadership education is a part of the M. Div. but for others, where would one find leadership training for pastors?
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Zero. I did take a couple of course on leadership but they were really management. (There is a pretty big difference)

    I received a lot of training in leadership both formal and informal/mentoring when I was in a corporate environment. My first DS also did a lot of leadership mentoring with me both formal at pastor's meetings and informal by calling me up and processing with me.
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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Zero. I did take a couple of course on leadership but they were really management. (There is a pretty big difference)

    I received a lot of training in leadership both formal and informal/mentoring when I was in a corporate environment. My first DS also did a lot of leadership mentoring with me both formal at pastor's meetings and informal by calling me up and processing with me.
    I agree that there is a difference between management and leadership. I had one class in the course of study that came anywhere close to leadership and that was my administration class. We had one day for finances, and the rest was spent on managing conflict in the church. I did get some good leadership books from it. But that was it.

    It used to be that what I thought was needed for revival and growing churches was a spiritually on fire church but now I am really realizing that good leadership is also a significant part of growth.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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    Senior Member Dale Schaeffer's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    I had one undergraduate class on Church Leadership and Administration. I found it extremely helpful and it helped to encourage me to read leadership books for myself. I had no formal leadership class in my MDiv program. My leadership training was from local church pastors who I served alongside and DS's who invested in me. Leadership is something that requires context to develop so a classroom is not a great environment for leadership training. I think the church should take responsibility for the leadership development of her pastors and that the academy should take responsibility for the theological training of pastors.
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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Schaeffer View Post
    I had one undergraduate class on Church Leadership and Administration. I found it extremely helpful and it helped to encourage me to read leadership books for myself. I had no formal leadership class in my MDiv program. My leadership training was from local church pastors who I served alongside and DS's who invested in me. Leadership is something that requires context to develop so a classroom is not a great environment for leadership training. I think the church should take responsibility for the leadership development of her pastors and that the academy should take responsibility for the theological training of pastors.
    I couldn't agree with this assessment any more. It would be a monumental step forward if every district were required to develop a plan to make sure that every pastor was being (1) discipled, (2) mentored. Unfortunately, I have not witnessed either in my limited experience, and I have heard of very little in this way from friends all over. It really seems like this should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it never gets done.
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

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    Thanks Dale Schaeffer - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    How strong of an education were you given for leadership as pastor?

    I ask this because I starting my own small business selling essential oils and am reading a lot of the training materials. I find that I am reading more about leadership than I did in the ministerial course of study. It got me to thinking about the concept of leadership training that we provide for pastor. It could be that I missed something or maybe there just isn't much out there?

    I know that leadership education is a part of the M. Div. but for others, where would one find leadership training for pastors?
    Susan,
    Not sure which district you are in there in Penns Woods, but when I pastored in Milton on the Philly district, they had an excellent program for ministers that the district itself initiated. PCDC (Pastors Career Development Center or Personal Career Development Center--something like that). Milton was our second church and if I had the training and support like I received there, my first pastorate likely would have been longer.

    Formal leadership training had not been part of my education otherwise.

    Later on, I moved to the Pittsburgh district and helped launch a very similar program there, Shepherds Advance. While I don't know how those programs are currently functioning, they both attempted to address leadership skills among a host of other critical issues facing pastors, staff and ministers of all varieties (chaplains, etc.)

    Your experience in starting an income producing business outside of the church is not uncommon as the place where many acquire those leadership skills needed in ministry.
    Thanks Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bob Hunter's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Schaeffer View Post
    I had one undergraduate class on Church Leadership and Administration. I found it extremely helpful and it helped to encourage me to read leadership books for myself. I had no formal leadership class in my MDiv program. My leadership training was from local church pastors who I served alongside and DS's who invested in me. Leadership is something that requires context to develop so a classroom is not a great environment for leadership training. I think the church should take responsibility for the leadership development of her pastors and that the academy should take responsibility for the theological training of pastors.
    I teach formal leadership courses for Grand Canyon University. We can teach leadership in theory, but those ideas need a context. Most of my students have, in some capacity, worked professionally so our discussions are focused on cultivating a better understanding the practice of leadership. Leadership is an art form and it takes real life experiences to develop. It is best learned in the context of real life not in the classroom. The experiential learning theory is my default method of teaching.

    I use this theory in my ministry to young men. We create situations where problem solving, team work, and leadership initiatives are needed. We don't always know exactly what will be learned, we let it take shape around the decisions that are made in those situations, in a sense the young men involved create the outcome. As a leader, I simply ask questions and help them debrief the experience. I can lecture leadership principles and raise awareness, but actually doing it is what is remembered.
    Thanks Dale Schaeffer, Billy Cox, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by David Troxler View Post
    Susan,
    Not sure which district you are in there in Penns Woods, but when I pastored in Milton on the Philly district, they had an excellent program for ministers that the district itself initiated. PCDC (Pastors Career Development Center or Personal Career Development Center--something like that). Milton was our second church and if I had the training and support like I received there, my first pastorate likely would have been longer.

    Formal leadership training had not been part of my education otherwise.

    Later on, I moved to the Pittsburgh district and helped launch a very similar program there, Shepherds Advance. While I don't know how those programs are currently functioning, they both attempted to address leadership skills among a host of other critical issues facing pastors, staff and ministers of all varieties (chaplains, etc.)

    Your experience in starting an income producing business outside of the church is not uncommon as the place where many acquire those leadership skills needed in ministry.
    I just ADORE PCDC!!! This year's has been great and such a help for all of us. And that is great that you started it at the Pitt district.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I couldn't agree with this assessment any more. It would be a monumental step forward if every district were required to develop a plan to make sure that every pastor was being (1) discipled, (2) mentored. Unfortunately, I have not witnessed either in my limited experience, and I have heard of very little in this way from friends all over. It really seems like this should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it never gets done.
    In the last 30 years, I have had 27 pastors and other pastoral mentors [official and unofficial] in my life. I would say 7 of them were excellent or good, 8 were in the middle and 12 were mediocre or horrendous. If it wasn't for those 7 excellent/good pastors and mentors, I would have given up on my calling to pastoral ministry because those 12 horrendous ones 'bout did me in. For some of them I'll say that training on what it takes to be a good leader would have really made a difference in their ministries [although, 3 of them should rethink if they were called to ministry]. After getting leadership training with my business, I am left with a gut feeling that it is a miracle that we have any decent churches at all. Harsh sounding I know, but I am still processing what I am discovering.

    While I can see peoples' points that leadership training is more effective in real situations and not in a classroom, I don't believe that leaving leadership training up to a loose mentor format in the local church environment can work either. We can't assume that everyone will get a great mentor who can teach well. I have seen in my life and in the lives of other pastors that I know the impact that having a good/bad mentor can have.

    Anyways, it sounds like I am not unique in how I am experiencing leadership training.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


    Become an organ donor ~ donatelife.net ~ www.organdonor.gov

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Unger View Post
    In the last 30 years, I have had 27 pastors and other pastoral mentors [official and unofficial] in my life. I would say 7 of them were excellent or good, 8 were in the middle and 12 were mediocre or horrendous. If it wasn't for those 7 excellent/good pastors and mentors, I would have given up on my calling to pastoral ministry because those 12 horrendous ones 'bout did me in. For some of them I'll say that training on what it takes to be a good leader would have really made a difference in their ministries [although, 3 of them should rethink if they were called to ministry]. After getting leadership training with my business, I am left with a gut feeling that it is a miracle that we have any decent churches at all. Harsh sounding I know, but I am still processing what I am discovering.

    While I can see peoples' points that leadership training is more effective in real situations and not in a classroom, I don't believe that leaving leadership training up to a loose mentor format in the local church environment can work either. We can't assume that everyone will get a great mentor who can teach well. I have seen in my life and in the lives of other pastors that I know the impact that having a good/bad mentor can have.

    Anyways, it sounds like I am not unique in how I am experiencing leadership training.
    I hope you didn't hear me say anything about "loose mentoring." I mentioned two things discipleship and mentoring. I think those are two very different things, but both require intentionality and intensity. I agree that these things cannot be left to loose, informal, grassroots kinds of efforts. They instead need to be a top priority for DSs. There is nothing more important for a DS to do than to disciple and mentor the pastors on the district. This is not to say that the DS should directly do that for every pastor (we don't expect pastors to disciple and mentor every single congregant). But discipleship and mentoring is ultimately the responsibility of the pastor to put programs and structures in place to make sure that every congregant is mentored and discipled in appropriate ways.

    Let me share a bit of my story. When I left seminary I was keenly aware that I had a really good education, but my on the ground training/mentoring was weak. So when I spoke with DSs I asked specifically about their mentoring strategy. I interviewed at 4 churches all on different districts. Only one DS was able to tell me that they had a mentoring program for pastors on their district.
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

    - Bryan Stone Evangelism After Christendom
    Thanks Bob Hunter, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  11. #11
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Zero. I did take a couple of course on leadership but they were really management. (There is a pretty big difference)
    Ditto, most of my education was theological in nature (more theoretical than practical too btw) but I was fortunate that I was a bi-vocational minister for most of my placements and studies and in the process I ascended the "corporate ladder from a tradesman into supervisory positions and later management so I was able to pick up many "in house" practical training courses in leadership which I have found extremely helpful in the ministry.

    Since then I have attended more intentional leadership training workshops and courses through the church. I think however, that in today's world this has been an area of weakness in our Ministerial preparation.
    Thanks Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I hope you didn't hear me say anything about "loose mentoring." I mentioned two things discipleship and mentoring. I think those are two very different things, but both require intentionality and intensity. I agree that these things cannot be left to loose, informal, grassroots kinds of efforts. They instead need to be a top priority for DSs. There is nothing more important for a DS to do than to disciple and mentor the pastors on the district. This is not to say that the DS should directly do that for every pastor (we don't expect pastors to disciple and mentor every single congregant). But discipleship and mentoring is ultimately the responsibility of the pastor to put programs and structures in place to make sure that every congregant is mentored and discipled in appropriate ways.

    Let me share a bit of my story. When I left seminary I was keenly aware that I had a really good education, but my on the ground training/mentoring was weak. So when I spoke with DSs I asked specifically about their mentoring strategy. I interviewed at 4 churches all on different districts. Only one DS was able to tell me that they had a mentoring program for pastors on their district.
    I am not a detailed oriented person so when I say "loose mentoring" I am looking at more of the big picture than what you probably are. So for me, your example does say loose mentoring because you only found it in one district while three had nothing. That concerns me greatly about our pastoral preparation.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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    Regular Member Michael Gentry's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Susan: having grown up in a fairly large church (from 75 -350 in 15 years) and being required to attend church board meetings and S.S. workers meetings as a local licensed & later district licensed minister I knew a lot about leadership in a large church. The college also trained me for leadership in a large church. What I desperately needed in my first church pastorate averaging 14 people was how to be a leader in such a small group. I guess I did well it grew from 14 - 42 in 2 1/2 years, but it was difficult. They were all the time telling me that I needed to come down off my large church ideas. LOL One thing I see lacking in education is in training a pastor how to handle a small church situation.
    Not all pastors walk out of college into their first church running 200 or more. LOL
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Leadership Training for Pastors

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gentry View Post
    Susan: having grown up in a fairly large church (from 75 -350 in 15 years) and being required to attend church board meetings and S.S. workers meetings as a local licensed & later district licensed minister I knew a lot about leadership in a large church. The college also trained me for leadership in a large church. What I desperately needed in my first church pastorate averaging 14 people was how to be a leader in such a small group. I guess I did well it grew from 14 - 42 in 2 1/2 years, but it was difficult. They were all the time telling me that I needed to come down off my large church ideas. LOL One thing I see lacking in education is in training a pastor how to handle a small church situation.
    Not all pastors walk out of college into their first church running 200 or more. LOL
    I experienced that myself. I have always been in churches ranging from 100 - 160. For a few years I was in a church of 50. But then I spent a year in a church plant in which 30 was a rare, huge number. It was hard to wrap my mind around that, much less figure out how to lead such a small amount.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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