Update on Resourcing Churches Developing Leaders
The body of Christ is at the centre of what God is up to in the world, his primary tool to accomplish his mission. But mission – or missio Dei – is not merely an activity of the church; it is an attribute of God. Jesus sent the church into the world to “be missionary.” In the face of this mandate, the church cannot settle for anything less than a radical alignment with God’s mission.
Christ has built his church to be anything but ordinary. The Holy Spirit has equipped her fully for mission: indwelling, power, spiritual gifts, community, fruit and more. And yet, in God’s economy, people have an integral role to play in equipping the body to be mature and united on mission.
Into this equation, the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) has inserted Resourcing Churches Developing Leaders (RCDL). The vision of CCMBC is to help churches and leaders align with God’s mission. Nothing more. Nothing less.
RCDL exists to develop, coach and mentor leaders, resulting in churches on mission. However, a one-sized approach does not fit all. An 11-year-old church of 200 on mission in the suburbs of Montreal may require different inputs than a 41-year-old church of 200 on mission in rural Saskatchewan. A 59-year-old pastor will experience different developmental realities than a 23-year-old pastor. Crucial to resourcing churches and developing leaders for missio Dei is the ability to know what resourcing and developing is needed in the context of a given local leader or church.
RCDL is a new ministry. Much of the past year has been spent developing capacity to meet the resourcing and developmental needs of churches and leaders. Some of RCDL’s support is accessed through its L2L website (leaders2learners.ca) through two clickable links: Coach Me and Coach Us.
The Coach Me assessment identifies a leader’s lifelong learning interests in the areas of spiritual renewal, theological enrichment and skill of hand, and clarifies where a leader is at in his or her development. The assessment is followed by a coaching conversation that seeks to identify next steps and guides the leader toward appropriate resources, coaching relationships and online clusters.
The Coach Us assessment clarifies where a church is at on mission. Completed by church leadership teams, the results are foundational in prayerfully determining the resources a church needs and the coaching path that will best support its mission journey.
L2L is a website, but it is far more. It’s a relationship, a conversation and a resourcing community, bringing together learners who have needs and learners who’ve found answers and are willing to share them. At will, leaders can download resources that have been placed into L2L by others, or share their own. L2L is also designed to serve both French- and English-speaking leaders.
This past year, RCDL laid down a pathway for training coaches. Together with provincial conference ministers and executive directors, RCDL invited more than 35 people to be trained as coaches, using COACH Model. Since that point, a training team has been equipped to train other coaches, providing traction for a coaching movement across Canada.
RCDL holds no corner on equipping leaders or resourcing churches. Collaboration is necessary; an expression, in fact, of the unity to which Jesus called the body. Through conversations with provincial conference ministers and executive directors over the past year, our RCDL team forged the vision for Coach Me and Coach Us.
Beyond that, RCDL partners with C2C Network to train gospel coaches (using Gospel Coach, developed by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood). We partner with Bible colleges and MB Biblical Seminary Canada through the Leadership Training Matching Grant and informal training, as well as through a presidents’ network.
In the last year, aspects of the ministry of the stewardship representatives have come within the purview of RCDL; the ministry of equipping churches to think and act biblically with finances continues. Two new resources have been developed to engage churches in conversations around stewardship: Windjammer and The Genius of Generosity.
We also initiated a network for the 11 MB camping ministries directors from across Canada. Camping ministries are important to the church. Annually, more than 1,000 young leaders are trained for camp leadership through camping ministries. They return to their local churches changed. Beyond that, many thousands make first-time commitments to Christ or are equipped for a life of following Jesus. To explore what it means to develop more and better young leaders, RCDL has secured Merv Boschman as a quarter-time coach to resource camping directors and bring their learnings to bear on how we train young leaders.
RCDL envisions churches resourced and leaders developed, aligned with God’s radical mission. Nothing more. Nothing less.