About five years ago I did a series of roundtable lunches with senior leaders of churches. I asked them two questions:
What are you looking for in your next hire?
Why did you, or your executive pastor, have to fire someone on your staff?
After speaking with about 80 leaders across denominations, and from churches of all sizes we landed at about 150 general answers. I took this spreadsheet and had it printed at Fed Ex Kinkos (it was quite large) and hung one copy on a co-worker’s wall, and hung one copy on my office wall.
The goal was to boil down this list in to a common set of core competencies or soft-skills. I wanted to boil this off to five. I think we got it down to twenty something.
There are probably a thousand competencies to doing ministry this is not meant to be exhaustive (so please no hate mail about Biblical training and discipleship) keep in mind that this list assumes a lot.
For one, it assumes theological education is handled elsewhere for those that want to preach and teach. It also assumes that most of the core issues of personal spiritual growth are handled as well.
We were assuming a lot, but we landed on this list for a few reasons:
First, this is what church leaders told us. After all, what is needed in the field is a question that the Church owns. Not colleges or seminaries. This is theirs to answer.
Secondly, the landfills are full of discipleship materials. There are plenty of people on that topic.
At the end of the day, the Kingdom is spending billions on education and discipleship, and I’ve always tried to get at the core issue of why aren’t there enough leaders, and why are we still under-preparing the ones we do have?
Third, we were seeking to answer the question: Why do people get fired? And what ends ministry careers early at churches? In other words, where are the gaps in the skill preparation of how we are preparing people for ministry.
The gap does not appear to be in theological education. We're good there. Our seminaries are full, and there's a ton of content on line.
The gap does not appear to be in discipleship. You may argue that there aren't many disciples and that's fine, but I'll point you to this week's list of books and resources, and last year's landfills.
So where is the gap?
My co-worker Andy Dykhouse boiled this list down (below), and we’ve been tweaking/running on this list for four years. They are broken into thirds and build upon one another. It's a big list, and this is why we need two years of residency just to address the topics and coach through them.
This is the list that eventually led us to launch leadershippathway.org
I’m curious what do you see that we are missing? Email me let’s talk about it.
Passion for Personal Growth
Lead a Meeting
Developer of Others