Discipleship: The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today

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Today BrianSteenhoek and I facilitated a webinar called, “Discipleship:  The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today.”  It seemed to scratch an itch from the responses of those who attended.  We thought we would offer you a condensed version of some of our notes here.  You can also check the entire content of the webinar at  http://www.vantagepoint3.org/index.php/vantagepoint3-webinars/.

We share a similar concern with others who find themselves caring about the deepening and empowering of adult believers…particularly in the church in North America.  Although we are well aware of the similar concern that exists in the church on other continents.

We began the webinar with the thought that discipleship must be at the core of the work of leadership development once we start to talk about “Christian leadership development.”  In fact, we would suggest that discipleship and leadership development from that vantage point is indeed the same work–seamless if you will.

We framed out our discussion sharing some assumptions and then some “prescriptive questions” for thought in one’s own context.  

The Assumptions…

1.  Followership:  If we are concerned with Christian leadership development, we begin and continue with the work of maturing people in their walk with Jesus Christ.

2.  Leadership:  The word leadership for many today surfaces more of a negative perception than a positive one.  And yet, as we mature as believers we are invited to have influence…bearers of Gospel.

3.  Mission:  We align our leadership development efforts towards participation in God’s Mission.

4.  Works:  We participate with the already present action of the Spirit…igniting works with far reaching implications (Eph 2:10).

5.  Person:  We lead out of who we are.  The bulk of our work should center around the shaping of the person, otherwise we run the risk of developing “functional atheists.”

6.  Process:  Careful attention needs to be given to the means of our work…it may hold more potential for change than all the right content.

7.  System:  Taking discipleship seriously, even with a few, will confront the efficiency of our programs and systems.

The Prescriptive Questions…

1.  How are you paying attention to your own followership?  When was the last time you experienced the real love of Jesus? (Pay attention to you)

2.  How will you become intentional at investing in the formation of a few people around you?  (Set a cultural tone)

3.  What process can you begin to use to help you invest in the formation of those persons in your midst who are longing for something more?  (Use an integrated process like The Emerging Journey)

4.  How will you think clearly about how you disciple people toward maturity in Christ, so that it simply becomes “the way you do things around here?”  (Think clearly)

5.  How can character formation serve as a foundation from which other leadership development needs can flourish?  (Flourish from healthy roots)

6.  What could happen if you paid attention to a growing number of people who are ready to grow more deeply, and long to become more empowered towards God’s good work in their lives?  (Anticipate change)

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