Intelligent Continuing Education for 2013

What does our congregation need from the role of the pastor in order to fulfill its calling more fully and effectively? Given where our church is in its development and given its vision and mission, what does it need from the pastoral position? To accomplish its mission, the pastor must ___________ this year.
-Question From the Pinnacle Learning Plan for Leadership Coaching

How do you know where to focus your learning in any given year? As 2013 dawns, you will continue to learn and develop yourself as a minister, either intentionally or haphazardly. Why not try something different this year? Perhaps it’s time to develop yourself as a pastoral leader so that the payoff is actualized in your ministry setting; the payoff is mission-specific.

The set of questions above are part of Pinnacle’s Learning Plan for clergy and church staff participating in our Leadership Coaching Project. Often we use it with individual Leadership Coaching clients as well.

Why this question?
Pastoral leadership is not about you (or me), it’s about the mission. The first lesson of effective leadership is humbling – “It’s not about me.” Also, using phrases like, “from the role of the pastor,” injects some distance between us and the ministry we do. This helps depersonalize the question, allowing us to bring some level of objectivity to the answers.

Prerequisite Clarity Required
Savvy readers immediately recognize the clarity needed before these questions can be answered. To know what’s needed from the pastoral role for the immediate future, a congregation and pastor need
Clarity regarding this church’s mission and vision
Clarity regarding the pastor’s leadership competencies
Clarity regarding the pastor’s sense of call to serve in this particular congregation
Clarity regarding the congregation’s health and stage of development

When this kind of clarity exists, then answering the questions above is possible. If this kind of clarity is absent, then one’s learning plan may be gain clarity on these items first.

Outcomes for the Pastor
When the pastor can answer the learning questions above, then…
The resulting Learning Plan is not self-indulgent or selfish; irrelevant to the needs of one’s ministry context
Clarity shines on which leadership strengths to maximize and develop, along with which Achilles Heels to address. Not all the strengths are needed at once, while not all the weaknesses are problematic.
Ministry-specific learning and self-development goals are clearly identified and describes. This minister who works this process is a focused learner, equipping the saints (self this time) for the work of ministry.

May we sharpen our ministry tools, more effectively engaging the mission given to us.
Mark Tidsworth, President