Two years ago we made a very deliberate, albeit costly, move in our ministry to create a concrete leadership pathway. We believed that in order for someone to effectively lead others in the gospel, they themselves had to be living out the gospel. As we explored what that would look like, the Leaders: Basic Course was created and its accompanying workbook was published last summer. This resource has been bearing fruit in the lives of our leaders as well as among the people they lead. Men and women are experiencing the gospel in new and fresh ways and some are experiencing what it means to live out the gospel for the first time. We have heard numerous personal testimonies of how God is working through this training and we thank him for that gift.
When we first moved to Montréal, I inherited a small group of guys to train who were desiring to plant churches. Since then we have added several more to this group of church planting residents. Thus, the decision to rework our training strategy and start by building a foundation cost us a lot. It forced us to shift attention away from those who seemed to be the farthest along the road to vocational ministry. But if we hadn’t made this move, it would have cost us even more in the long run. Without a pipeline to create movement and funnel people toward leadership roles, we would simply have to wait for candidates to show up looking to be trained. Thankfully, God is still calling men to us from outside our church who want to be influenced by us. But we are able to spend the bulk of our energy on the normal cycle of leading people into faith and then helping them mature to the point where they are able to lead others.
Toward that end, we have just completed the second tier of our apprenticeship training, the Leaders: Spiritual Leadership Course. We’ve been training existing missional community and ministry leaders with the material since January and now it has been published and is available for purchase. Though the intensive coaching and discipling of all leaders will continue from this point forward, we are now back to the point where more energy can be devoted to training pastors and church planters. They benefit by having personally experienced a process that they can use to reproduce themselves into others. And at the same time we can be confident that there will be a steady flow of up and coming leaders who have the proven character and competency to lead the church well as she grows in unity and maturity in Jesus Christ.