Developing a System for Leadership Development – MSC Leadership Training

Is your leadership development haphazard?

Do you have a system for developing leaders or do you just pick the low hanging fruit? Are you being intentional in your church’s leadership development process? In other words, do you have a leadership pipeline to move someone from the pew into a high level leadership position?

When talking about leadership development within the church, we need to have the big vision in mind. We cannot just narrowly focus on developing leaders for our own ministry areas, Our goal and vision needs to be bigger than that – it needs to be about creating kingdom workers for the harvest.

When I developed this Mid-Size Community (MSC) leadership training program (which became a farm system to develop future church planters), I was not going off of nouveau leadership sayings and tacky workshop techniques. Rather, I created this system intentionally around a multi-dimensional adult-education oriented model for leadership development.

As a result, this program takes into account a variety of learning methods, such as, personal growth, conceptual understanding, feedback, and skill building. This program is also focused on developing leadership competencies, in addition to role based skills.

It is important to note that this program is merely the primary/initial training for MSC leaders and leadership team members. Successful ongoing leadership requires secondary/subsequent training, which will be the topic for another post/workbook.

The diagram here outlines how the leadership training is laid out. Each session can be accomplished in a two-hour time frame. Furthermore, the all-day retreat setting gives you the opportunity to observe the personality of these future leaders in a relaxed environment. [Read more…]

What Church Leaders Can Learn From Uber and Lyft

NYC taxi
Roman Kruglov – Flickr

How long have you been driving for?

Anytime I’m in a Taxi, this is typically one of my go-to questions. It also inevitably turns into an opportunity for the cab driver to share their personal story with me (this is one of the 5 BLESS steps in missional living). Last time I asked this question, the driver opened up the internal world of the taxi industry, and gave me insight into how and why companies like Uber and Lyft are gaining so much ground.
It costs $300,000 to buy a permit to drive a cab in this city…
I couldn’t believe my ears when the cab driver told me how it cost to drive a cab in Edmonton (Canada). As I continued to pry into the industry, he continued…

A limited number of permits are issued once every few years, and when they are, it’s a complete lottery. Here’s the catch though, in order to enter that lottery, you need to have already been driving a cab for a couple of years, which is why I’m leasing this cab from someone else. If you’re lucky enough to have your name drawn, then it’ll cost you less than a $1000 to buy the license through the city. Once you get that license, you can either use it yourself, lease it out to someone else, or you can sell it for $300,000 – that’s the going rate these days.

If I was talking to a lawyer, doctor or a dentist and they told me that it was going to cost them $300,000 to buy someone else’s practice, I wouldn’t even blink. All you would have to do is crunch the numbers and it would make sense. However, how does it make sense for a cab driver to dish out $300,000 to buy a permit, when they might only make a couple hundred dollars a day, plus the cost of maintenance and fuel?

I was beginning to understand why companies like Uber and Lyft were gaining so much ground in the transportation industry and why taxi drivers and unions were trying so hard to prevent them from coming into their cities. [Read more…]

4 Ways to “Flip the Classroom” in your Church

Common leadership dilemmas:

  • When’s the last time 100% of your leaders showed up at a training event?
  • Do you ever find yourself summarizing training for those who missed it?
  • How frequently do you hold orientation training for new leaders?

You wouldn’t have these problems if everyone just cleared their schedule for your training events (like they should!!), but sadly this just isn’t the case. So what’s the solution? Is it to hold additional training events? Or is there a smarter way to train all of your leaders?

The purpose of this post is to introduce the concept of “flipping the classroom,” as well as provide you with ways to use this in your church leadership.

Have you ever heard of “flipping the classroom?”

This is a hot topic in the educational world that is rapidly gaining ground as the new standard amongst educators. Let me explain it for you.

In the traditional classroom…

  • The teacher is the sage on the stage.
  • The classroom time consists of the teacher lecturing, possibly answering questions, and then assigning homework.
  • The teacher needs to standardize the lesson to the lowest common denominator.
  • Homework is completed at home. So, if the student doesn’t understand something, they have to either ask a parent, tutor, friend, or go back to class with their homework incomplete.

In the “flipped classroom”…

  • The teacher is the guide on the side.
  • The student watches the lecture at home via video, and then completes their homework in class. So, if the student doesn’t understand something, they can ask their teacher.
  • The classroom time consists of homework, case studies, discussion, projects, and processing.
  • The teacher is able to customize learning to every student – spending more time with those who don’t get it, and in turn, catalyzing forward the students who do get it.

——- There’s an infographic at the end of this post for more information ——-

What does “flipping the classroom” have to do with leadership development in my church?

[Read more…]

How to Develop a Church Planting Farm System

spruce grove community garden
My kids and an MSC harvesting their community garden

How do you feel about these statements?

  • Being excited about becoming a church that plants churches is not the same thing as doing it.
  • Picking the low hanging fruit (the already developed seminary student) and sending them out to plant is not the same thing as having a process to develop a new believer into a church planter.
  • Setting aside a percentage of your budget for church planting is not the same thing as developing future planters.

What would it look like if God answered Matthew 9:37-38 through your church? How would you feel if God raised up harvest workers and church planters through your church?

Now I know many of you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I get it. I need to start a residency program or an internship program.” But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

This post is about developing a church planting farm system that starts before any type of internship or residency program. This is ultimately about developing the type of leader that you would want to accept into an internship or residency program.

–> Enter: Mid-Size Communities (MSC)

When I started the mid-size community movement at my previous church (you can watch the MSC intro movie here), I said that it was going to be a way to get more people connected into community (which it totally did – 700 more people into community in three years at three campuses). However, the underlying reason I was so passionate about MSCs was because I saw them as a farm system to raise up future church planters. This pervaded the way that I developed the MSC leadership development curriculum, training strategy, roll-out plan, and everything else that accompanied it.

In fact, when you consider what makes up a healthy farm system, there seems to be three common factors:

[Read more…]

Four Church Planting Tips with Lesslie Newbigin



Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), while being best known for his work in missiology and ecclesiology, actually has a lot of advice for church planters. In fact, each of them is an extension of his quote in the picture above, or of my paraphrase below:

The church – a healthy church – is the hermeneutic of the gospel. It’s the way that the gospel comes to life. It’s the way that people can taste and smell the gospel.

When planting a church, it’s easy to go the way of the herd and get so caught up with the details, that you forget the values or the underlying ecclesiology that you’re trying to develop in the life of your church. After all, without those details getting done, you wouldn’t be able to plant a church. But what if, for a moment, you put those details aside and re-examined the type of ecclesiology that you’re developing in light of these four church planting tips that were inspired by Lesslie Newbigin’s The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society?

1. Cultivate gratitude, not entitlement.

Newbigin suggests that churches need to be communities of praise and thanksgiving and that this, perhaps, is the church’s most distinctive character. So how are you cultivating a culture of praise and thanksgiving in your church? Are you being intentional with your preaching/teaching and the rest of your ministries? If you cultivate that culture of praise and thanksgiving in your church, you’ll actually see that translate into a heart of gratitude – and with gratitude, you’ll be slaying the idol of entitlement. If that happens, you’ll see your church’s “me” culture translate into a “we” culture, where the focus will be less on personal comfort and wellbeing, and more towards the wellbeing of your city and the salvation of those who are far from God.

2. Share truth, not gossip.

The fuel that drives pop culture seems to be gossip and scandals. This isn’t just true for entertainment shows, late night shows and sitcoms, but this pervades the news as well. If this is the MO (mode of operation) of our culture, this will naturally seep into the life of your church. So instead of calling your church to reject pop culture outrightly and burn all their “secular” CDs and DVDs, what if you cultivated a sense of skepticism towards it? After all, this skepticism would enable your congregation to, in the words of Newbigin, “take part in the life of society without being bemused and deluded by its own beliefs about itself.” This sense of skepticism would allow your church to be aware of pop culture, so that they could speak truth into it by being an alternate community of truth apart from it.

3. Be for your community, not just in your community.

[Read more…]