Conference, district and congregational leaders seeking to respond to Council of Bishops’ Call to Action to create vital congregations can find invaluable help from a leadership development process for local church leaders developed by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).
Next month, the Tennessee Annual Conference will become the first conference to adopt GBOD’s Innovative Leadership Project (ILP), which is designed to help congregations that are looking for ways to become vital, to stay vital or to increase vitality.
“The ILP is a breath of fresh air as it charts a course for equipping and empowering congregations to expand and revitalize ministries,” said Bettye P. Lewis, Director of Connectional Ministries for the Tennessee Conference. “It provides a holistic approach for developing growth strategies related to one's community context.
“Designed for local church teams of both clergy and laity, the project explores spiritual/theological foundations, enhances leadership development and designs a discipleship system for church vitality,” she said.
Developed by Craig Kennet Miller, Director of Pastoral Leadership at GBOD, ILP is available to any group of churches, or even a single church. A new round of training will launch on Nov. 5, but ILP is also designed so participating churches can set their own schedule for the seven-month training period.
“Part of the idea of the Innovative Leadership Project is that you participate in four seminars over the course training period with your church team, and you do that with other churches,” Miller said. “The Tennessee Conference is developing a strategy to invite churches to participate in the Innovative Leadership Project and to provide the seminars for the churches that will be participating. They see this as way for their conference to respond to the Call to Action.”
ILP helps leaders look at the whole system of the congregation and how it connects to its members and to the people who live in the community where the church is located. The project is designed for churches in a group (district, cluster or city) to gather for the seminars and learn together. Between the seminars, church teams and individuals work on various assignments with the goal of developing and improving various ministry areas in the congregation.
Each ILP team of 5-10 people should include the lead pastor, staff related to the overall program of the church and key laity who have influence in the congregation. During the course of the training, team members will:
• Learn how to start new ministries in their congregations and evaluate current ministries
• Build knowledge and develop strategies around the Call to Action Drivers of Change related to creating vital congregations
• Learn to use an assessment tool that enables their church to develop a plan for its future
With each church’s $300 registration, all materials needed for the Innovative Leadership Project are provided in a kit, including 10 Innovative Leadership Guidebooks, a USB flash drive with the presentation material for the four Innovative Leadership Seminars and tools that can be reproduced for church leaders. In addition, three GodFilms videos which are used in the seminars are also included.
Webinars are available throughout the year from GBOD to train people to lead the seminars.