Shaping Pastors Into Life Long Learners

The purpose of Leadership Learning Communities (LLCs) is to help pastors become life-long learners in the area of leadership. In turn pastors are expected to develop leaders in their local churches. Recently Bill Easum said, "The only common denominator to growth is a transformational pastor – one who doesn't mind leading, making the hard decisions and handing off ministries to others." The Mission Northwest affirms this essential truth, and it is why we are investing heavily in the development of pastors as leaders. No church has experienced transformation without a transformational leader at the helm.

Harnessing the Wisdom of Christ-Centered Peer-to-Peer Learning

As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Developing great leaders is a critical strategy for reproducing disciples.  That is why Mission Northwest is committed to leadership development.  Our network of Leadership Learning Communities (LLC) is fundamental to this effort.

Each LLC is a group of ministry peers who meet regularly for learning, encouragement, accountability and dreaming.  The primary focus of the LLC is to help minsitry leaders grow in their understanding of leadership and develop their effectiveness as leaders.  There is a common, core curriculum for all the groups.  Through study, application, and reflection of the same information, we are developing a common language for discussing and applying fundamental leadership concepts that will help us continue the shift towards a leadership-development culture.

LLCs meet eight times a year, usually for an entire day, and in some cases for a day and a half.  A mentor pastor, or two, facilitate each group.  The mentor pastors receive training through the Region, giving significant time beyond their local church to this ministry.  The LLCs are open to every senior pastor in the Region.  You will want to join the Leadership Learning Community that is closest to you geographically.

LLC Mentor Pastors





By Clint Webb (fall 2008)

We’ve heard a lot recently about Leadership Learning Communities – they have become an important part of our Region.
Church transformation experts have found that pastors learn best from peer-to- peer learning linked with coaching and mentoring. Learning how to innovate and adopt from the best practices of growing churches is a proven strategy for starting and revitalizing churches. Dr. Charles Revis initiated our mentoring program four years ago and we are seeing the benefits – with new converts, new members, baptisms, and new church plants.
Pastors of growing churches are conveying their experiences and giving their time to teach others. Pastors of similar size congregations share how new approaches to ministry are causing growth and vitality to our changing world and culture.
The reality is – churches today are beginning to realize that if they are not making innovative transitions they will either barely maintain their present strength, or more often than not, will find themselves in decline. Constant change is vital to the life of a healthy church. How well a church is able to make strategic changes often determines the course of a church’s future. Our pastors are being retrained to equip their congregations to bring about the needed growth. LLC’s are helping pastors actually implement and move toward transformation. They are helping them initiate and shepherd the changes as their church transitions from one generation to another. Many of our churches need to make some practical shifts in outreach, worship, small groups, and children’s ministries to effectively minister to the lost that matter to God.
LLCs are sharpening our understanding of church health and show us new opportunities to take Christ into the world

More on Leadership Learning Communities

There has never been a more important time for ministers to strengthen their ties with one- another. It is our hope that these clergy communities will knit the ministers of Mission Northwest together in mutual concern and prayer. We hope they will become safe places for learning together – safe communities where we can share our ministry joys and disappointments. As pastors receive strength from one another through friendship, prayer, learning and accountability a new level of leadership skill will emerge. This will lead to stronger, healthier churches; churches that lift their eyes to the opportunities for serving the surrounding community in the name of Jesus. When churches start giving themselves away in ministry, then renewal and joy and health will predominate, all to the glory of God.
There are numerous voices urging pastors to sign on to life-long learning through peer-to-peer learning groups like our LLCs. One of these is Reggie McNeal, who has written an entire book advocating for this model (Revolution in Leadership). In his outstanding book, A Work of Heart, he explains why learning communities are so essential for the ongoing development of the minister today:
“A critical intellectual capacity for twenty-first-century leadership success will be the ability to build knowledge together with other colleagues. The rate of information growth, coupled with the collapse of the Christendom paradigm, makes it no longer possible to prepare for ministry challenges through traditional preparation processes. Academic, conferential, and self-guided learning must be supplemented through a peer- mentoring process for debriefing life and ministry experience. This process of an intentional learning community is exactly what Jesus established with the first apostles. The leaders of the movement were trained to share and discuss what they had encountered together. Jesus performed the role of learning coach during the early days. The Spirit took up this role in the book of Acts...
...a new model of spiritual emerging for a new apostolic era. A different training methodology is also emerging for this new tribe of apostolic leaders. Variously called a mentoring group or a learning cluster, it captures the dynamic of an intentional learning community. Learning communities are developing in all kinds of settings, from cities to countryside, from colleges to mission posts.
Todd serves as a facilitator of a learning cluster in his denomination. He has recruited three other pastors for their meeting, which usually involves lunch and dinner. The four of them enjoy fellowship and prayer time together. However, the driving force of their cluster is learning. At each meeting, they have a learning agenda that they have agreed on beforehand. Sometimes they read a book and study it together. At other times, they bring case studies out of their own ministries. Occasionally, they use a learning guide
produced by their denomination. Todd is covenanted together with these other learners. Together they are coaching one another to greater ministry effectiveness.
The leader prepared for the challenge of the new century will be a learner. However, this learning will l develop differently than in traditional methods that are linear, didactic, privatized, and parochial. Learning in a community is nonlinear, layered and experiential. It is also just in time.”