The BIC recognizes that we need passionate, competent and spiritual leadership in our local churches to navigate a changing landscape. We understand that our leaders need encouragement and equipping if they are to be effective for the kingdom because the work is challenging. Therefore, we are committed to the development of our pastoral leaders and we invest significant resources to equip and empower them.
The development process can be thought of as a cycle as illustrated below. The diagram is a visual representation of the annual programs that we offer to our pastors and ministry leaders for their ongoing development. These programs are divided into four types with each program serving a specific purpose so that the development cycle is holistic in nature. Research has demonstrated that a comprehensive development program is important in nurturing leaders from a variety of backgrounds and age groups.
The development cycle represents our programs while the philosophy of our leadership development is explained in the section below called ‘Transformational Leadership.’ Transformational leadership represents an evidence-based approach to leadership effectiveness.
Our biannual LEAD events focus on equipping pastors to become effective leaders by providing exposure to guest speakers who are influencers in their respective fields. All pastors are expected to attend both the spring and fall LEAD events each year. If you are unable to attend a LEAD event you should notify Todd Lester. Please bookmark LEAD events webpage to ensure you have registered for all upcoming events. If you have suggestions or contacts for speakers for our LEAD events feel free to send them to Todd Lester.
Coaching fills in the gaps by providing personalized one-on-one mentoring with experienced leaders. Coaching is based upon request and can be facilitated through any of the BIC team leaders. If you or a staff member feels the need for supplemental coaching, even if it is one session, feel free to contact your Team Leader or Todd Lester for assistance.
For real-time time or problem-based coaching, the BIC offers a Slack group that allows participants to post questions and other members of the group to suggest answers based on their own experience. To join our BIC pastors Slack channel, email Todd Lester for an invite. For more information about the messaging platform Slack visit their website. As well, some useful and trusted coaching resources area available from the menu or by clicking here.
On a regular basis learning cohorts are planned for lay and pastoral leaders. In 2021, we are launching a significant new initiative called Elevate Development Collective. Elevate is a coordinated and comprehensive development program that focuses on empowering next generation leaders. It will include a variety of learning cohorts, including an Emerging Pastors cohort and the FLOW Internship Program. In each cohort the curriculum will focus on transformational leadership, spiritual formation, ministry skills, and personal development. Melanie Wigg, who oversees next generation leadership initiatives, will coordinate Elevate Development Collective. If you are interested in joining, or know of someone who would benefit from the program, fell free to contact Melanie Wigg.
Cluster groups are regional gatherings which are designed to provide encouragement and support for BIC pastors. The BIC believes it is important that we provide networking opportunities for pastors with others Be In Christ pastors. The challenges of ministry, especially in a solo-pastorate context, are significant. The cluster groups bring our pastors together for learning, mutual encouragement and support. Each fall at our Pastor’s Staff Meeting, pastors are assigned to their regional clusters. For more information, visit the Cluster Group webpage.
Much that is written about leadership is speculative, sprinkled with anecdotal war-stories to support the concept. Although these war stories are often inspiring, our goal is to use the best and most recent leadership research to prepare our leaders with evidence-based skills. Our programs are based on current research models that reflect real-world evidence for effectiveness and that are also congruent with our Christian values. These needs come together in the Transformational Leadership model as further described below.
One way to think about leadership ability is to view it on a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum are the thoughtless leaders who are neglectful and laissez-faire about their leadership opportunity and responsibility. They think little of how to lead others, apply themselves minimally to learning about leadership and have little concern for the circle of influence they possess. Thoughtless leaders are ineffective leaders. In the middle of the spectrum are those who are transactional leaders. This is a common approach in business today. These leaders and managers offer tit-for-tat. If you do something for me, I will do something for you. Transactional leadership is needed to run modern organizations but there is a better option. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the leaders who are transformational in their results. Those are people who recognize that a leader, together with his or her followers, has the potential to achieve higher levels of motivation, morale and accomplishment in their church or organization. This is the ultimate style of leadership that every leader, pastor and business manager should desire.
Based on the original insight of James MacGregor Burns and further academic research of Bernard Bass et al, it is now understood that transformational leaders possess four attributes, as described below.
Transformational leaders inspire people because they are committed to the mission, lead by example and are admired for their passion and commitment. Simply put, transformational leaders are role models for their church and organization. In sports, leaders are often described as the person who is first to the rink and last to leave. Transformational leaders are fully engaged in and exemplify the mission of the team.
Transformational leaders inspire people and motivate them to action for the benefit of the mission and vision. They can see a preferred future that is embraced by all and inspire coworkers to achieve it. Transformational leaders can get people excited about going to a new place.
Transformational leaders have knowledge of and concern for those that they lead. They pay close attention to the needs of their followers to bring out the best in them. They spend time as mentors to colleagues. They know their coworkers and care about their values and ambitions and goals. They help their coworkers develop their strengths to the fullest. Transformational leaders create a culture that values personal growth.
Transformational leaders increase the performance of their followers by encouraging them to be creative and innovative. They elicit new ideas and creative solutions by seeking differing perspectives. They challenge coworkers to identify and solve problems to further the mission of the organization.
Among the most notable transformational leaders from history was Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II. Although Churchill was a person who enjoyed wartime, a value incongruent with following Jesus, his impact on his country was undeniable. Against difficult odds and in a bleak moment in history, Churchill inspired his nation, and other world leaders, to face the challenge and not give up in hope of a better future. That is the promise of transformational leadership, we can lift up the people of God for the work of the kingdom of God whatever challenges we may yet face in the years ahead.