Visions leak, fires fade, and energies wane—these are simply truths of life. Any training plan needs to take into account that inspiration must be sustained over the long haul. The charismatic, inspired leader may provide the spark that enables others to catch fire and transform the way things are, but you'll need a carefully crafted training plan to sustain the fire. You can keep the fire blazing by celebrating leaders' successes and ministry successes, telling stories of life change, and honestly recognizing failures, mistakes, and areas of improvement.
Don't Forget to Be Intentional
At a recent event in Dallas, I was training residents of the Forge Mission Training Network to live as Spirit-led leaders in their local contexts. Before I started the information portion of the training, I asked participants to create and act out short skits of what they thought Spirit-led leadership looked like.
The information portion began with sharing stories of how the Holy Spirit led people in Scripture. I employed creative means like discussion, videos, and a small-group study. In order to draw out information from them, I asked them to draw pictures, write phrases, and identify one biblical text that summarized the way the Spirit led people. We ended the session by sharing our imaginations with the larger group so that we could help one another develop our visions and make them a reality.
At the conclusion of the weekend I played one of the most inspiring videos I have ever seen. The video features one person standing against injustice and calling for God's people to wake up. I told the group that I saw each one of them as being that person. I went on to explain to them the sacrifice I was making to be in Dallas with them. It was just days before my wife was due to deliver our first child. I shared that I believe that as they explore how to live on mission for God and how to lead others to do the same, they are changing the world. How could I possibly skip a chance to be a part of that?
My training that weekend wasn't especially original, but I was intentional about including information, imagination, and inspiration. And I believe this method helped them to imagine the possibilities and implement a plan to make it happen.
—SCOTT NELSON is the Director of Theology for ForgeAmerica; copyright 2012 by Christianity Today.
- Which of these three do you usually spend the most time on? The least?
- How much thought had you given to imagination in leader training prior to reading this article? Why is imagination a critical element of leader training?
- In what ways can you incorporate these three components into your next training event?