By Eddie Pipkin
It’s a new year and a new day here at Excellence in Ministry Coaching. We’re launching a new interactive on-line training curriculum called the Exodus 18 Leadership Initiative. It takes the best of the material we have developed in our training and workshops and makes it available for you in an easily accessible, available-on-demand, interactive format.
This fresh enterprise takes its name from the 18th chapter in the Old Testament book of Exodus, in which Moses receives sage advice from his father-in-law, Jethro. Moses has led the people out of the clutches of Egypt and into the wilderness, and Jethro finds them there, joining Moses in celebrating all that God has thus far accomplished. But when Jethro ventures out with Moses to observe the leader of the Israelites spending an exhausting day presiding over the logistics of a vast travelling congregation, he offers valuable insight: “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” Stop trying to do it all on your own, he advises. Recruit good people, whom you can inspire and train, who can then take up the tasks of ministry, sharing the workload and employing the skills with which God has gifted them to build a stronger community.
This is timeless advice. Congregational leaders continue to bear the heavy load of ministry alone, despite the clear biblical model, described by Jethro, practiced by Jesus, and lived out in the early church: distributed leadership by a priesthood of believers. Our vision at EMC3 is to make it easier for you to provide your leaders (current and potential) with simple access to excellent training resources. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Biblical leadership is based on foundational principles of discipleship, and we’ve organized those principles into courses, modules, and lessons that your ministry leaders can access on their own schedule. We’ve built all of our training materials to move from abstract ideas to practical application, supported in Scripture, and resulting in action plans that help leaders develop ministry visions unique to their community context and bring those visions to life.
With courses such as “Developing Healthy Church Systems” and “Becoming a Coaching Leader,” your team members can develop the concepts and tools they need to successfully lead. Each course is organized into topical modules that develop specific skills, lesson by lesson. Each lesson features interactive links to articles and videos from a diverse collection of ministry pioneers and leadership experts that explore that lesson’s theme. The lessons are manageable blocks of time, a half hour or less, and each includes follow-up questions to help participants review concepts and personalize their responses.
These are the same concepts that we have developed in our printed materials and publications (all available in our store as always) and offered as part of our in-person training sessions, but the on-line versions offer a new flexibility and affordability that we think is unique.
Whether you are part of a large church with a big staff and expansive leadership team, or a rural congregation with a few key leaders, this training material works. You can pursue it independently, or explore it as a team that uses it is as a reference point for building ministry strategy together.
We’re launching the Exodus 18 Leadership Initiative with two modules: the FIT for Ministry module (part of the Personal Foundations course) and the From Fellowship to Hospitality module (part of the Shift -based, Developing Healthy Church Systems course). The FIT for Ministry Module is a free module that you and your team can explore. FIT (an acronym for Form, Intensity, and Time) is designed to help those called to ministry understand the unique shape their ministry will take. It moves beyond the traditional spiritual gifts evaluation (although that is very much a part of the FIT process) to explore passions, life experiences, personality, and availability as factors in how we are each called to serve.
Every month we will continue to add in new lessons and modules that flesh out the Exodus 19 course work, and because this course work exists online, it will be a living enterprise to which we can continue to add dynamic, fresh content, as well as building an interactive community of which you and other ministry leaders can be a part. We look forward to your feedback, to strengthening the resources we can provide you and your team based on that feedback, and for providing a forum in which new ideas can be advanced for carrying forward the work of God’s grace.
Click through to the Exodus 18 Leadership Initiative home page and you can sample the FIT for Ministry module for free. Contact us with any questions, and let us know what you think in the comments section below (as well as in a comments section available with each and every lesson, so that we can respond and adapt based on your specific feedback—that’s a very big part of this process).
Thanks for being partners with us in this ministry. We look forward to doing exciting new things in 2018.