Posted by: whereintheworldismike | October 11, 2012

Sought After Outcomes in A2’s Pastoral Training in Asia

Years ago I was very blessed by Eugene Peterson in his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Recently I was given a link to an interview with Eugene and it was indeed a blockbuster! His vulnerability and keen insights into the priesthood of believers impacted me and I share the link here for this video that is particularly valuable for Christians involved in making disciples in obedience to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ–that includes pastors–

Unfortunately, much of  the American Church along with the Church in many developed countries has made the mistake of making Christian faith a head thing–something to be learned in a classroom. Jesus said to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. So a predominately cognitive approach to developing disciples and leaders is not sufficient. Much must be learned life on life and in community.

In Asian Access (A2) leader development work going on in ten of the twenty Asian countries, we have been tasked by the Lord of the Harvest with coming alongside pastors, mostly, who lead the Church in their country. These are successful leaders with exciting ministries. Our job is to help them take something good and make it GREAT! When I first heard about this I thought, “How arrogant that we think we can help these pastors–many of whom have spent time in prison or suffered other persecution for their faith–do ministry better.” However, the more I knew the more I realized God has called us to this ministry. And he goes before us and works through us even as he works in each of the faculty. Many who know me know that God has been working pretty intensively on me for the last several years. Another reason we can do the work we are called to is that we see our job as pointing the leaders entrusted to us to God who loves each of us intensely (see YouTube video of Henri Nouwen speaking on “Beloved”). God loves us so amazingly and he wants us to enjoy an intimate relationship with him. Many of the pastors we work with profit from being brought back to this basic foundation of our life in Christ. However, each of us faculty also profits from teaching on this subject. After all any teacher will tell you that what you teach you learn better than ever before. So, A2 faculty take a holistic approach to character development (30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs by Wilkerson, et al) and adoption of certain basic principles through facilitating greater intimacy with God in the leader-learners.

Another thing any good educator knows is that for effective growth in the students, there must be expected outcomes that are goals the teacher shoots for as well as benchmarks that tell him/her that they accomplished what they set out to do.

Here are the expected outcomes of A2 Leader Development Faculty in a growing number of Asian countries that cannot be accomplished by lecture alone–or even a main diet of lecture:

A2 Leader Development Outcome Goals

1. Intimacy with God reflected in prayerfulness (true dependence) and obedience from a grateful heart of love.

2. Humility/teachability reflected in such things as daily repentance and acceptance of reverse mentoring. The former is necessary for the breakthroughs in God’s grace that results in continuing breakthroughs in personal holiness and growing cohesion with the plan of God both individually and corporately. The latter is necessary in a rapidly changing world and some pastors have really been used by God in amazing ways because they listened to advice or answered a question from a child or someone else they would not have normally thought to take advice from. This results in intergenerational relevance.

3. Empowering discipleship that results in leaders developed from the harvest for the harvest—zap your followers, don’t sap them (encourage them, trust them; don’t take the baton from them, discourage them).

4. Overflowing joy that spills onto everyone he or she meets and refreshes like a fountain of life (laughter is good medicine, it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile, etc.). This is being filled with the Spirit and surrendered to whatever the Spirit of Jesus wants to do (consecration) which is true revival. The result of this life of alignment with the Spirit is disciple multiplication and ever-expanding Christ-centered community.

Stay tuned for the next blog for more on this subject.


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