It has been my experience that many ministers would love the opportunity to freshen up their skills, read new books that relate to their ministry, and also be challenged to equip themselves for new opportunities to be missional leaders in their churches. In particular, I know that Education Ministers often need a network they can relate to, but who can also challenge each other in their spiritual growth.
We started a new experiment today for Oklahoma's ministers of education. Ten of us met at Meadowood Baptist Church in Midwest City to begin a two year process that we are calling "Minister of Education Learning Communities". The BGCO has one form of learning community called PLC's, short for Pastor Learning Communities. The ME's thought, "Why let the pastors have all the fun?" So I borrowed some ideas from the PLC process designed by Brett Selby, and then added the ME twist.
Here is the basic concept of our MELC groups (yes, that's plural. We started a group in the Oklahoma City metro today and next Thursday we begin another group in the Tulsa metro area).
- Education ministers often lead from isolation. There are not a lot of ME's around and it can be a lonely job. Many if not most ME's would love to have a group of people they can relax around.
- Iron sharpens iron. We need the ideas of other people to help us improve.
- Accountability. Virtually everyone needs some form of accountability around us to help us grow. ME's attending a learning community are asked to set goals to which they will be held accountable.
- Broaden and sharpen their skills. Like any other ministry position, ME's need opportunities to sharpen their skills and learn new ones.
- Add value to the local church. We want pastors and local churches to value the ministry and contribution of their minister of education.
- Build the Kingdom. Education ministers must be Kingdom expanders. This may seem to be rather obvious, but a look at most SBC churches reveals that the local church appears to be in a retraction rather than an expansion mode.
These ME's will meet monthly, develop a personal leadership map, take a leadership assessment and do a lot of reading. Each ME will also give a report to the group about the particular demographics of their church and their community. The MELC meets September-April of 2009-10, and the second semester the group meets September-April of 2010-11.
Here's our reading list below. If you would like more information about what we are doing for our MELC's, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will email you the syllabus.
2009-2010 MELC Reading List (in order of reading):
Sanders, Oswald J. Spiritual Leadership. Chicago: Moody Press, 1967, 1994.F
Hirsch, Alan. The Forgotten Ways. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006.
Rainer, Thom. Essential Church. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2008.
Taylor, Allan. Sunday School in HD. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2009.