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LM-01 Lecture Syllabus for "The Calling of Congregational Leadership"

The course will provide the highlights of the multiple aspects of congregational leadership based on the experience and research of the author. It will focus on a verbal, organic understanding of leadership for congregations that differs from much of the previous literature on leadership. The focus of the class will be on the being of the leader, the knowledge one needs in congregational settings and practical applications to a variety of tasks for leaders. The video presentations will relate to the readings identified for each presentation from The Calling of Congregational Leadership provided as a part of the course.

All required course readings cited below are from the Chalice Press book titled "The Calling of Congregational Leadership" by Larry McSwain. If you don't already have the book, you can order the book from the Class Bookstore (click here.)

Session 1: Being: The Foundations of Leadership

Reading: Introduction, Chapter 1-2

a. Calling from God

    • How do you respond to the definition of a missional leader?
    • Do the categories of transcendent and immanent sources of calling fit your understanding of your call to congregational leading?
    • How are you leading to encourage an understanding of vocation within your ministry?

b. Self-awareness of leaders

    • As you live out of your gifts with gravitas, do you find yourself in conflict with the expectations of your congregation with how you lead?
    • With which of Goldman’s styles of leadership would you identify yourself?

Session 2: Being: Growing in Awareness

Reading: Chapters 3-4

a. Mystical Awareness

    • Are you comfortable with the understanding that holiness is a primary quality of your leadership as a congregational leader?
    • Which of the forms of mystical intelligence best describe your own pilgrimage: heart, head, hands or feet?

b. Leadership as Integrative

    • Discuss with the group the style of leadership that best fits your congregational setting: directing, inspiring, collaborating, or passive. Is it the most comfortable style for you?

Session 3: Knowing: The Knowledge of the Pastoral Leader

Reading: Chapters 5-6

a. A Theology of Mission

    • Share with the group the ways in which you seek to impart an understanding of God’s mission in the world through your teaching/preaching.

b. An Understanding of Cultural Change

    • Describe the cultural context of your congregation and the challenges being created for fulfilling your congregation’s mission in that setting.

Session 4: Knowing: Congregational Ecology

Reading: Chapter 7

    • Which description of congregational ecology best fits how you view the congregation you serve? Formal-informal, organism or organization?
    • What is the likelihood of change for your congregation in its style in the next decade?

Session 5: Doing: The Tasks of Leading

Reading: Chapters 8-9

a. Caring

    • If you were to develop a “best practice” ministry of caring for your church what would it include? What changes would you need to make to achieve such?

b. Dreaming

    • How important is “strategic thinking” in how you attempt to lead in your congregation? What formal process of strategic thinking have you attempted? Which worked?
    • Which were ineffective?

Session 6: Doing: The Tasks of Leading

Reading: Chapters 11-12

a. Organizing

    • Based on the description of approaches to organization in the presentation this week, which best describes the organizational philosophy and practice of your church?

b. Evaluating

    • How is evaluation done at your church? Do you evaluate the effectiveness of the congregation? Staff? What would you like to see changed?

Session 7: Doing: Resourcing the Mission

Reading: Chapter 12

    • How involved are you in the details of finances at your church?
    • What are your most difficult challenges?
    • Share what you are doing that is encouraging and may be helpful to others in our group.