In the spring of 2018 we introduced three strategic initiatives. The first of them says this:
We will be a community church for our community
As a part of explaining what this will look like we declare that we "are committed to growing as Jesus followers." We go on to say, "We will strengthen opportunities for people in the church to become all that God has created them to be."
At Covenant, we want to help you to become all you have been created to be. Why? Because as you thrive - developing and using your God-given gifts in ways that honour him - it helps us to thrive! And as we thrive together, it continues to help each of us to thrive. (See Ephesians 4)
One area of where we would like to help people to learn and grow is in the area of leadership. Some of you readily identify as leaders and are familiar with the vast number of leadership resources that are available in bookstores and online. Others of you are already thinking the remainder of this e-mail doesn't apply to you. Please don't stop reading just yet.
I (Jon) am convinced that everyone leads. In some way shape or form we all practice leadership. Anything we do that has the potential to influence others - whether it is formal or not - is a form of leadership: parenting, being an older sibling, managing staff, teaching kids on a Sunday morning, coordinating events among friends, being a part of a sports team, volunteering, planning family gatherings, coordinating a team or project at work. Leadership comes in many different forms.
If you listen to the many leadership voices out there in the church and the world you will be led to believe that the primary test of effective leadership is effectiveness. Is the thing you are leading - whether it be a company, church, team, or project - thriving and/or growing? Usually, that means, is it making money, getting larger, or having more of a visible impact on more people. Most church leadership conferences and seminars teach the same basic metrics and tools of leadership as the great business schools across the country. Even where the concept of "servant leadership" is lauded, it is celebrated primarily because it proves to be effective.
A plethora of examples could be shared where this kind of thinking is taught as the way the church needs to be led. But to avoid being heard attacking specific people, those examples won't be shared today. It would be true to say, however, that based on this metric of "effectiveness" Jesus was a failure in his lifetime. Our saviour and model for life was a leadership failure by most of today's standards. Beyond that, most of the apostles were failures in their lifetime. The Bible speaks to the question of leadership in the church and any attempt to say that effectiveness is of the qualifications is a real stretch.
Rather, the Bible talks about Christian leadership being about character, self-control, and maturity. When describing leaders it describes people who have been changed deeply by the message of Jesus and who are able to help others be changed by it, too.
This fall we are introducing something to help individuals to develop as leaders who have truly been changed by the message of Jesus and who lead in a way that helps others be changed by it, too. It is a 10-month program called our Covenant Church Leadership Cohort 2018-2019. We will aim to grow together with the help of a few books; some leadership practice; programs available to the entire church (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and our church-wide study of Reunion: The Good News of Jesus Seekers, Saints, and Sinners); a deep dive spiritual gift and personal wiring inventory; six cohort conversation gatherings; and two special meals together.
If you are interested in being a part of this Leadership Cohort 2018-2019 visit www.covenantchurch.ca/pages/2018-2019-leadership-cohort. For detailed information on the program and information on how to apply, download the document on that page.
Thank you to the many of you who are already effectively modeling the impact that Jesus has had on you and are inviting others into having their lives changed, too. You're leadership (even if you don't think of it that way) is a part of what makes Covenant special!