Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Would You Like A Way To Train Your Leaders

When Dr. Samuel Kim a friend for almost 20 years asked me to work with him to help train leaders who can impact their worlds for Christ the big question was how. Dr. Kim who founded CSCU in 1972 gave his blessing to do whatever was necessary to find a way to make a difference and impact the world with the gospel. His prayerful support, encouragement gave us the impetus to do what ever it takes. His vision and positive attitude was the cornerstone that gave the the process legs.

I then started a process of researching what really worked and what didn't work in the educational process for training pastors. I was been able to participate in a variety of summits exploring what's missing and what was needed in theological education. I was privileged to interview pastors, and to look at some doctoral research on the subject all the while trying to find the critical elements that would make a difference and what a new model that would make an impact on our lost world might look like.

A special thanks needs to go to Dr. Dale Salico the Missional Lead of Transformation Ministries. He was instrumental in pulling together a group of pastors, educators, and consultants who together spent days looking at the needs of churches and the kind of leaders needed in todays world. He was instrumental in helping us focus on the missional task of churches and the need to have churches develop a ministry that would impact their communities. A detailed report was developed and was integrated into the other findings.

Let me highlight a few of the salient findings.
  1. Most leadership failures arise out of flaws in character not competence. Effective leaders understand how to practice the spiritual disciplines and recognize the work that God is doing in them as well as through them.
  2. Training that has its roots in the local church have the ability to shape the leaders knowledge and behavior. Traditional seminaries have often forgotten their roots are in the local church which has been given the primary task of reaching the world with the gospel.
  3. Practitioners rather than theoreticians make the best teachers as they integrate the what with the how
  4. Missional training needs to be required as most pastor/leaders have never been trained in the principles of practice of how to grow a church especially grow it by conversion growth
  5. Those who finish well have had Godly mentors in their lives.
After pulling together a great team of Godly practitioners a plan was put together to develop a new kind of seminary that would address these findings.

This team included; Dr. Dale Salico who served as a seasoned pastor and Seminary professor and then serving as the Executive Minister for a large group of Baptist churches in Southern California called Transformation Ministries, Dr. Dennis McFadden a veteran pastor and the Director of Atherton Baptist Homes and a brilliant theological scholar, Dr. John Nix McReynolds the Senior Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church a 2000 plus member African American Church in Santa Ana and the head of the Christian Education Curriculum Board for a large Christian publishing company, Dr. Kirk Mackie, the Lead Pastor of the downtown, in the heart of city, Wilshire Ave Community Church. Under his leadership of the past 13 years they have developed a hands-on ministry that uniquely meets the needs of their community. He brings his Doctoral work in Spiritual Formation and disciple-making to the team, and finally Dr. Larry Richards America's leading Christian Educator and most prolific author. He was and is a pioneer in rethinking Theological Education. You can check out his current research books and Bible Study material at

Together with me these leaders shaped the educational philosophy and a curriculum was put together that meet the discovered needs and the first classes were launched last year.

In launching the seminary it became obvious to us that this kind of teaching was not readily available in any conventional seminary and we needed to find a way to duplicate it.
The decision was made to put all the classes on DVD and make them available to any church that wanted to train leaders. The churches can then use these videos and enroll people to earn a theological degree from our school or use the videos for training their laity.

It's a win/win for the pastor. Our school requires all students to put in a specific Christian service time weekly so the pastor gets a willing trained cadre of leaders who can move the church forward and the students gets a chance to put into practice what they have been learning in the classroom. Our professors all give assignments that are ministry focused so it becomes truth applied. Let me give you and example; Dr.McFadden, when teaching New Testament Theology, had the students for their classwork assignment prepare a 8 week Bible study on a book or theme in the New Testament. The alternative, if they were a pastor, was to prepare a 6 week series including the notes for the congregation on a N.T. book or theme.

Churches around this country and others countries heard about what we were doing and asked how they could become part of this new model. Already churches in the United States, Tanzania, Kenya, Korea, Singapore, and Mexico have opened campuses using the DVD's of the classes.

With so many cultures experiencing the desperate need to train leaders for ministry we recruited Biblical practitioners who speak Korean and Spanish and we have begun to offer classes those languages. We are also exploring options of taking the classes and adding subtitles in other languages as well.

You can go to the University website and there you can get a sample of the classes and see a short video that explains a little bit about the University.
If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to find out more about how you could offer this training to your leaders and future leaders drop me an email at

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