Why we require a leadership course for staff and 5 reasons you should too

It felt just like the first day of a college class. The syllabus was passed out and the instruction method was explained. And then, the assessment tool was revealed—a comprehensive test at the end of the semester.

Worse yet for me, the instructor and test proctor was my direct supervisor!

In college, I always remember being overwhelmed by the syllabi the first week of classes. And six months into my new job at Brentwood Baptist, I felt a little overwhelmed too. But this 40-hour required course on leadership has grown on me, and its value to the church staff has been evident.

Eleven years ago, a key lay leader introduced Brentwood Baptist to a leadership class. He had several key staff members certified to teach the course, called Model-Netics, a Main Event Management course.

At that time, we were the only church to engage it. It’s mainly corporations that teach it to their employees. But even as a church, we wanted to teach leadership principles. While our instructors have some ability to contextualize it to our church situation, it’s mainly about applying leadership principles, wherever you work.

Here’s why we require all of our full-time employees (support staff, administration staff, professional staff, and ministers) to take this course and pass the test:

  • The leadership models give us a common language. Of the 151 models, I’d say 25 of them are used in everyday nomenclature amongst the staff. When the language is used, we’re all on the same page and clearly understand what is being communicated.
  • It gives us a common approach for “accomplishing pre-determined objectives through others” (Model-Netics definition for management).
  • For those who supervise, it gives clear goals for supervising. For those who don’t supervise at work, it gives them a clear expectation of how they should be supervised.
  • As with most leadership principles, they can be applied in everyday life outside the office. Most everyone exerts leadership in some realm, so this content is helpful wherever they might lead.
  • In addition, our church leadership trumpets self-development. This is one of the methods we offer for self-development.

Every organization needs to improve, and the church is no exception. Many ministers feel accomplished when they complete seminary, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize the lack of parallels between their school curricula and their actual job responsibilities.With our staff leadership, this course closes that gap.

If a church is led well, it gives an excellent opportunity to minister well too.

Model-Netics is a worthy course. There are other great leadership courses, but the point is that we as church leaders should be teaching management and leadership. We should facilitate self-development.

Do you have a required leadership course at your church?

What’s been your experience?

Do you feel there’s a place for leadership training in church that isn’t focused on the biblical leadership?

I’d love to hear from you via Twitter or email.


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