For the past 2 years, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of Leadership Network’s Next Generations Pastors Learning Community. It was a life-transforming, ministry-expanding experience. Here are three reasons why the experience was so personally impacting and why I appreciate Leadership Network:
1) Leadership Network helps me grow beyond my own experience. Through a combination of mentor pastors and peers that lead larger churches, the collective wisdom and experience in the learning community format has been catalytic for my own thinking and development. If you go to a conference, you rarely have extended time with the plenary speakers. But in a learning community, the whole experience is conversational. With mentor pastors like Larry Osborne, Toby Slough, Steve Stroope and others (including Rick Warren for an evening), I had the opportunity to mine some of the best large church leaders around.
2) Leadership Network helps me expand beyond my own tribe. Larry Osborne repeatedly drilled the reality that exceptional leaders go beyond their tribe. The mentor pastors and peers were all from different tribes… from A29, Converge Worldwide, Southern Baptists, Non-denominational, etc. And we all know that tribes have certain cultures, certain ways of thinking, and certain ways of doing ministry and mission. The learning community helped broaden my experience and not only build relationships with pastors from other tribes but learn from them as well (which always challenges my thinking and practice).
3) Leadership Network helps me see beyond my own region. Much like the “tribe,” we get regionally conditioned. While it’s true that each region in the U.S. has its unique culture and challenges (I live in the Pacific Northwest), it’s refreshing and invigorating to see what Jesus is doing in and through His Church around the country. And ultimately we realize that what church leaders face locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally is similar: How do we preach the gospel with clarity, conviction, and cultural relevance? How do we develop disciples in our context? How do we multiply followers, leaders, churches, and church planting movements?
Leadership Network, thanks for investing in me!
Here’s more information on Leadership Network’s Learning Communities.
(And just so you know, I’m not an employee of Leadership Network… just a grateful fan!)