Adaptive Leadership

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • The obstacle to adaptive change is fear – fear of change and fear of evolving.  Those fears, however, can be overcome through prayer and trusting in the Holy Spirit going forward.
    • Adaptive leaders help people to see that it’s not about them, but God and the Gospel.
    • Adaptive leaders are entrepreneurial, flexible, and equipped to adjust to their context and resources.
    • There are no experts in adaptive change
    • Adaptive leadership needs to be done with (or in partnership with) 3 legs: “our folks” (e.g. the congregation), other faith communities, and the non-religious.
  • Challenges
    • “What does it mean to be relevant?”
  • Experiments
    • Can we name our fears related to trying a new thing?
    • How can we tell the messy stories too, not just the “success” stories?
    • We wonder…could church constitutions/bylaws actually be documents that could free us up to do ministry, rather than constrain us (as so many currently do?)

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • Adaptive leadership requires adaptive training opportunities.
  • Challenges
    • Our pastors are more like pastoral chaplains. They must be open to being trained beyond what they have discerned to be their “gifts.” We can never assume a leader is trained by virtue of completing academic education.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • Perhaps “mentoring” or “coaching” or “communities of practices” can help leaders continue to adapt.
    • Training is needed in the content of the immigrant churches. There may be a variety of adaptations due to changes in church size, etc. such as bi-vocational service.

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RETURN to the Learnings from the Mission Summit and Mission Table

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.