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

  • Insights
    • Create leadership opportunities for emerging leaders.
    • Support people in their passions for ministry, even if outside existing structures.
  • Challenges
    • Can we recognize when the current model for leadership is no longer able to sustain the ministry?
    • How can we activate lay leaders in more short-term, project oriented capacities, focused on doing rather than meeting?
    • Structures and treasured traditions have been a primary challenge to recruiting new leadership
  • Experiments
    • There was also a felt need for utilizing our communication resources (including regional and national structures) to better connect with others for mutual learning and support.

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

  • Insights
    • Leadership has to be cultivated both within and outside of the structure of the church. [Gifts/passion/style/chemistry/maturity goes together.]
    • We need to develop a systematic approach to ministry development.
    • Lay leadership is all about RELATIONSHIPS – someone needs to believe in you! The relationship is both vertical (with God) and horizontal (people).     Somebody has to invest into you.  Based on the relationship that individual will encourage you with words like– “you can do this.” Building lay leadership is 1) seeing giftedness, 2) investing in those gifted persons; and 3) affirming their gifts.
    • It is important to distinguish between ministry (to which all believes are called) and leadership (which is a specific ministry roll).  All are called to follow Jesus.  Following and leading are simultaneous activities but distinctive calls.
  • Challenges
    • One of the dangers of embracing the desire to be open to new leadership is that we do not provide enough structure.  It is difficult to provide a permission giving atmosphere and a structure for leadership to occur.
    • One major challenge is the lack of “appropriate” leadership.  We have to build leadership beyond institutional maintenance.  Otherwise we must ask ourselves, are we guilty of training lay leaders exclusively for congregational work rather than kingdom work?
  • Experiments/Projects
    • We must find the answer to the question, how do we help people to incarnate Christ in our context?  We must help one another be better disciples in every aspect of their lives (i.e. life/work/world, etc.) in order to impact our world.
    • Suggest seminaries develop leadership development courses
    • Suggest that seminaries offer more courses for lay leadership development
    • Offer leadership development networking opportunities
    • Offer discipleship opportunities that help to mentor/coach/equip laity
    • Try different dynamics/levels of leadership for different people


Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

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.