In a survey of over 2,000 pastors and church leaders, four challenges hindered leadership training and development: they don’t know how, they and their people don’t have time, they don’t have a framework, and they don’t have the resources.1
While we do not believe you can digitize development, we do recognize that the greatest barrier to training in churches is that it only occurs at a specific time and place. Quite often in the church when we host live training events, we focus on the lowest common denominator in the room instead of recognizing that our people have varying levels of competency. When you attempt one-size-fits-all live training events, you tend to focus on onboarding or orientation, leaving out your more experienced volunteers and leaders. This means you will likely have low attendance, you have to summarize training for those unable to attend, and then host even more events each year to make up for the lower turnout.
We have developed a training philosophy that is both high-tech and high touch that involves flipping the classroom. Think in terms of circles, not rows. In traditional education, the teacher is the sage on the stage who delivers a lecture to attendees sitting in rows. After the lecture, attendees complete homework on their own.
In the flipped classroom, attendees watch training prior to the group gathering time. Doing so allows various levels of training on the same subject to be distributed to attendees, depending on each person’s level of competence. When they gather, they sit in circles, not rows, to debrief and discuss the training they have completed. Each attendee is no longer a spectator but a participant as the group learns and grows together. Each participant has a different level of competence, experience, and knowledge to offer the other people at the table in their own personal development.
This type of training helps seasoned leaders engage in the development of others and positions them to recruit the right people into higher levels of leadership. As the leader, you no longer have the pressure of being the sage on stage. You are now the guide on the side and are available to assist people who may need a little extra help or who are experiencing difficult issues that need to be addressed. Doing so embeds recruiting at all levels of your leadership pipeline as it redistributes the responsibility of development and creates an environment that builds biblical community. And, let’s be honest, that training is much more fun to attend.
This is an excerpt from Creating and Curating a Recruiting Culture by Todd Adkins. Learn more about creating a culture of recruiting in your church and download the full booklet here.
1. Lifeway Research, “CRD Training Project” (Nashville: Lifeway Christian Resources, 2012).