The Learning Community

Creating and Leading the Learning the Community. Part 1 of a 4 part series.‚  This series is based off a podcast I heard with Reggie McNeal

Once the most learned person in the community and congregation was the pastor, with exceptions being maybe a doctor or lawyer. However, with the rise of the experience economy and now the knowledge economy, the ranks of the educated people grew and now the pastor may not be the most learned person in the congregation.

The missional community has arrived and created a greater need for a learning community. It has its own unique requirements. It¢â‚¬â„¢s about people development not only in the spiritual realm, but has an ethos where a holistic development of people occurs. It¢â‚¬â„¢s also about a service-oriented attitude.

A characteristic of the missional church is the distribution of the DNA and values and behaviors and the way that is distributed by training people and developing them. People are now missionary agents of the missional movement wherever they are, be it at school or the marketplace or the church. Also, spiritual formation is no longer relegated to the church settings. Formation now happens in coffee shops, conversations on the job, at ball games, and other places where people connect. The missional church cannot maintain its ethos absent the learning community of its leaders.

3 Benefits of learning strategy:

  1. Increased competency of your people, both in knowledge and skills. These include understanding culture, paradigm shifts, and how to resource your work. Also, personal talents, and strengths are developed.
  2. Development of alignment and action. We often know where we want to go, but have not identified behaviors that will get us there. Congregations must spend time to develop behaviors that align with values. The learning community is a place where these issues can be addressed.
  3. Development of an innovative culture. The emotional support that people need to risk can be found in learning communities. They will more likely bring about the behavioral shifts to take risks.

What must be done to create the community. As the leader:

  1. You have to take responsibility. Leadership learning is a top-down approach. You have to help cast vision for this community.
  2. You have to also bring the most advanced learning design. This will include one-on-one time, e-learning, phone coaching, etc. Think about how to integrate this learning across the organization.
  3. You have to be ready to put the money for the learning tools.
  4. You have to make the commitment to evaluate the learning that goes on.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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