Leader Development

Establish a leader development process that empowers both clergy and lay African American members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to effectively carry out Christian Mission and Ministry.

A. Identify and/or develop materials that will teach foundational skills for leadership in regard to:

1. The spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, worship and stewardship. Members of the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation will become sources for the identification of materials and resources used or developed by congregations that equip members in the spiritual disciplines. Request Homeland Ministries to identify or develop materials and resources that equip persons in the spiritual disciplines and share them with the Board. These resources such as “Taking the Name of Jesus”, “Determining Spiritual Giftedness”and Cane Hope Felder’s “Black Spirituality” will be made available to members of the National Convocation at Biennial Sessions, Black Church Structure gatherings, directly with congregations and on internet web pages. Congregations and individuals participating in the development of particular spiritual disciplines will be reviewed and shared at the Biennial Sessions. Progress on the equipping of members of the National Convocation with spiritual discipline resources will be assessed by the Board of Trustees and reports at the Biennial Sessions.
2. Disciples heritage (including Black Disciples).

3. local congregation, regional, general and Black church structures (the collective term for the various Black Disciple conventions, convocations, assemblies and fellowships.) Request the Homeland Ministries to facilitate the use of the “Leader Development for Mission and Ministry” series of handbooks in African American congregations and Black Church Structures. Encourage that the “Institute for African American Faith and Life” present effective leadership development institutes at the Biennial Sessions of the National Convocation and annual meetings of Black Church Structures. Progress on the development of the LDMM series usage and AAFL offerings will be monitored through regular reports from HM/Merger staff, Black Church Structures, review by the Board of Trustees and reports at the Biennial Sessions.

4. the church’s three mission funds, ie, Basic Mission Finance, Reconciliation and Week of Compassion. Write a letter by July 1998 to the Church Finance Council requesting the development of one educational handout defining Basic Mission Finance, Reconciliation Mission, and Week Of Compassion. The piece is encouraged to be inclusive of the whole church with an emphasis on explaining their relationship to and distinctiveness from one another, and offering two reasons for each fund to be supported by our African American Congregations and constituency. This resource would be used for promotion of the three mission funds at targeted annual events including the Black Ministers’ Retreat, Biennial Session, General Assembly, Black Church Structure Annual Assembles and Regional Assemblies. The National Convocation Board of Trustees will commission one trustee to develop a time line in cooperation with the Church Finance Council’s response to the production the “three mission fund” educational handout and to coordinate a plan for promotion of the mission funds including enlisting persons to do the on-site promotion. Progress on the development of the understandings of our three mission funds will be monitored through regular reports from the commissioned mission fund trustee, HM/Merger staff, Black Church Structures, reviews by the Board of Trustees and reports at the Biennial Sessions.

B. Provide methods and means to develop foundational leadership skills through:

1. Encouraging participation in regional, general and Convocation assemblies. Leaders developed through the implementation of the Leader Development Data Base described in the “Recruiting lay and clergy leaders from 100 congregations and additional leaders from Black church structures” objective will be:

1) reviewed by the Board of Trustees of the Nominating Committee of the National Convocation,

2) assessed for leadership gifts and interests. Leaders identified through this process will be invited into a mentoring relationship with members and participating former members of the National Convocation Board of Trustees prior to each Biennial Session to insure their participation in regional, general and Convocation assemblies. Note: The Board should develop general information and guidelines for the mentoring process.

2. Recruiting lay and clergy leaders from 100 congregations and additional leaders from Black church structures.

Leadership Recruitment and Development From Congregations and Black Church Structures:

Identify 100 African American Disciple congregations participating in the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that can be resources for leadership development. This may be done through field contacts, Black Ministers’ Retreat, Biennial Session, Regional, Black Church Structure or General assembly programming. The identification is to be initiated by the 1998 Biennial Session in Lexington, KY and should be continuous through the duration of the Vision Plan. Annual reviews will be made by the Vision Planning Standing Committee of the Board of Trustees with recommended changes emerging from that review.

A written request from the NCCC President and the Administrative Secretary should be made of the identified pastors of the 100 African American Disciple congregations and of the identified 10 Black Church Structure presidents for the identification of the most gifted leaders. Additional requests may be made through Regions and at annual targeted general church events. The identification is to be initiated by the 1998 Biennial Session and should be continuous through the duration of the Vision Plan. Annual reviews will be made by the Vision Planning Standing Committee of the Board of Trustees with recommended changes emerging from that review.

Administrative Undergird of the Leader Development Network:

Create a data base structure for the recording of identified leaders through consultation with the Office of Research. The design and data base will be developed by August 1999 and reviewed annually by the Vision Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Negotiate clerical time for data base data entry with the Office of General Minister and President by July 1999. Should the OGMP not be able to provide the clerical services African American Disciple congregations with full time clerical staff will be requested to supply data entry services. Performance of the data entry clerk(s) will be monitored by the Office Administrator of the National Convocation Office and the Administrative Secretary.

Develop a network of African American Disciple congregations and leaders with exceptional leader development programs with identified gifted leaders. The Ministers Fellowship of the National Convocation will be asked by the Board of Trustees to identify by September 1999 a pastor committed to leader development who would volunteer time to the nurture and administration of the Leader Development Network. The Board of Trustees will submit a written request to Homeland Ministries for staff support to assist this coordinator in the facilitating of the network. The networks performance will be regularly evaluated by the Vision Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees with recommendations for changes being made as appropriate.

Development of the Leader Development Program:

Identify African American Disciple congregations and leaders with exceptional leader development programs and solicit their participation in the Leader Development Network to supply models and resources. These congregations and leaders can be identified by the National Convocation Office, reports from field contacts through systematic reporting of Merger Staff contacts, youth and young adults ministries and Biennial Session programming by the fellowships of the NCCC. The identification is to be initiated by the 1999 Cincinnati General Assembly and should be continuous through the duration of the Vision Plan. Annual reviews will be made by the Vision Planning Standing Committee of the Board of Trustees with recommended changes emerging from that review.

3. educating seminary faculties and staff concerning Black Disciples heritage and life. That the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation in partnership with the HM/Merger staff and the Associate for Black Ministry in the Homeland Ministries create a bibliography on Black Disciples heritage and life as well as a speakers bureau to facilitate seminary and staff understanding of the journey, gifts and needs of the Black church by April 1999. In addition to these resources the Board of Trustees will advocate through the Division of Higher Education opportunities for the development of resources to facilitate this understanding of the ethos of the Black church. Monitoring of this process will be done by the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation.

4. developing partnerships with seminaries to enable and encourage Black seminarians to participate in regional assemblies, general assemblies and Convocation sessions. Request that the Division of Higher Education and the Associate for Black Ministry gather data on the seminaries recruitment practices and assistance policies in the seminaries affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) by May 1999. Encourage the Associate for Black Ministry to shepherd Black seminarians and encourage their attendance at regional assemblies, general assemblies and Black ministers retreats and Biennial Sessions of the National Convocation. Monitoring of this process will be done by the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation.

5. incorporating leadership curriculum as an integral part of Biennial Sessions of the National Convocation. Develop a process that will enable the sharing of leadership curriculum materials developed by congregations through the educational leaders of the Black Church Structures in partnership with networks developed by the Associate for Black education in Homeland Ministries. Resources such as “Discover your spiritual type” by Eugene Peterson, and “Developing leader skills in the congregation through the shortened version (4 letters) of Myers Briggs testing” will be essential to this enterprise. Once curriculum is identified, the National Convocation Biennial Session Standing Committee will advocate for opportunities within the Biennial Session for exercising this leadership. Monitoring of this process will be done by the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation.

6. providing opportunities within the Biennial Session for exercising leadership. Encourage that the Program Planning Committee for the Biennial Sessions and the Standing Committee on Biennial Sessions are faithful to involve the variety of gifted persons in the exhibition and development of leaders in Biennial Session ministries. Monitoring of this process will be done by the Board of Trustees of the National Convocation.

7. Providing the names of persons who have been developed as leaders to regions and general units as a leadership pool from the National Convocation of the Christian Church. Leaders developed through the implementation of the Leader Development Data Base described in the “Recruiting lay and clergy leaders from 100 congregations and additional leaders from Black Church Structures” objective will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee of the National Convocation, assessed for leadership gifts and interests and forwarded to the appropriate General Unit or region based on that gift assessment. The Vision Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees will review the work of the Nominating Committee and make appropriate interventions regarding the forwarding of the names of gifted leaders of African American congregations and Black Church Structures to General Unit and Regional Nominating Committees.