Equipping Leaders for a Transformed Church

Participants Reflect on Certification Courses

Submitted by Rev. David Boumgarden, Naperville River Glen

Boumgarden Japinga

Rev. Dr. Jeff Japinga and Rev. David Boumgarden lead weekend course.

On the weekend of January 30 and 31st, members of 4 congregations of Chicago and Blackhawk Presbyteries and several additional pastors, took time to invest in their churches future. They were all participating in the second course of the newly-created certificate program forged out of a partnership between the Presbytery of Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary entitled Leadership for the Transformed Church.

This certificate program is a unique arrangement which begins with class work for the pastors followed by work with a team from their church. Churches are assigned a trained coach to guide them as they work on the goals they’ve identified to lead their congregation through a transformational process.

I co-taught this second course, The Challenge of Growth for the Missional Church, along with Rev. Dr. Jeff Japinga, Associate Dean, Doctor of Ministry programs, McCormick Seminary. We delved into the developments in recent culture that has helped the church recover its’ core identity as a missional church. We also looked at leadership styles and strategies that fit with this emerging theological perspective. Below are reflections from a few of the participants:

“I have enjoyed attending the certification program. The program is exciting and challenging. The experiences shared by the leaders and participants of the class motivate me to try to apply the lessons learned by others to River Glen. The classes have raised my awareness of the challenge of adapting the church to today’s world and to think outside my comfort zone. The phrase that the church does not have a mission, God’s mission has a church resonates with me. The goal of attracting people to the church and immersing ourselves into the culture of our neighbors is a journey we take with God leading the way. I look forward to attending future classes.”
Carol Brashler
Member of the Evangelism Team, Naperville River Glen
“We feel content to have participated in the course. Our group of leaders liked the topic “Who is the Church and what is her mission?” because it made us understand the church’s nature and mission. We also got to put our faith in action during this discussion. We want to continue participating in the upcoming events so we can keep on growing in our faith. We are very grateful for the help you all have provided us.”
Pastor Eddie Coulson
Organizing Pastor, Iglesia Ministerio Cristiana in Naperville
“’Making an impact for eternity through Jesus Christ.’ This phrase immediately grabbed my attention and infused inspiration into my soul as I listened intently during the first of four workshops on adaptive leadership. I found myself asking, “How could we, the Church, descendant of an ancient tradition, make an impact on the future of eternity?” The answer both profoundly simple and maddeningly difficult was … to adapt. Adapt our approach to who we are, how we are, and why we are. Not an easy thing and more complex than simply “changing” what we do. Yet I have been reassured during this course that not only does God call us to this, but also goes before us into it, leading us to transform, grow, and be molded by the same Spirit that shaped (and shapes) Creation. Through a healthy blend of didactic instructions and engaging group work, this course on adaptive leadership has removed a veil from eyes and revealed a deeper level of ministry that hopes to propel how I serve my congregation and community from here to eternity.”
Rev. Adam Malak
Pastor, Tinley Park Faith United

The program emphasizes developing adaptive and transformational skills, combining church leadership practice with theological reflection. Participation in the certificate programs has several benefits for pastors and congregations.

It’s not too late to enroll in the upcoming classes. The 3rd class, The Innovative Church, taught by Rev. Dr. Thomas S. Dickelman, pastor of The Community Church of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff and Director of The Center for Innovative Ministry, will now be held June 12-13. Please contact Joe Ann Watson at 773-947- 6361 or jwatson@mccormick.edu, to register for the 3rd or 4th class and/or to obtain further information.

This article was originally published on page 15 of the April 2015 Our Common Ministry, the presbytery’s newsletter. Download the complete issue.

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