The Third Rail

Five years ago, we led a series of round table discussion with dozens of church leaders with over 800 years of combined leadership experience in small and large churches in a variety of settings. We asked two questions: a.) what are you looking for in your next hire? and 
b.)  why didn’t that last hire work out like you thought it was going to?

 We took over 150 shared answers and distilled them down over time. This became our 20Core Competencies.

Our problem was we didn’t know how to teach these 20 topics. These topics are coached, not taught, through developmental conversations. We’ve typically had two rails for leadership development…we seek to ad a third rail.


Being Smart and Loving Jesus Isn’t Enough

The First Rail: Education. For decades we have innovated education both in the main stream as well as for the church in under grad and seminary. We are really really good in this country at world class education.

We must keep at it because we need leaders to be smart…they need to spell, communicate well, know math, and they need a theology that works.


The Second Rail: Spiritual Formation. We also can crank out devotional, small group, and discipleship material for every need, make, denominational creed, and temperature.  This is awesome.

Keep doing that - We need leaders who are disciples who love Jesus and others.
Our Theory: 
If being smart and loving Jesus were enough our leadership culture
in church today would be fine because we actually do both of these well.

We know there are better and smarter people working on both of the first two rails.

We address a Third Rail.


The Third Rail: Soft Skills We’ve all known people with a Mdiv who loves Jesus & His Church who is an ineffective leader. What is missing? What got that person fired? Why did that person quit before the end of year 2?

We believe leaders are formed in the field, alongside other leaders, but it’s not enough to just to follow another leader around. We need intentional and developmental conversations for the next generation on topics that you’ll never have in college, and probably won’t cover in your morning’s devotional time.

The third rail is where Lp is focused. We believe when all three rails are present we now have a framework for Leadership Development.

what, residencyDave Miller