…mainline Protestantism has been slow to adapt and develop new models that take into account the disruptive forces acting in congregations and the culture. Instead, we continue to rely mostly upon the same ineffective systems while failing to address the leadership development needs of clergy and congregations.
…[meanwhile] experiments in disruptive innovation are being supported by foundations, seminaries and other Christian institutions. For example, the Lilly Endowment Transition-into-Ministry project helps young clergy leaders get a good start in ministry. City Seminary in New York is exploring new ways to equip people for urban ministry, especially those from immigrant populations. Other seminaries are developing new degree programs and other initiatives to support, encourage and nurture future leaders. And Christian institutions such as church-related hospitals and camps are also developing Christian leaders in fresh ways.
The driving force behind these new forms of leadership development in mainline Protestantism is simple; as Clay Christensen’s work tells us, new problems had to be solved and new populations reached. Even though seminaries and denominations as a rule have been slow to adapt, some congregations and institutions have not, as these and other experiments have helped find new solutions and new populations.
Where are we rising to the challenge? Can we? What are your thoughts?