Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Differentiation of self: family and work

It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Rick, who always asks interesting “systems questions.” Today he asked: “I was just wondering what steps people can take to not be guided by the emotional programming they have acquired from their family of origin. How does one learn to separate oneself from this programming?”
That's a tall order, but then, it describes well the work of differentiation, doesn’t it?

Monday, October 14, 2013

What sustains excellence in ministry?

The power of peer-group learning is explored in the book So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive." The book presents findings by the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Peer Learning Project, with contributors from a variety of denominations and educational and church institutions. 

One key finding is that excellence in ministry is a product of a sustained commitment to lifelong learning. The book identifies the ways peer learning groups promote personal and professional growth. These include the following specific practices (p. 171):

  • Gathering regularly for prayer and worship
  • Examining each other's leadership activities
  • Analyzing congregational contexts
  • Identifying points of needed knowledge or skill
  • Designing or engaging in appropriate learning activities
  • Practicing what is learned in leadership initiatives
  • Evaluating the results for new educational directions.

  • If you are a part of a peer learning group, that checklist can make for a helpful evaluative tool. How many, and how well, does your peer learning group practice the elements on the list? If you are starting a peer learning group the list can be helpful for establishing parameters for a peer learning covenant. 

    Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Formerly he was Dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He contributes to the Wabash Center blog for theological school deans