I had a very interesting conversation over lunch yesterday with Adrian Reynolds, director at the Proclamation Trust. In it we reflected that we often use a wrong category when we think about developing leaders. Namely that all of our effort goes into training rather than discipling (of which training is one component).
It isn't that training isn't a biblical idea - it is. I need to do some work though on just how dominant it is. ie. we are told to train ourselves in godliness. However I find passages such as 2 Tim 3:10-11 compelling as a leader development passage, and the training there seems to be much more than skills or comprehension. Speaking to Timothy, Paul says:
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured
I am always terribly tempted to stop after "you know all about my teaching" because it is much easier to invite a leader into one of my teaching sessions than it is to invite them into my life. I know how to teach them to understand the Bible text, but am much less good at showing them, up close and personal, my way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love and the rest.
How does my methodology need to change to reflect the desire to disciple rather than train? I don't have many answers to that yet, but I think the question is important. I don't merely want to equip leaders, I want to father and nurture them too.