One of the exciting things at Redeemer right now is leadership development. Over the past few months we have worked hard at building processes through which we could take potential elders and deacons. In the case of our elder ministry we wound up with a six month "discovery and development" process that is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of the nature of pastoral ministry, their calling and giftedness, and the essential theological distinctives of our fellowship. Each month the men will be reading and reporting on relevant books. There will be instruction and dialogue on each given subject, as well as opportunities to see and practice ministry in action. In the case of reading material, we are using a range of books depending on each man's background. There is much more to it all, but I can summarize each month's emphasis this way: Month One: Basic Ecclesiology. What makes a biblical church? The ministry of elders and deacons. Redeemer's vision, priorities and goals.
Month Two: Focused Ecclesiology. The "missional" church. How Redeemer is seeking to be the missionary community to the Fox Valley.
Month Three: Personal Life. A life of godliness and grace. Integrity in leadership.
Month Four: Focused Theology. What do we mean by Reformed? Reformed theology and pastoral ministry.
Month Five: Focused Ministry Interest. Concentration on the individual's passion for ministry (preaching, worship, cultural exegesis, etc.).
Month Six: Gifts and Calling. Each participant will articulate their understanding of their spiritual gift(s) and calling to ministry.
I would love to hear what other churches are doing/using for developing elders and deacons.