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Training Gap

Justin Anderson brought my attention to Larry Osborne’s book Unity Factor. In it, he tells the following story:

When Tim entered the ministry, he honestly looked forward to working with board members. Even though he’d heard his share of war stories, he figured his case would be different. As long as good people were elected and carefully disciple, he saw no reason why he and the board couldn’t get along famously.

But five years later, as I talked with him, Tim wasn’t so sure. Instead of partners, the board members seemed like adversaries. It no longer surprised him when even his best ideas were rejected outright. Sometimes he wondered if his board members understood ministry at all.

Odds are, they didn’t.

Not that they weren’t sharp people or good leaders. They were. But no one had trained them for their role. They had never been exposed to the unique principles and requirements of leading a spiritual and volunteer organization like the church. That was left for Tim and his fellow professionals to learn at Bible school and seminary. Everyone else was expected to figure it out on their own.

Tim’s training, and their lack of it, caused them to view issues from radically different perspectives. They were suffering from what I call “educational separation.” And with every new book Tim read and every seminar he attended, he slowly widened the gap between the way he saw the church and the way his lay leaders did.

You’ll have to get the book to hear Larry’s resolution to this all-too-common impasse.

And I’d call it “training gap”, an issue that is isn’t merely a church problem; I’ve seen this tension in a few struggling organizations.