108. Leadership as Learning, Part 1: Context and Creativity, with Tod Bolsinger


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Each church, each ministry organization, is situated in a unique context—a particular place and time and culture. And that context, if we’re paying attention and engaging with a posture of learning, will call forth creative new ways of serving and loving and blessing our neighbors.
In this conversation, Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss both the importance of knowing one's context and responding with creativity when discerning a church's ministry calling.

  • Tod Bolsinger is the Executive Director of Fuller Seminary’s Church Leadership Institute, as well as the author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience.
  • Now that we’re coming out of the pandemic, many of us think about going “back.” But what would we be going back to?
  • Ronald Heifetz says that a crisis can give us the will to address issues we didn’t want to address before.
  • A crisis has an acute phase and an adaptive phase.
  • The future of one’s church will be built on the healthiest version of its “charism,” it’s gift.
  • Each church has been uniquely gifted for its particular context.
  • Leaders are shaped more by their context than by the reading they do or the education they receive.
  • Leaders and pastors need to pay attention to the pain points of their communities and reflect on how their church’s charism can address those pain points. And how will that require us to change?
  • Tod Bolsinger shares an amazing story of a church in Austin, TX, that took on the challenge of economic inequality in their community by buying medical debt.
    • This sparked all kinds of ministry creativity in that church.
  • Markus Watson shares the story of Westmorland Community Presbyterian Church and the Food Pantry they started in their small, rural town.
  • The Church Leadership Institute is offering the Online Adaptive Capacity Cohort to help churches and pastors discover their charism and how to serve creatively in their contexts.


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Learn how to lead your church into ministry that matters. Check out my online course, Engaging God's Mission.

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