Friday, June 10, 2005

Intern Educational Philosophy

Lots of posts about the National Forge Summit. Forge is the organization that the guys that wrote The Shaping of Things to Come started and work in.

I was checking out the web page a little bit this morning, after getting paged for a work related issue that I could only listen about. Work - bad. Reading about Forge - good.

You long time readers will remember that I have an intern starting in Aug of 2005, a mere three months away. Hard to believe.

I was checking out Forge's educational philosophy, here are some of the bullet items:

- Actional context is primary
People cannot learn mission removed from the context of mission. The same applies to leadership and ministry. Therefore the vast majority of the learning and training must take place in the organic context of the intern’s workplace or mission setting. Furthermore different leadership styles will emerge from different mission contexts. Context is everything.

What I get from this is actional vs. theoretical. That the learning is based on actions not just on getting information.

- Interns are placed in edgy learning environments
We try to place the intern in a position where they are ‘at risk’ or out of their comfort zone and therefore most inclined to learn. We then bring the learning to them when they need it most.

Isn't that great? I would actually be scared to be an intern there, but that is so crucial to the experiental learning process isn't it? I would also posit that in order to learn how to incarnate cross cultural ministry, you have to be placed in an edgy environment.

- Action-reflection learning model
Action is the starting point for reflection and fundamental to the learning and discipling process. Mission cannot be learned in a classroom removed from the context. Real learning occurs primarily within an action-reflection element.

Sounds like they like to team up action with reflection as neccessary compliments of each other. Reminds me of a lot of debriefing activities (topic for another post - have you met anyone or come across any training info that is really good for this type of stuff? I have but only once in a long while)

- Relational empowerment
Relationships are the primary means of transferring leadership and influence and are indispensable in the training of missional leaders. Therefore weekly coaching sessions and monthly regional meetings form the backbone of the FORGE internship process.

- Practitioner-teachers
A person cannot teach what they do not know and they cannot lead where they themselves will not go. We expose our interns only to leaders who have a direct and current experience at a cutting edge mission, church plant, or ministry project.

I love this. What I think is the next step is to make sure that those interns repeat the cycle to a certain degree. They should continue on the path and lead somewhere, leading others to where they have been.

- Inspiration, then information
People are not motivated by information alone. Real motivation arises when they connect with their basic passion and calling. Interns must be moved and inspired to act with passion for the Kingdom of God . Our training aims primarily at inspiration, not simply on new information.

- We value imagination as a resource for leadership
Imagination is the basis of vision, innovation and creativity. Interns are stimulated to think in pioneering and innovative ways of engaging in mission and building Christian community.

Very interesting. I would love to learn how they actually implement this. I know in the book they talk about different styles of brainstorming as a leader team. Fun.

- We aim at leadership development, not just skill development
Leadership is the key leverage area for change and mission. Our primary focus is developing and nurturing distinct leadership qualities and characteristics, and then on providing skills.

Amen to that. Skills versus character.

- Multi-dimensional leadership systems
We believe that the church needs to recover the apostolic, prophetic and evangelistic modes to be an authentic missional church. Our training focuses primarily on developing these functions in relation to mission and leadership.

- Rigorous intellectual engagement
Growth of the intellect is essential to missional leadership development. If we are to meaningfully engage our cultural setting we must first understand and interpret it. This requires significant intellectual development and skills. However, we believe there are other ways beyond the system of the academy with which to develop an intellectual grasp of theology and ministry. We aim to engender a deep love of learning in all that we do.

So maybe these interns are kind of geeky too. Thats cool. Seriously though, it sounds like a series amount of learning in the classroom too. The intellecutal grasp is definitely key as well. For my intern, I've planned a lot of reading. What I worry about is that it won't be 'action-oriented' enough.

Looks like I've got some work to do in thinking more about this intern. But I love these ideas.

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