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Organizational Leadership for Justice in Congregation and Community
“Am I prepared to lead?” “How do I lead change and create a more just world?” “How do I manage diversity and conflict in my congregation and in the community?” Questions like these are frequently asked by religious leaders and those entering professional ministry, who yearn to translate their theological and academic training into practical and effective organizational and leadership strategies. This course is designed to explore the personal skills, analytic perspectives, and strategic knowledge needed to be a compassionate leader in religious systems and an effective agent of justice and social change in public life. Drawing on organizational systems theory, you will (1) investigate your personal understanding and style of leadership, (2) discover your role as a leader within a congregational or ministry setting, (3) learn about leadership processes in teams and organizations, strategic planning and measures for conducting congregational evaluations and assessments and (4) be provided with strategic tools for leading change around issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and economic justice. Through readings, class discussion, reflection papers, and case studies, you will be encouraged to shift both your paradigm and questions about leadership, and will be empowered to picture yourself as an effective leader of religious and politico-social change in an interfaith context.
Friday, June 29, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 30 – Sunday, July 1, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 18 – Sunday, August 19, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. plus additional online work between the two class periods
“Am I prepared to lead?” “How do I manage diversity and conflict in my congregation?” “How do I lead change and create a more just world?” Questions like these are frequently asked by students of theology entering professional ministry, who yearn to translate their theological and academic training into practical and effective organizational and leadership strategies.
This course is designed to provide seminary students with the personal skills, analytic perspectives, and strategic knowledge needed to be a compassionate leader in religious systems and an effective agent of justice and social change in public life. The course includes two weekend sessions on the Hartford campus and on online component between the two weekend sessions.
Drawing on organizational systems theory, you will (1) investigate your personal understanding and style of leadership, (2) discover your role as a leader within a congregational or ministry system, (3) learn about leadership processes in teams and organizations, strategic planning and measures for conducting congregational evaluations and assessments and (4) be provided with strategic tools for leading change around issues of race, sexual orientation, economic justice and gender.
Through readings, class discussion, reflection papers, and field-based caseS, you will be encouraged to shift both your paradigm and questions about leadership, and will be empowered to picture yourself as effective leader of religious and politico-social change.
Ammerman, Nancy T. et al., Studying Congregations (Required for students taking the course for credit)
Speed B. Leas, Discover Your Conflict Management Style Course Reader
The best learning is facilitated through dialogue, and through the sharing of critiques and thoughts with each other. Therefore, it won’t be possible for you to strengthen your gifts and possibilities for leadership in congregations and other ministries without attending class and participating in discussion. You are required to be prepared for the two weekend sessions and to discuss the listed readings and topics on the dates for which they are assigned. Attendance at and active participation in every class session is expected of all students. Exceptions are only allowed if advance permission has been granted by the instructor, and only for unavoidable absences. In all cases, failure to be in attendance at more than one class session automatically precludes successful completion of the course. This portion of the grade includes all discussion and interaction during class and online and the small group assignment.
Our journey in this course will include two principal assignments: (1) A three-to-five page reflection papers on course topics and materials), (2) a final paper (10-15 pages) defining the context of your personal leadership strategy (required for degree or certificate credit). You will also be expected to participate in a small group presentation on strategies for leadership on a social issue. You will be given more detail on the focus of these assignments. These assignments will make up your final grade:
|Class Participation (including group project) and Attendance:||25%|
SCHEDULE OF COURSE READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS
FIRST WEEKEND SESSION
FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 5:30-9 A.M., SATURDAY, JUNE 30 30, 9 A.M. - 5 P.M., SUNDAY, JULY 1, 9 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Friday: Course Introduction; Personal Strategies for Leadership; Defining and Imagining Leadership: Painting Pictures of Effective Leaders; How to Be a Healthy Leader; Spiritual Life and Self-Care.
Saturday: video biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Am I Ready to Lead? Do I Really Want To? Personal Styles of Leadership, Effective Leadership, Changing Styles; Shifting Paradigms. Leadership and Practical Theology. Class Exercise: Personal Time-Lines.
Ammerman, et.al. – Introduction and Chapter 1
Heifetz, Ronald and Donald Laurie. “The Work of Leadership” in Harvard Business Review, in Course Reader
Helpful Web Resources:
Flower, Joe. “The Change Project - Conversation with Ronald Heifetz”
Ortberg, John. “How to Minister at a Healthy Pace
Bonhoeffer: The Film
Quick MBA: Management, “Summary of Stephen R. Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/
Doebler, Richard. “Staying Sharp in a Small Town” www.ctlibrary.com/le/1999/summer/9L3063.html
Sunday: Morning: Field Visit to Local Ministry Site. Afternoon: focus on Adaptive Leadership.
The Hard Work of Leadership. “Leading With Authority” vs. “Leading Without Authority”; Negotiating Social Structures, Values and Organizational Culture; Ethics, Uses and Abuses of Leadership
Ammerman, et.al. – Chapter 2 and 3
Nesbitt, Paula, “Tradition or Transformation” in Course Reader
Hendriks, H. Jurgen. “The Identity Analysis: The Culture of a Congregation” in Course Reader
Ammerman, et.al. – Chapter 7
ONLINE COURSE COMPONENT JULY 2 – AUGUST 17
What Are Congregations? What Are Religious Leaders? Compassionate Leadership, Organizational Systems, Situational and Adaptive Change; Legitimate Authority and Earning Members’ Trust Reflection Paper Due July 14
Ammerman, et.al. – Chapter 3
Stevens, Paul R. and Phil Collins. “Leading the Process” in Course Reader
Thumma, Scott and Edward Gray, “The Gospel Hour” in Course Reader
Diana Eck, “A Mosque in Massachusetts” in Course Reader
Earle Waugh, “Reducing the Distance: A Muslim Congregation in the Canadian North” in Course Reader
Wind, James. “Leading Congregations, Discovering Congregational Cultures”
Modes of board governance:
Olsen, Charles. “What Makes Church Boards Work?” –
Strategic Planning the Theological Way – Congregational Leadership and Theological Strategic Planning: Personal Core Values, Envisioning, Organizational Planning, Conflict Management; Assessments and Evaluations; Personal Development, Staff and Board Development; Project Presentations Reflection Paper Due July 28.
Ammerman, et.al. – Chapter 5
Senge, Peter. “The Practice of Innovation”
Hendricks, H. Jurgens, “The Resources Analysis: The Profile and Assets of a Congregation,” in Course Reader
Helpful Web Resource:
Hammonds, Keith H. “We, Incorporated” in Fast Company (July 2004) http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/84/we.html
July 29-August 17
Preparation for Group Project Presentations
SECOND WEEKEND SESSION
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 9 A.M. - 5 P.M., SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 9 A.M. – 5 P.M.
Saturday: Project Presentations. Strategies for Mobilizing Human and Material Resources: Personal Development, Networks, Building Community, Budget and Finance; Project Presentations
Sunday: Morning: Field Visit to Local Ministry Site. Toward a Personal Leadership Plan (Final Paper). Course Review and Evaluation.
Ammerman, et.al. – Chapter 6
Leas, Discover Your Conflict Management Style (bring to class)
Alban Institute Resources on Church Finances http://www.congregationalresources.org/manage/your-finances
Pollock, David. “The ABCs of Church Budgeting”
Reflection Paper (Required for degree students)
TO BE POSTED ONLINE BY SATURDAY, JULY 14
“WHAT DOES MY PRESENT LEADERSHIP PARADIGM LOOK LIKE?” A PERSONAL PICTURE OF YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE
Our readings have focused on the need for leaders in congregational settings to be more aware of their personal understanding of leadership. Some of our leadership experiences may be like the stories we read in our web resources (too hurried in making leadership “happen” or too focused on planning meetings, proposals and strategies). The literature we’ve encountered highlights the need for congregational leaders to rest, be still and to listen – listening with particular care to the most important definitions, values and paradigms about leadership that can guide our effectiveness.
In this exercise, you are asked to write a three-to-five page reflection paper describing your understanding of leadership as it looks today. First, using any two of the readings from our first two days, compare and contrast two metaphors or definitions of leadership, and discuss the model of leadership that best describes your experience. As a leader, what model is most attractive to you?
Second, how do the core values, ideas and beliefs associates with this model compare to the core values, ideas and beliefs that shape your journey of faith? Do the latter help you measure whether or not your leadership is effective and/or successful?
Finally, think about your current picture of leadership and compare it to the model that most inspires you. What important shifts or changes to your understanding of success would have to occur for you to journey to a new leadership paradigm? How did alterations to definitions of leadership and shifts in activism empower Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s personal changes? Do you find him inspiring or helpful?
Think and write critically, reflect personally and enjoy!
“LET IT BEGIN IN ME”
MY PERSONAL LEADERSHIP PLAN
TO BE POSTED ONLINE BY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
When it comes to organizational planning, your first concerns may be, “Where do I begin? And how in the world do I get started?” At this point, some well meaning board member or spiritual leader of great reputation may appear with the answer they think most obvious and fundamental: “Reverend, begin with prayer!” Some overly academic organizational consultant might dismiss this approach as a bit vague and encourage you to dive head on into the strategic planning process. This most likely would involve (1) the development of your mission and vision statements, (2) brainstorming sessions, (3) prioritizing of your ideas, (4) identifying human and material resources, (5) assigning tasks and responsibilities, and (6) establishing timelines, evaluations and assessments, next meeting and next steps. But beginning in a more reflective, contemplative manner – with quiet prayer – might not be a bad place to start!
This assignment invites you to the contemplative task of examining yourself and the organizational planning process that emerges out of your social context and location. You are to write an eight-to-ten page personal leadership plan. Start by looking at the individual social context timeline that you developed at the beginning of the semester (remembering that it’s difficult to know where you’re going without contemplating what you’ve experienced and where you’ve been). From these formative experiences of your personal journey and social world, begin to craft your individual leadership plan and timeline for the next five-to-ten years, with particular attention to identifying the following:
- A draft of your personal vision, leadership dream, and mission statement.
- The theological or religious ideas, core beliefs and values that under gird this dream and mission.
- The action priorities and steps necessary to accomplish your dream and mission – or to at least get as close to it as you can (your “must dos” vs. your “nice to dos”).
- The resources (human and material) you will need to accomplish your dream and mission.
Reflecting upon chapters we have read from Studying Congregations what personal or external (e.g. social, global, etc.) obstacles, homeostasis and hindering forces might impact your timeline and personal leadership plan? How might a more organic process of planning inform your five-to-ten year leadership plan? Use the readings, think critically, reflect creatively and personally, and enjoy!