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«BAKKE GRADUATE UNIVERSITY TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER OF LEADERSHIP COMMUNITIES: ASSESSING LEADERSHIP NETWORK’S EFFECTIVENESS IN ACCELERATING THE ...»

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BAKKE GRADUATE UNIVERSITY

TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER OF LEADERSHIP COMMUNITIES:

ASSESSING LEADERSHIP NETWORK’S EFFECTIVENESS IN ACCELERATING

THE DELOYMENT OF CHURCH VOLUNTEERS IN MINISTRY AND SERVICE TO

THE COMMUNITY

A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE ACADEMIC COMMITTEE

IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF MINISTRY

BY

ERIC JOHN SWANSON

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

JUNE 2007 Copyright © 2007 by Eric Swanson All rights reserved To Liz Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope.

Eric Hoffer CONTENTS LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ………………………………………………… viii LIST OF TABLES …………………………………………………………... x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS …………………………………………………... xi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ………………………………………………. xii ABSTRACT…………………………………………………………………. xiii Chapter

1. INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………. 1 Need, purpose and significance of the study

2. LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………… 15 Historical Literature Theological Literature Sociological Literature Practical / Missiological Literature

3. MINISTRY CONTEXT ………………………………………….. 37 Externally Focused Ministry in Church History Leadership Community Design Transformational Leadership Stakeholders

4. THEOLOGICAL / BIBLICAL BASIS …………………………… 74 The Creation Story Old Testament Passages Exodus to Deuteronomy v Wisdom Literature The Prophets Understanding the Kingdom The Teachings and Praxis of Jesus Scriptures Concerning Good Works and Good Deeds

5. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCESS ………………………..105 Participants Procedures Data Points Data Treatment Variables

6. FINDINGS AND RESULTS.……………………………………….117 Measuring effectiveness of results Measuring effectiveness of process

–  –  –

Appendix

1. END-OF-YEAR QUESTIONNAIRE………………………… 174

2. KINGDOM IMPACT REPORT (SAMPLE)………………….. 175 BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………….. 177 VITA……………………………………………………………………… 185

–  –  –

1. Illustration of Diffusion of Innovation……………………………….. 69

2. Number of People / Average Percent of Congregation Involved in External Ministry: Group 1………. 119

3. Total Hours Served Per Year: Group 1………………………………. 119

4. Number of People / Average Percent of Congregation Involved in External Ministry: Group 2……………………… 121

5. Total Hours Served Per Year: Group 2………………………………. 122

6. Number of People / Average Percent of Congregation Involved in External Ministry: Group 3……………………… 124

7. Total Hours Served Per Year: Group 3………………………………. 124

8. Number of People / Average Percent of Congregation Involved in External Ministry: Group 1-3…………………… 126

9. Total Hours Served Per Year: Groups 1-3………………………….... 127

–  –  –

11. Q.2 Rating “Useful Contacts / Networking” at Leadership Community Gatherings………………………….. 133

–  –  –

1. Externally Focused Church Leadership Community – Group 1……. 118

2. Dollar Value of Volunteer Hours Served 2003-2006: Group 1…….. 120

3. Externally Focused Churches Leadership Community – Group 2…. 121

4. Dollar Value of Volunteer Hours Served 2003-2006: Group 2…….. 122

5. Externally Focused Churches Leadership Community – Group 3….. 123

6. Dollar Value of Volunteer Hours Served 2003-2006: Group 3…….. 125

7. Externally Focused Churches Leadership Community – Groups 1-3. 126

8. Dollar Value of Volunteer Hours Served 2003-2006: Groups 1-3…. 128

9. Percentage of responding participants who answered, “Met Expectations or Exceeded Expectations”…………….. 142

10. Q.11 What contributed most to your experience at this gathering?.. 144

–  –  –

I wish to thank those who have gone before—those in history who have read the Scriptures with fresh eyes and accepted the divine call to adventure by following Jesus into unknown places. My thanks go out to the leaders and participants of the thirty-three churches that participated in this project.

Much appreciation and thanks goes out to Gary Dungan of Leadership Network, who faithfully prodded and nudged churches to surrender the data needed for a successful project. There is no one I’ve worked with who anticipates needs and does whatever it takes, no matter how daunting the task, to complete the tasks at hand than does Gary.





I want to thanks Dr. Tyler Horner, of Baylor University, my advisor and friend who has guided this project and process. It’s been a good journey.

I am thankful for the lifelong friendships of Don Wilcox, John Lamb, and Sam Williams, who think more highly of me than any man deserves. These men have been a springboard for my thinking and iron that sharpens wood in such a way that mere wood occasionally makes the impact of tempered steel.

I am thankful for Scott Beck of Tango in Boulder Colorado—more than a boss—a faithful friend and mentor who prompted my involvement in cities through two simple words, after several weeks of prayer and fasting—“Love Boulder.” I’m grateful to Bob Buford, Dave Travis, Tom Wilson, and the wonderful team of passionate, dedicated individuals at Leadership Network who want to do nothing less than change the world.

–  –  –

This project seeks to answer the research question, “How effective is Leadership Network’s Leadership Community process in accelerating the deployment of church volunteers in ministry and service to the community?” The participants of this project were the members of three separate Externally Focused Church Leadership Communities.

These leaders come from 33 churches, whose average weekly attendance is 2,282 with a median weekend attendance of 1,200. The three Leadership Communities met separately four times, over an eighteen-month period. During each three-day gathering participants reported on progress, worked collaboratively to solve common problems, discover innovative approaches to community ministry and set new goals.

To determine the effectiveness of the Leadership Community process in accelerating the deployment of volunteers in community ministry, three data points were used to gather data. First, initial data was gathered from each church at the beginning of the process, via an application process, to quantify the number of volunteers and the hours they were currently serving. The second data point was an annual questionnaire sent to participating churches each year since 2004. It is this questionnaire that records how many volunteers were serving along with the hours they served. The third data point measured the quality and effectiveness of each individual Leadership Community gathering via an electronic survey sent to participants following each gathering.

–  –  –

increased the involvement of volunteers from twenty-one percent of their average weekly attendees in 2003 to 45 percent of their average weekly attendees in 2006. Furthermore, they increased their hours of service from 466,866 hours in 2003 to 1,151,861 hours of service in 2006. The financial impact is equally impressive. The economic value of volunteer service, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor, increased from $8,025,427 in 2003 to $21,620,412 in 2006. The cumulative economic value of volunteers from these thirty-three churches serving in the community from 2003 to 2006 is an impressive $62,579,468.

The Leadership Community gatherings were also seen as an effective process in accelerating the process. Collectively 94 percent of participants communicated the Leadership Community gatherings “met” or “exceeded expectations” of all gathering attended. The findings from both the increased results and the satisfaction with the Leadership Community gatherings lead to an affirmative answer to the research question.

–  –  –

How effective is Leadership Network’s Leadership Community process in accelerating the deployment of church volunteers in ministry and service to the community?

–  –  –

The life and teachings of Jesus Christ were profound, holistic, and transformational. His three-fold ministry encompassed teaching, preaching and healing (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, New International Version1). To walk as his disciple, one was to “be merciful just as [God] is merciful” (Luke 6:36), love as Jesus loved (John 13:34, 35), and be one who was a neighbor to all in need (Luke 10:29-37). In the early centuries of the church, it was the Christ-followers, who through their compassion and kindness, served the people around them, resulting in an estimated 40 percent growth per decade of the early church.2 Adolf Harnack’s research on the expansion of the early church pieces together All Scripture references will be from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal, Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1997), 6.

a remarkable picture of the early Christian’s involvement with the poor, orphans, widows, the sick, mineworkers, prisoners, slaves, and travelers. “The new language on the lips of Christians”, he summarizes, “was the language of love.” But it was more than a language; it was a thing of power and action: (Harnack 1962:149) This was a “social gospel” in the very best sense of the word and was practiced not as a stratagem to lure outsiders to the church but simply as a natural expression of faith in Christ.3 Throughout the following centuries the church played a major historic role in meeting social needs and curing social ills. Christians were at the forefront in the abolition of slavery, enactment of child-labor laws, establishment of public schools, universities, orphanages and hospitals. Christian leaders like William Booth and Jane Addams, led the way in restoring the bodies and minds, as well as the souls, of those who were converted. Catholic Scholar Thomas Maserro writes of the social impact the church has had throughout the centuries.

[M]any of the laudable social institutions and practices that we take for granted today have their roots in teachings and activities of the Christian community, including the Catholic Church. For example, the complex system of hospitals and modern health care from which we all benefit sprang from charitable works that were sponsored by churches, both Protestant and Catholic, in previous centuries. Modern labor unions and group insurance policies are an outgrowth of various activities of guilds and sodalities, agencies through which members of the medieval church practiced mutual support, often under direct religious auspices. Churches organized the first schools in our nation and in other lands, and much of our educational system at all levels is still religiously affiliated. It was the church that cared for poor families before there were public social service agencies. The contemporary social work and nursing professions grew out of the efforts of church personnel, largely nuns, and laywomen, Catholic and Protestant alike, to assist families in need of resources, expertise and healing. For good reason, then, the church has been called the “godmother of the nonprofit sector.”4 David Bosch, Transforming Mission (Mary Knoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 49.

Thomas Massaro, S.J., Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action.

(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000), 14-15.

Reasons the Church is not Engaged Is this the kind of impact the church is experiencing today? For most churches this transformational role has all but disappeared. Why has much of the church withdrawn from the community, either physically or psychologically, that God has placed it in?

Briefly there are three factors that have influenced the withdrawal of the church from the community. These factors are missional, theological, and secular.

Missional Factors First there is a missional factor. Dr. Ram Cnaan, Director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania writes, While religious organizations—the Church with a capital C—has sponsored many social programs throughout the world, congregations have historically been reluctant to become involved in social programs. After all, the primary mission of a congregation is to provide a religious framework and communal site for worshiping.

Its second mission is to sustain the congregation and to guarantee resources sufficient to carry out its primary mission. Social services delivery can come only after these two missions are achieved.5 Cnaan defines the practical pressure that keeps churches turned inward.

Congregational leaders ask, as leaders from my own church have asked, “How can we meet all the needs ‘out there’ when we have so many needs right here in our church? First, let’s meet the needs within the church, and then we will have greater capacity to meet the needs ‘out there.’” In early 2006 researcher Thom S.



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