We believe that in the end, the medium is the message. The means of developing leaders must be consistent with what we believe these leaders must look like. We believe the educational philosophy that will birth a missional church must contain the following elements:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.