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Leadership in a changing world

A group of 19 students gathered in September to begin McCormick's first session of the new Certificate in Executive Leadership program

By the Rev. Jeff Japinga, Associate Dean, Doctor of Ministry Programs

Thirty years ago, James MacGregor Burns won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for a volume titled, simply, Leadership. Through five hundred pages, Burns outlined the theory and practice of transformational leadership that would, he wrote, “empower leaders to demonstrate genuine moral leadership.”

In an increasingly demanding and complex world and church culture, Burns’ vision of leadership guides the church’s need for leaders who, attuned to tomorrow’s challenges and the not-yet-known solutions they require, can transform and reinvent ministry for the 21st century.

That understanding and vision is at the core of McCormick’s new Certificate in Executive Leadership program. The program builds on the distinctive strengths that are McCormick Seminary by linking new knowledge with practical application, in the service of both Christ’s church and society, and in ways that help leaders to mobilize people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.

A cohort of nineteen students, from both administrative and pastoral settings and from across the United States, began their studies in September and will gather in four two-and-a-half-day sessions through the academic year. They are exploring the challenges-and opportunities-of adaptive leadership, and the practices and skills demanded by it, in areas that include defining the landscape of leadership and the gifts of the leader; mission, vision, and values; contexts and systems; and change, conflict, and collaboration.

The program is specifically about understanding change in ways that promote the ability of a living system to take the best from its history into the future. How? Through:

  • Foundational knowledge—examining foundational leadership theory that will strengthen knowledge and foster critical thinking skills.
  • Experiential aptitude—collaborating with faculty and peers, both in and out of the classroom, to create the kind of ongoing learning laboratories where knowledge can be applied and results evaluated.
  • Adaptive agility—applying both knowledge and practice to today’s pressing issues and the challenges of a tomorrow not yet known.
  • Reflective abilities—using self-assessment and feedback from faculty and peers to deepen insight into who they are, how God has gifted them as a leader, and their leadership role in relationship to others.

A new cohort group is now scheduled to begin this September, meeting on the McCormick campus on the following dates:

  • September 16-18, 2010
  • November 11-13, 2010
  • February 24-26, 2011
  • April 28-30, 2011

In addition, McCormick is exploring a partnership with Montreat Conference Center to offer the certificate program in North Carolina during 2011. Dates and further details will be announced soon.

For more information on the program, or to talk about whether it might be right for you, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Japinga, associate dean for the doctor of ministry program at McCormick, at jjapinga@mccormick.edu or 773-947-6332