Learning Can Be Engaging (LeaderSource India Update)
"Over the three days, I was interested to see the reaction of participants because they were surprised at the number of participants who actually stayed!" -Robert Walter, LeaderSource trainer, on a recent training held in India.
It seems to be a measure of the value of a seminar based on how many people stay. We had little expectation that the big-name leaders who attended our Building Healthy Leaders training in Mumbai, India, would actually even stay past lunch on the first day. When that happened, people started to notice. They were shocked to see there was hardly any drop-off in the entire three-day training! They told us this was highly unusual and it shows that people are getting a lot out of the training.
Robert conducted three trainings in early February on Building Healthy Leaders, design, and personal care in Mumbai and Pune, India. The training in Mumbai for about 60 leaders was greatly received by the participants. The leaders selected for this training were the right people. They were leaders who were motivated to learn and knew why they were attending. One thing that sets our trainings apart is that the leaders who come, pay their own way. Right away, we mark ourselves off as being unique. If participants will invest some of their own money, they are more willing to invest their time as well.
There was a deep interest in the training among the leaders. We had many church leaders from a movement that comprised about 75% of the churches in Mumbai. Their leaders were very engaged! There were also a couple of leaders there from a large church-planting movement working in northern India among rural people. They have around 75,000 house churches established. One of the leaders of this movement is from a very well-known Christian family in India, and it was interesting to watch his reaction to the training. His father is like the Billy Graham of India. We could sense that he had that sort of heritage and legacy. Even though he has been educated in the west and has a PhD in leader development, he was not close-minded and remarked that what we were teaching was similar to what they were doing in the church-planting movement. The first day he was politely interested. The second day his attitude was changing, and he was saying, "Wow, this is interesting. Let me hear more!" By the third day, he had begun to make plans for us to return and conduct other trainings on issues of leader development. This was very exciting for us as we saw him growing increasingly interested throughout the training and we saw the effects of the quality of the training.
In Pune, Robert conducted a training on design. The design seminar was highly experiential – design is taught by doing design. There are relational, spiritual, and instructional components, but there is more and more of the experiential dynamic as participants move through the session. Robert lays out the experiential exercises in a progression from introductory lessons where the participants design one step at a time to more highly challenging and more involved designs. By the end, participants will go through all four Dynamics by themselves. We also teach participants to use the four Dynamics to evaluate existing training material. Robert will give them samples of interesting pieces of training material and ask them: What Dynamics are being used? What Dynamics are missing? Then they are taught to design a couple of steps to fill in the gaps. If anything is missing in the training, add it! In this way, they take baby steps until they get to understand what the Dynamics really are, and by the end of the class they are able to resolve and create something by scratch.
They grow not only in the sense of competence, but their sense of confidence grows. If participants don’t have a sense of confidence, they won’t do it when they get home. Another thing that is different about our trainings is that participants have a lot of fun designing and learning. Learning doesn’t need to be tedious and boring, it can be engaging. People were having a good time every day. We had great discussions and heard very positive feedback from the participants. The training was spiritually engaging and very relational.
The third seminar Robert conducted addressed leader care issues. Some of the pastors who attended came along with their wives. One of the pastor’s wives brought about a dozen people from their church. They ended up being really excited about the seminar! That particular wife received a lot of personal ministry through the seminar and a number of others did as well. They came to be aware of things that they were doing as a family that was unhealthy including how they raise their children and interact with their spouse.
The pastor’s wife spoke with us during the seminar and told us a bit about her background. When she was born, her parents were expecting a son. Sons are much preferred over daughters in India. The parents had already had a daughter, the wife’s older sister, and they really wanted a son. When the wife was born her father went out and got drunk. At the time she didn’t have any cognitive awareness of this but it did sink in when her father avoided her for 12 years. She could sense that she was a disappointment. Through the leader care seminar, she received a lot of healing. She told the whole group that she felt like a gravestone had been moved away from her body! We interacted with leaders who had so much brokenness in their lives. During breaks in the training, they would line up to talk with Robert and our Indian ministry staff.
When we talk about being leaders, this is a large part of what we should be doing. We are not going to have someone leading in a healthy way if they have unresolved brokenness in their life. We received word from one of the pastors who said the that reality had deeply convicted him and he realized that he needs to change the way he interacts with his co-workers and staff. People were commenting that the seminar was personally refreshing and inviting. Following is an email we received from one of the leaders who had attended:
The Pune course was very impactful for me. I believe it is quite transformational - both the design course as well as the Grace for Shame session. More than ministry, I believe it has impacted my personal life, and life with Christ, and I also believe it will touch the work of the Lord that He has called me to. I am grappling with some of my deficiencies revealed during the sessions in the area of community and I believe the Lord is doing some deep correction. I am using the available resources in the process. I've been through the books and workshop material again and they're really helpful. The session on Grace for Shame was amazing.
It has helped me release a lot of shame I had inside and to find my identity in Christ once again.
It helped me recognize and correct a lot of the shame-inflicting I had done on many people, especially my eight-year old son. I am now more careful and conscious in positive correction and avoiding the shame factor. I could see the typical shame responses in many of the people I minister to. I am trusting the Lord to do a one-day Grace for Shame session in my church.
I've already given feedback on how To Enjoy Him Forever is impacting my devotional life. I do feel much closer to Him and I find that my devotional life is not dependent on my mood swings, but has become more stable in Him. Praise the Lord for that book. It's been really popular amongst many of my friends and church family. Thanks so much for sending the books over. I am very thankful to you, brother, for inviting me. I know it's changed me a lot. All I can say is, may the Lord reward you eternally for all the good work He is doing through you. I am thankful that the Lord led me to your ministry within two years of my starting in His work, and not later.