About ten years ago our region, the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky created the Church Leadership Institute (CLI) to help train lay leaders and bivocational pastors in our churches. It has been exciting to see the people go through this program and the growth they have experienced as a result. Each class is currently taught at Franklin College and consists of four Saturday sessions over a two month period. Students can take up to four classes a year. You can get more information about the program and register at http://abc-indiana.org/region-ministries/cli/.
This past Saturday I taught my class on "Personal and Family Health." This class examines the challenges of ministry and the importance of maintaining balance in one's life. Time management is always a challenge for bivocational ministers, and we looked at how time management is really life management. The class also learned about some of the effects a lack of balance in one's life can have on one's ministry, family, and personal life. It was a very good session with great discussion. Much of the discussion in this session came out of The Bivocational Pastor: Two Jobs, One Ministry. I'm really looking forward to our next session.
The Church Leadership Institute can be an excellent tool for churches to use in training their lay leaders. On the web page mentioned above you can see the various courses that make up the program, and I can assure you that the instructors for these courses are well qualified. Most of them have earned doctorates and great experience in the particular course they are teaching. Some of our students are not American Baptists and we are certainly open to having persons from other denominational groups enroll in our program.
One change that was made in the program a couple of years ago is that it is not necessary to enroll in the entire program. Students may take just one or two courses if they choose for personal enrichment. The cost for each course is quite reasonable, the courses are very practical for both lay and pastoral leaders, and our students are able to take what they learn in
CLI to make a difference in their churches and in their own personal spiritual development.
If you think you might be interested in learning more about CLI or to register for an upcoming class, please contact me or the persons listed on the web page. We are now accepting applications for the fall term.