Over the last four columns, I’ve attempted to unpack the functions of a state convention. Now, we should ask: What is a practical example of these functions? For church leaders, the function that perhaps brings the greatest value to both the minister and the local church is the work of the MBC Leader Care Network operating within the Developing Leaders Group.
“The Leader Care Network helps Missouri Baptist church leaders get well, lead well, and finish well,” says Jim Misloski director of Developing Leaders. “The network involves partners at the national, state, associational, and church levels and our mission is ‘transforming lives and communities with the gospel by growing disciples into leaders who minister to and through others in every sphere of influence.’”
Misloski continues: “The Leader Care Network is working for a day when a majority of MBC-affiliated churches and their leaders behave as if leadership is a ‘team sport.’ Leadership is not an individual event, and our hope is that local church leaders are growing in their ability to minister to and through others by multiplying other leaders.”
He further states, “Pastoral effectiveness and resiliency are largely dependent on the pastor’s ability to grow in radical dependence on God’s presence and power and the people God has placed in and around the church.”
Part of Christian maturity in leaders grows them from independence to interdependence, adds Misloski. Growth in independence – the natural tendency to try to get better and better at doing more and more – is one of the greatest enemies of pastoral effectiveness and resiliency.
“Growth in interdependence – believing that pastoral leadership is a team sport and not an individual event – fosters multiplication at every level in the church,” says Misloski. “When church members see multiple pastors, both funded and unfunded, academically-trained and non-academically trained, in a church of any size, they begin to experience multiplication of other leaders and disciples.”
To achieve this mission, the MBC has engaged an array of networks and initiatives designed to support a movement among Missouri Baptist churches and their leaders. Here are some that are available:
Associational Leader Networks
We encourage Missouri Baptist church leaders to contact their associational leaders first. Because the associational leader is closer to the local church, he is often more aware of partnerships and resources available to the churches than anyone else. The associational leader also is familiar with convention personnel and can often be more effective locating the right resources on behalf of the church. The MBC Leader Care Network works in strategic partnership with associational leaders.
Believing we are better together, MBC missionaries connect the dots between churches, associations, state conventions, and national partners, and between needs and resources.
Standing Stone Ministry (standingstoneministry.org)
One of the first resources is a trusted partner that provides free care to pastors and their wives as long as they need it. Standing Stone is a national ministry that establishes trusted, confidential relationships with pastors and ministry leaders.
Church leaders experience a full range of biblical guidance at no cost through an ongoing, trusted relationship with a Standing Stone shepherd who understands the challenges of ministry firsthand.
Dave and Sandy Hastings have been assigned to the MBC from Standing Stone’s national team. Contact them at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 479.925.8491, or visit daveandsandyhastings.com.
Conflict Resolution Services for Missouri Baptist Churches
The MBC keeps an updated and vetted list of mediation resources for MBC churches. We are constantly looking for and partnering with mediators and organizations like PastorServe, which we can connect with Missouri Baptist churches that need them. If a church is experiencing conflict, we work with that church and its associational leader to make mediation services affordable. Contact email@example.com to inquire about assistance with this resource and others.
Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
The MBC engages in several partnerships to help Missouri Baptist church leaders provide training to prevent sexual abuse in their churches. The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) offers Stewards of Children. This two-hour training gives people the skills to create safer church environments. The strength of MBCH is the availability of the staff to guide and coach church leaders. Contact David Burch at the MBCH (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
The Ministry Safe system focuses on protecting our children from the devastating consequences of sexual abuse. It includes: sexual abuse awareness training; skillful screening; appropriate criminal background checks; tailored policies and procedures; and monitoring and oversight. Ministry Safe’s strength is the online tools to implement an ongoing system of prevention.
Together, the MBCH and Ministry Safe provide our church members with people and tools needed to help you navigate this critical issue in your church. Learn more about both of these partners at mobaptist.org/church-benefits/church-protection.
A network of experienced Missouri Baptist pastors and associational leaders provide guidance and resources for churches interested in establishing and implementing sabbatical polices for their leaders. The MBC Leader Care Network provides this assistance to churches because of the short- and long-term benefits sabbaticals produce. Contact email@example.com to inquire about assistance.
Other resources include:
• The Annual New Pastor and Wives Retreat
• Ministry Wives Support and Encouragement
• Timothy+Barnabas Retreat in Branson
• Midwest Leadership Summit
• Counseling help
To gain accesses to all the current assets of the Leadership Development Group, visit mobaptist.org/church-benefits/helpforleaders.