Why is it important for leaders to have their own individual development plan or growth plan? A February 2013 blog post by Ken Guenther seeks to answer this question, not just for team leaders, but for all cross-cultural missionaries.
But what should be included in the IDP of team leaders? The Individual Growth Plan guide for mission members suggests many categories in which a field leader could seek to grow. But few of these categories are in the area of leadership, and in that guide, no specific learning activities are given to help a person develop leadership skills.
To address this question, the SEND Team Leader Growth Plan Guide was developed. Its purpose is to provide some direction for team leaders and their supervisors (Area Directors, Ministry Directors, etc) in choosing learning activities that will develop the leadership capacities of mission leaders. The Impact field leader survey back in 2009 indicated that the majority of SEND field leaders did not believe that SEND had a process to help them become a more effective cross-cultural leader. SEND U has sought to rectify that situation by creating this guide and its accompanying self-assessment and IGP (Individual Growth Plan) template. Our desire is that each team leader would have a needs-based plan for his or her ongoing growth as a team leader and missionary and that this plan would result in stronger teams that would more effectively mobilize, engage and establish reproducing churches.
This growth plan guide is based on the SEND Team Leader Profile and seeks to develop the character qualities and skills that have been identified by SEND as important for a team leader. None of us have fully acquired these qualities and skills and so we are in a life-long learning journey. This guide provides a map for that journey for SEND team leaders, listing many different learning activities for each of the major categories of the Team Leader Profile. At first glance, it may seem overwhelming, but it is not a “required curriculum.” No team leader is expected to complete all the activities listed on the guide, even over a lifetime of service. Rather the guide should be viewed as more of a catalog of good choices.
In November of each year, SEND recommends that each team leader complete the self-assessment included in the Team Leader Growth Plan Guide. This self-assessment is based on the Team Leader Profile and helps the leader identify their level of confidence and competence in a number of areas that SEND believes are important for team leaders. This self-assessment should also include a personal review of their job description and some reflection upon any ministry skills that they would like to develop over the next year. Then in December or January, each team leader will create their Individual Growth Plan (with input from their supervisor). This meeting could happen as part of the quarterly Rekindle meetings that team leaders have with their supervisors. A template for creating the IGP can be found at the end of the SEND Team Leader Growth Plan Guide.
SEND U is recommending that team leaders aim to give 10% of their work time (the equivalent of half a day a week) to growth and development of themselves as a leader and missionary. This is not time spent in preparing sermons, but rather learning devoted specifically to the personal growth of the team leader.
See this wiki page: Training Opportunities for Mission Leaders