He appointed twelve that they might be with him

Last weekend was a two-day seminar for church leaders on how to more effectively train leaders in our congregations. It was held at a hotel not far from the Boa Vista (downtown) church building and was taught by veteran missionaries Jerry and Gail Heiderich from the south of Brazil. They are both trained family counselors and their ministry is to go around working with church leaders in different parts of South America. There were 36 present representing a dozen different congregations and cities in the Northeast (including Natal, 300 km N).

Their main emphasis was that we traditionally train by classroom instruction while Jesus trained more holistically. Besides teaching Jesus developed his disciples spiritual life (relationship with God), their relational life (to him and to one another) and experiential (guided them in hands on experiences). The material they used for this training is called Connexions Leadership Model” and is available commercially.

Serendipitously, I did learn a lot watching them teach inductively. They gave some very meaningful examples. One was to show a bone (they used a large rawhide bone found in pet stores) and ask us to try to think of every verb we could that describes a dog’s relationship to that bone (eat, digest, lick, chew, sallow, guard, smell, taste, etc.) while they wrote them on the board. Then they asked us to think of every verb we could that describes an archaeologist’s relationship to a bone (study, examine, weigh, x-ray, protect, categorize, carbon date, etc. etc.). THEN he asked us to look at those two lists of verbs and decide which best describe the relationship most Christians have with the Bible. And which should we have? We said that most have an archeologist’s relationship but the surprising answer is that we should be like the dog, who doesn’t care to study it as a subject but to consume it. I loved it!

Note: The Heiderichs are moving back to the States next month after serving the Lord over three decades in Brazil. They have trained Nilton Barreto, who now lives in Recife and has participated in many leadership and spiritual renewal events and even helped co-teach this one, to continue offering training employing the Connexions model.