The CPL program explores Christian Public Leadership by attending to leadership in the midst of particular communities and their distinct contextual realities. In this course, students will expand their leadership capacity by leading and being in dialogue with a particular ministry context. With this ministry context as their primary conversation partner, students will critically reflect on themselves as leaders, discover the communal nature of leadership, explore different spiritual practices, and develop their own leadership practices. Particular attention will be given to praxis, contextualization, and integrative approaches to ministry which will all be connected to student’s degree program or concentration of study. Students will examine assumptions about God, communities, and neighbor in their particular contexts. Most students take four consecutive semesters of CPL.
The CPL program assumes that a seminarian will participate in a contextual site at an average of five hours/week or twenty hours/month on a volunteer basis. If the seminarian participates at a greater number of hours per week or month, Christian Public Leader sites offer compensation. Contextual Learning recommended guidelines are $11.00 – $12.00 per hour.
Your commitment as a CPL mentor
- Complete your Mentor CPL Application Form.
- Work with the seminarian(s) to determine their goals, help them achieve their goals, and reflect on their progress.
- Set time aside for a weekly or biweekly meeting to talk through their work.
- Support the seminarian(s) by setting clear expectations for their time. It will be helpful for you to know what to expect, of course, but it will be essential for them to have some structure for their experience.
- Treat them as a learning student, not as inexpensive help for the pulpit or office. They are serving with you, your site, and your community to learn what it means to be a Christian public leader in a congregation or community-based organization. Set a good example, and treat their learning experience with respect.
Possible goals of students’ work in context
- Developing a sense of God’s mission within yourself, your contexts, and your communities
- Developing a capacity for deep, intentional listening within yourself, your contexts, and your communities
- Lifting out your heart’s greatest joys in the context of the world’s greatest needs
- Recognizing and developing your own strengths, gifts, and experiences
- Defining and highlighting your own limits, growing edges, and lack of experience
- Developing emotional and spiritual, health, and well-being
- Working on thoughtful servant leadership, humility, and resilience
- Exploring the shape, contour, and origins of your theologies and personal worldviews
- Learning to critically examine those theologies and personal worldviews in order to better understand the Other and build a wider frame of reference in Christian public leadership
- Developing a sense of what it means to engage pastoral, community-based, and/or other types of professional leadership, especially through one-on-one examples
- Developing a sense of what it means to engage in teaching, writing, communications, pastoral care, mission development, youth leadership, social work, arts, and/or other types of professional roles, especially through one-on-one examples
- Witnessing how your mentor lives into their own emotional and spiritual health and well-being
- Building a knowledge base of theology, language, behavior that enhances the worth and dignity of others:
- Understanding theology as a foundation for intercultural relationships with others
- Developing skills of empathy and verbal/non-verbal communication with others
- Crafting attitudes of curiosity, respect, and openness toward others
- Learning how to engage in respectful silence and learning
- Taking on the skills of a professional pastor:
- Leading worship
- Planning services and events
- Providing pastoral care
- Engaging in visitation
- Connecting with the congregation’s contexts and communities
- Evangelizing by personal, theological, and ethical example
- Understanding issues of stewardship and financial administration
- Taking on the skills of a professional community-based leader:
- Coordinating programs
- Supporting stewardship and writing grants
- Working on marketing and publicity
- Mapping assets and building networks
- Facilitating service-learning
- Reaching out to campus settings
- Building partnerships with congregations
- Learning to teach, write, publicize, develop mission work, support youth, provide social services, make art, etc.
- Developing healthy models of emotional and spiritual well-being
- Developing intercultural competence and ability to bridge across difference to proclaim the Gospel
- Ensuring that your skills can support you as an emerging, valuable Christian public leader
Learning agreement and reflection questions
Mentors, your seminarian will be responsible for sharing their learning agreement and reflection questions with you directly. This process should be driven by the student, as we are trying to cultivate self-driven lifelong learners.
Please check with Contextual Learning for information about this semester’s placement process (firstname.lastname@example.org).