Ministry Training Program Courses

Download pdf flyer here: Ministry Training Program – Fall 2013
Introduction to Leadership Development & Spiritual Formation
(Two courses – Offered in Dallas)

Leadership Development – September 6-7
Click here to visit the course home page.

This survey course provides an overview of congregational leadership, including both organizational systems and dynamics as well as reflection on the person and functioning of the leader. Participants will reflect upon their own leadership style and how to best leverage it in the places where they serve. Students will also have opportunity to practice and discuss different approaches to situations. By the end of the course students should be able to articulate how they lead and identify areas for future study and growth. Session Topics:
Biblical Leadership Models; Leadership Theory; The Person of the Leader; Transformation Principles; Crisis and Conflict; Faith Formation as Leadership Development: Teaching as Leading; Leading Children and Youth; Sharing Leadership & Equipping; Missional Church Leadership; Where do you lead?; Strategic Planning; Becoming the Leader God made you to be. (SL MTP – Leadership Development Introduction – Course Outline)

Leadership Development – September 6-7
Click here to visit the course home page.

This is a foundational course in Christian spiritual formation. The primary goal is to help participants develop a deeper spiritual life by exploring these practices, their roots, and the interconnections among them. Students will have opportunity to experience, individually and in groups, various practices of prayer and other spiritual disciplines. This course lays the ground work for a series of future courses that will explore in greater depth various aspects of spiritual formation, for both the participants’ personal lives as well as their ability to nurture and guide the spiritual formation of others. Session topics: Finding Your Heart’s True Home; The Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament; Eastern Wisdom, Western Wisdom; Reformation, Reformed and Restoration Insights; Charismatic and Pentecostal Insights; Receiving the gifts of global spirituality; The New Monasticism and Missional Spiritualities; Spiritual Formation throughout the Ministries of the Church; Spiritual Direction as a part of your ministry; Psychology and Spirituality; Spirituality and Health; We are in God and God is in us; Spiritual Discernment. (SL MTP – Spiritual Formation Introduction – Course Outline)

Training events will be held at Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Cost is $229 including lunch, refreshments and course workbook.
For out-of-town students, we have arranged a special group rate at a local hotel.
Schedule for both will be: Friday 6-9 and Saturday 8:30-4:30
followed by 4 weekly conference calls with all participants
(Discounts available for registering for both courses at once,
and for 3+ registrations from the same organization)

Additionally, a retreat will be scheduled at Disciples Crossing in Athens in mid fall to include practice of spiritual disciplines and reflection on leadership planning for 2014. Cost tbd will include room and board.

Rev. Ken G. Crawford, ordained minister and leadership development coach and consultant. ~ 214-288-1663 Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter: KenGCrawford.
Additional resources @ and KenGCrawfordCoaching on Facebook.

Please visit for details on these and other courses offered by Christian College and the Atlanta United Divinity Center ~

Ministry Training Program
About the course and instructor

Rev. Ken G. Crawford has spent more than 20 years as a ministry leader in congregations, non-profits, hospitals and colleges. Originally from Philadelphia, he was raised in Texas, where he now lives with his wife Laura and their two children. He has been active in Disciples, Presbyterian and UMC churches, and has served as a Disciples of Christ minister for 20 years. He plays guitar well enough to lead worship at camp, where he first received his call to ministry. His favorite place is at the beach with his family. He loves sailing and hiking, and writes poetry as a spiritual practice.

Ken’s passion in ministry is to support leaders as they pursue the deepest and fullest expressions of who they are in Christ, for the sake of the church as a vessel and vehicle for God’s transforming love. He is currently pursuing a DMin at Perkins, SMU, in Missional Church Leadership and Spiritual Formation. His MDiv is from Brite, TCU, and his bachelors from Texas Tech. Synchronous Life is a leadership development organization rooted in a tri-fold approach that integrates best practices in organizational leadership with emotional and relational vitality and grounds these on a deeply formative spiritual foundation.

These courses will satisfy, in part, educational requirements for non-seminary trained candidates under the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Apprenticeship Path to Ordination and for those seeking to be Commissioned in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  All courses are developed and delivered with the intent of preparing candidates for standing in the area of competency set forth.  The courses will be taught in a way that makes them accessible and valuable to individuals from other Christian traditions as well. Future courses will expand on these themes by narrowing the focus to particular aspects of the field.  All courses utilize the ONLINE Learning Platform of  and are provided through a “blended” format of onsite learning (one intensive class session of a Friday evening and all day Saturday) and online learning (weekly class meetings through conference calls/webinars following the weekend intensive). More information about the curriculum can be found at

Our guarantee being offered by this program is that students will engage with the instructor and peers around a variety of topics vital to healthy and fruitful ministry. We make no other guarantees related to other ordaining or certifying bodies. Students are encouraged to request a copy of the course prospectus if they wish it to be reviewed by such a body in advance.

Please note: Courses are intended to serve a diverse ecumenical audience. Content is not specific to one denominational perspective or experience. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own tradition and experience, articulate that in the group, and engage in fruitful dialogue for mutual benefit.
Please contact Rev. Crawford for further conversation about these or other programs.
214-288-1663 ~ ~

Listening to scripture with missional ears

What does it mean for us to “listen with missional ears”? Everyone approaches scripture with certain filters in place – some intentionally chosen (evangelical, literalist, liberationist, to name a few) others less conscious (historic, linguist, gender or cultural biases, for example). What is a “missional mindset” and how does it impact our reading of scripture? Missional assumes several things about the Christian witness, including the church, its history, and its scriptures. Being missional means having an intentionally outward focus more concerned with being out among people in the community and world, being in touch and in relationship, going to preceding inviting in. When Jesus says, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” (Mark 1:38) and later “I came so that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) He is modeling a missional mindset. Never did Jesus stand within the faith community and call people to come to him – always he went to them. When he called people to him, he was not in the Temple or Synagogue, but out in the towns, or in someone’s home, or their places of commerce and recreation. At the end of his ministry as John envisions it, Jesus confers this missional approach upon the apostles, and through them the whole apostolic community, the church, with the infilling of the Holy Spirit (John 20:21). To be an apostle is to be sent with a message and a mission, just as Jesus was and Paul after him (Gal 1:1), so we are to be like Christ in this (Phil 2)

So, I think that “listening with missional ears” means starting with the understanding that we are sent by a loving God to proclaim that love in word and deed. In 1 John 4 we are urged to “test the spirits” which is another way of saying that we are indeed to have a filter when we see and hear, and this filter, according to John, is God’s love for the world revealed to the world in Jesus, the Christ. We listen with missional ears that have a filter of God’s love for all creation, a love so strong that it compelled the Trinity to send Jesus, the Son, to taken on human flesh, and then for the Holy Spirit to come and continue that incarnational work in the world through the church. We, as church, the Body of Christ, are the continuation of the incarnation.

I’m continuing my summer sermon theme: “Listening to scripture with Missional Ears.” I am working from the Lectionary to prevent me from cherry picking the “easy” and “obvious” missional texts, like Matthew 25:31-46. And I’m using the Old Testament texts, because those are the ones that Jesus and the early church had, and because it further presses me to ask these questions in places where the first glance might say, “there is nothing missional here.”

I will be preaching 6/23 and 6/30 at Rocket Christian Church. 8:30am, so you can still get to wherever else you need to be for the day. Wondering about being missional in rural Texas. This week, Elijah runs from a girl and then pouts because he thinks he is the only one who is faithful. Next week, Elisha follows Elijah around like a littler brother. Elijah says, “Go away,” and Elisha simply says, No, and then asks for too much. Later in the summer I will be preaching from the Prophet Amos, chapters 7-8, which are texts of the judgement and mercy of God.

I welcome your conversation. What do you understand to be “listening with missional ears”? What would you add or remove from what I have said? What implications do you think this way of hearing has for us?

Contextual Leadership Formation

Leadership development is best done in context. We are formed as leaders through action and reflection, individually and in groups, with mentors and coaches who can guide us along the way and build into us capacities for strength and confidence in the midst of the incredible challenges that leaders face today. Internships provide leaders the opportunity to develop and refine their competence “in real time” with the supervision and guidance of skilled facilitators.

I spent the last several days with leaders from three different Christian organizations discussing and exploring the emerging “new monastic” expressions as a form of “contextual leadership formation” (my phrase). Ben Bohren and Patti Case from the National Benevolent Association met with Elaine Heath, Wes Magruder, Daryn DeZengotita, Justin Hancock and others from the Missional Wisdom Foundation and Jim Ellison with the Fund for Theological Education. At the lunch meeting Thursday this group led a conversation with more than a dozen Disciples of Christ leaders from the Christian Church in the Southwest, the North Texas and Trinity Brazos areas, Juliette Fowler Communities, South Hills Christian Church, Northway Christian Church, East Dallas Christian Church, and Ridgelea Christian Church, among others.

I have also been in conversation with business school leaders, including Paula Strasser from the SMU Cox School of Business and Brad Hancock from the TCU Neeley School of Business Entrepreneurship Center. I met with folks at Success North Dallas, an organization founded by Bill Wallace that seeks to deepen and strengthen leaders. And I got to have conversation with Candace Fitzpatrick, founder of Core Clarity, an organization that helps individuals and organizations thrive by understanding and focusing energy in the areas of greatest talent and strength.

One of the common threads in these conversations is the importance of quality contextual leadership formation that includes a coaching and mentoring components. Coaching and mentoring are different and complementary disciplines. Each have a place in leadership formation, at its initiation, and throughout our careers, regardless of our field – business, government, healthcare, academy, non-profit, faith based, congregational. Learning from books and lectures is immeasurably valuable, but limited. Much of the integration of this learning arises in the field, in context, and is facilitated by working with mentors and coaches. These experiences are often labeled as internships.

It is also most valuable to do this work in community, with a group of peers from the same or different disciplines, who can offer peer mentoring and coaching, support, encouragement, challenge and accountability. The best programs (like the ones mentioned above) combine these practices of individual and group mentoring and coaching.

When have you struggled for lack of this kind of support? What was that like, and what did you do about it?
Where have you experienced good mentoring and coaching, individually and as part of a group? How did those experiences help to make you a better leader?

Considering healthy boundaries

“You can always count on her.” “He’ll do anything you ask.” “Call any time, day or night, 24/7/365.” “Overworked, over worried, underappreciated, always taken advantage of.” Does this describe you or someone you know? These statements indicate a lack of clear boundaries. People tend to behave consistently across the different relationship systems in their lives, meaning that a lack of boundaries in one area (at work, for instance) will likely also manifest in other areas (family, friends, and personal health).

Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have an entire series of resources drawing on their landmark 1992 book from Zondervan: Boundaries: When to say yes, How to say no, to take control of your life. We learn most of what we believe and practice about relationship boundaries early in life in the context of our primary relationships. Our parents and siblings, other adults and peers teach us whether it is ok to attend to our own wants and needs, and if so how. Some of us learned that to ever think about self is equal to selfishness. To ever say no is equal to meanness. Others learned that you should always put self first, because no one else will. Selfish and selfless are two ends of a spectrum that show an unhealthy relationship with boundaries – too rigid on one end and completely absent on the other. Having a healthy sense of self and healthy boundaries is a middle way between these extremes.

One of the most powerful chapters in this text is #4 “How Boundaries Are Developed”. The fact that boundaries develop over time, through a process, is an important insight. It means that we can change our understanding and practice of boundaries and develop new ones through the implementation of a new process. Healthy boundaries enable us to say yes to the good/beneficial and no to the bad/harmful ideas, things, relationships and experiences in our lives.

Symptoms – such as addictive behaviors and unhealthy relationships with things like food – express poor boundaries in that particular area. They also often demonstrate a lack of healthy boundaries in a more significant, deeper, and more difficult area. For instance, when someone lacks good and healthy emotional boundaries in their intimate relationships, they will often self medicate to alleviate the pain. People with addictive behaviors surround themselves with codependents who make their addictions possible, and codependents are drawn to addicts because they “need” someone to care for. These behaviors feed off each other, perpetuate the system, and ingrain these attitudes, beliefs and habits in the lives of others.

Me and You – Boundaries are about knowing where I begin and end, what is mine to own and what is not. People with healthy boundaries do not take on others’ emotional issues and struggles, nor do they project their own onto them. Imagine a medical professional, attorney, or therapist who personally (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically) took on the struggles of their clients! We would say their boundaries are too porous. Alternately, when they seem indifferent, we say they are unrelatable, cold and aloof, and have not bedside manner. Either extreme is undesirable. We want professionals who express interest, care and even concern, while not getting down into our hole with us. We need them to stay above, where they can assess the situation and help us move toward wholeness.

Next steps – Ask yourself where you experience emotional stress in your life. There may well be room for developing healthier boundaries. Where do you wish you could do something different, but can’t find a way forward? Again, this may be a boundary issue. The Boundaries series includes workbooks that can be very helpful. A professional coach can help you identify, strategize, and work toward healthier boundaries.

Download pdf here:
Training – Boundaries Introduction

Understanding your leadership culture through coaching

Bookstores have shelves filled with titles on leadership and organizational culture. Here is a sampling of popular titles on Amazon. We like to read these books, join discussion groups (which can be wonderfully helpful) and attend workshops and conferences (also great!). Unfortunately, many of us have done all these things, and then fallen short in implementing and executing the insights gained or renewed.

Coaching is a process of working one-on-one or with a group and a facilitator/coach to:

  • identify goals and tell a story of a preferred future
  • assess current strengths and growth opportunities
  • clarify the gaps between here/now and there/then
  • develop a plan to close that gap, to make the journey

That final step is the most difficult for many, though at any of these stages we can struggle. One major failure of leadership is to try and skip one of these stages all together.

Coaching also helps us understand our leadership culture in the organization – both our own style and that of the group. What is your leadership temperament? How does it fit with the followership styles of those in your organization? How does it fit in your context? Honest assessment of these issues is crucial to successful leadership of any organization.

You can begin by asking yourself some powerful and simple coaching questions:

  1. Where would you personally focus your energy and attention if you had every resource and no obstacle? – This is your dream.
  2. How do you convey this to those who follow you? – This is your message.
  3. How would your key followers answer question #1, about themselves and about you?
  4. How are you pursuing your dream and helping others do the same? – This is your mission.
  5. How many different directions are the people in your organization pulling?
  6. What is the greatest obstacle to pursuing your dream?
  7. What is the greatest strength, in you and in your team, for accomplishing your dream?

Once you begin to answer these questions, you will discover some things about the leadership culture in your organization. Is it active or passive, assertive or withdrawn? Is it unilateral or collaborative, solitary or cooperative? Who is really leading, and who is following?

Once you have some of these answers, you have some insight into what you can address to strengthen and fully integrate your leadership culture. Contact me if you want to explore this further.