Leading Missional Communities is the title of the upcoming Doctor of Ministry course during the week of June 10-13. It will be taught by professor and pastor Larry Anderson, Jr.  Pastor Anderson is senior pastor of Great Commission Church in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia. His years of visionary pastoral leadership qualify him to teach this course and facilitate students’ growth in self-understanding and ordering of their lives and ministries. I asked Pastor Anderson to talk about his course.

SD: What are some of the key skills and capacities needed for leading missional communities in particular?

LA: To lead a missional community, one has to personally sell out to the mission of God. There cannot be an agenda greater than fulfilling that mission. Success is not determined by finances or the size of your congregation; rather it is determined by your own spiritual awareness and vibrancy of the mission. A missional leader must be a person of prayer; it is impossible to speak for God without listening to Him. Having discernment is paramount to leading a missional community because one must be able to exegete the Biblical text, their church context, and their physical community simultaneously in order to create a synergy that produces a holistic ministry.

SD:How can a course like this make a difference in developing self-awareness and a sustainable leadership style?

LA: This course will challenge the student to take an honest look at him/her self. Each student has to examine: 1) what truly motivates them to serve the Lord, 2) what entitlements they have grown to expect, and 3) how have they in the past and how do they currently handle failure and disappointment. It’s impossible to sustain leading a healthy church if we are not healthy people. Students must demonstrate they have a healthy base with godly people to whom they are accountable. A cohort in their local body that will help protect and remind them of the sinful practices that have perverted and derailed God’s people from God’s call.

SD: Why is this course in the DMin curriculum?

LA: The historical critique concerning seminary education has been based on an education that increases one’s academic acumen and one’s apologetic fortitude while neglecting ones spiritual growth and communal awareness. Thus there is a false sense of spiritual maturity based on one's academic credentials. This course challenges the heart of the theologian to wrestle with the idea that knowledge, faith, and sacrifice without love is nothing.  I’m praying this course will be used by God to battle the embarrassing trend of falling and failing leadership in the church due to an increase in personal ambition and a decrease in spiritual character.

If you want to register for this course (DM913, June 10-13) or know more about the Doctor of Ministry program, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Susan Disston was assistant dean of curriculum and assessment at Biblical Seminary.

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