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Tammy Dunahoo on leadership development

General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo shares how Foursquare is pursuing leadership development, the first of our movement's three Missional Objectives.

If we intend to fulfill Jesus’ commission, we can’t do it alone. Even Jesus knew this. He raised up disciples who became leaders, planted churches and started gospel movements.

Today, we as ministers also need to actively pursue leadership development, one of three core Missional Objectives set in motion through the Reimagine Foursquare process.

But what does it take to do this? Tammy Dunahoo, general supervisor of The Foursquare Church, gives crucial insights and shares her heart in this exclusive interview.

How do you define leadership development?

For me, spiritual leadership means women and men humbly and boldly accept responsibility for the call and capacity given to them by God, for the sake of others.

Leadership development, then, is the formation of these leaders over a lifetime that shapes their hearts, minds and hands to effectively fulfill God’s design. It’s all-encompassing.

The heart is the motivation. It includes every aspect of the leader’s personal life. The mind is the knowledge; it’s how someone thinks. Then, the hands are the action—someone’s skill set, the competency to lead well.

Leadership development is a lifetime endeavor. To engage it well, we must value lifelong learning, growing and transformation.

Why does this Missional Objective matter so much?

I am convinced that if we become a “deliberately developmental” community, where we make the health and formation of leaders our highest priority, then our other two Missional Objectives (church transformation; church and congregation multiplication) will follow.

I say this because I believe it is in the heart of every leader to become everything God intended and to accomplish all He has assigned.

But, we do this best in a community that loves, believes in, equips and challenges one another to do so.

When people who answer God’s call are well equipped to fulfill His plan, church transformation and multiplication will be the result. It can happen exponentially when we do it together!

How have you personally lived out this commitment to leadership development?

I have always valued and pursued learning and personal growth, but I had significant change in my life in 2016 more than I’ve had in a long, long time. That’s because I intentionally pursued transformative disciplines of leadership development like never before. (And I’ve been walking with Jesus for 50 years and pastoring for 35 years!)

I started seminary, which was a lifelong dream. I hired a life coach, and I started seeing a nutritionist last year. Each of these worked together.

At the same time, I engaged in classes about prayer and personal transformation, worked with my coach to redefine my values and assess my lifestyle, and even took steps so that my physical health is honoring to God. It’s been an incredible journey.

It is so true that we do not automatically become a healthier disciple and leader with age alone. It takes intentional practices.

How can a leader measure their growth in this area?

For me, my top three measurements and markers to finishing well are:

  1. Am I more in love with Jesus today than this time last year?
  2. Is the fruit of the Spirit increasing and flourishing in my life, and are others seeing it?
  3. What am I reproducing in those I lead?

First, being more in love with Jesus results in becoming more like Him. If we are truly Spirit-empowered people, then the fruit of the Spirit will be the greatest evidence of all. As we live in the fullness and power of the Spirit, this fruit increases.

Also, I recommend conducting a regular evaluation of your relationships. Pete Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Leader, stated that you cannot grow spiritually beyond what you have grown emotionally. When I see an unhealthy leader continually leaving a wake of hurt people behind him or her, it tells me there’s a leader who has not attended to his/her own soul—and others are being affected because of it.

We reproduce who we are. Our leadership style is shaped by our personal wholeness or lack thereof.

Ask yourself: Are the people I lead thriving? What am I cultivating in them? Is my influence expanding or shrinking? What do others think about Jesus and His church after being around me?

How can pastors remember to be involved in people development, not just ministry or program development?

Years ago, I heard Daniel A. Brown say, “We don’t use people to do tasks, we use tasks to do people (disciple them).” I determined then to always evaluate my motivation in leading: Ministry is about discipling people. Develop people, and the tasks will follow.

Now, if you teach people skills but don’t help shape their hearts, they’re not set up for success in life or leadership.

If you focus on their hearts but you don’t teach them how to think critically, they’ll be tossed by every wind of change.

If you teach them to think but don’t give them skill sets, they find themselves frustrated in leadership when theories don’t translate into practice.

God’s goal for equippers is clear in Ephesians 4: that the church would become mature, lacking nothing, “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13, NIV). As a result, the whole body “grows and builds itself up in love, as each does its work” (v. 16).

How has the National Church Office (NCO) streamlined to focus on the objectives overall?

In Dallas, Foursquare Connection 2014 confirmed the direction of Reimagine Foursquare and set our movement’s Missional Objectives as: (1) leadership development; (2) church transformation (health); and (3) church and congregation multiplication.

Our NCO office team now consists of two assistants, who serve the general supervisor and districts, and two assistants who serve the field-based ministry of chaplains, leadership health, education and training. Each of these field-based ministries are specific to the health and development of leaders.

The district offices also now focus their efforts on the three Missional Objectives, and the paradigm shift is beginning to gain momentum. Supervisors are starting to network pastors to dream together about partnership in a collective vision. Excellent training is available, much of which is taking place through local churches. Pastors are mentoring and coaching one another, churches are coming alongside and adopting restarts and sending new plants, and a community of care and connection is being re-established.

It all starts with leadership development, with having healthy, growing leaders. Then, we’ll see exponential numbers of flourishing ministers and multiplication of healthy churches.

How do you see leadership development and institutes such as Life Pacific College working together?

At Life Pacific College (LPC), they understand that leadership of the future, what we call ministry, goes beyond the pulpit. They are training every student that they are ministers, and that ministry will take place in a lot of different arenas.

I’m grateful that we have a growing number of educational opportunities in Foursquare. Besides LPC in California, many of our local churches have institutes, internships and residencies. We have Ignite Academy on the U.S. East Coast, True North Academy in the central region, and even affiliate colleges, seminars and conferences in our districts. Districts are also engaging LPC with Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership (MASL) cohorts, beginning in various regions.

We’re even providing a variety of online courses through Canvas, our learning management system, which is free to all Foursquare credentialed ministers.

I’ve never seen this level of interest in continuing education since I’ve been in Foursquare, and I am thrilled at what we are experiencing as a result.

The seminary that I’m attending said to our cohort, “If you aren’t more in love with Jesus when you finish your degree than when you started, then we have failed.” This is the goal of education: It’s not just to have more knowledge, but to grow as lovers of God and leaders in His church.

How does this Missional Objective play into the future of Foursquare and the completion of our mission as part of Christ’s church?

My hope and prayer would be that Foursquare would be known as the tribe to belong to if you want to be invested in, connected, and a part of a thriving movement of growing, multiplying leaders who impact the world with the gospel.

I’ve taken the term “deliberately developmental” from a new book titled, An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. I believe it is what Jesus called “making disciples” and what He modeled throughout His ministry.

If we’ll become known for that, for being “deliberately developmental,” we’ll have more missionaries, church planters, pastors and marketplace ministers than we’ve ever dreamed. Best of all, they’ll be flourishing, influential, and effectively living and proclaiming the gospel, making disciples of all nations.

Find Leadership Development Opportunities

Looking to learn more about leadership development? Pick up one of these books recommended by Tammy Dunahoo: An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey; Making Room for Leadership by MaryKate Morse; Staying Power by Ken L. Roberts; Summoned to Lead by Leonard Sweet; and The Foursquare Pastor by Jim Hayford.

is the vice president of U.S. operations and general supervisor for The Foursquare Church.
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