It’s March, so our south-facing picture window is playing host to starter-pots in flats full of dozens of seedlings growing in last year’s compost. We have old heating pads underneath them to help mimic warm soil to help them germinate. We also have several old shop lights rigged up to augment the sunlight at both ends of the day. We found it interesting that the most robust and resilient seedlings are the ones that came from seed that we saved from the best of last year’s yield.
My spouse and I have been learning a lot about soil science as part of our Permaculture practice. The soil is a whole ecosystem (YouTube Video) of bacteria, fungi, and all sorts of other life that help make nutrients and minerals available to plants. Plants grown in living soil with a balanced biome are resistant to disease, and the harvested fruits and vegetables include more nutrients and minerals than those grown in plain dirt augmented with chemical fertilizers.
I think there are some lessons from growing plants that can also be applied to growing leaders. Having a congregational culture grounded in covenant and gratitude can help leaders thrive as they grow into new leadership positions. Leadership development training such as Helpful Board Habits and Centered Leadership II provide a balanced biome of good boundaries along with frameworks like systems thinking and other helpful mental models. Having existing leader mentor new leaders provides the new leaders more ability to adapt to the particularities of the congregation.
Of course, just as our established perennials benefit from an application of rich compost, experienced leaders can also benefit from additional leadership development, especially training that help deepen one’s faith, such as Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership or by gaining new skills, like using Discernment Circles.
We all can use a little nourishment as leaders!