Connections are a Hallmark of A3
Leaders need connections. A3 fosters an environment to encourage leaders to make significant, life-altering connections.
This is fairly intuitive, right? Everyone believes that, right?
Losing Perspective Amidst Ministry Activity
The problem is that 10-15 years into ministry, leaders who are busy in the midst of doing their thing, begin to forget the basics. They start to rely on their experience... Trust in their diplomas... Rely upon past leadership successes to address current challenges. Stop leaning on wise counsel from others because it only delays action... and if the advice is contrary to how the leader wants to move ahead, it's just a huge roadblock on their plans. So seeking counsel is bypassed.
Through the years of increasing self-reliance, leaders grow more isolated, less accountable, less connected, and often less fruitful. Sure, ministry activities press on, but is it really producing fruit that lasts?
This is precisely where the A3 experience can help shift leaders to get reconnected (and why "the right time" in selection is crucial). Leaders need to get plugged into key life-giving relationships. We were created for relationships, so leaders of all people shouldn't run away from relationships to become more productive.
A3 seeks to connect each leader to God, to one another, and to their mission/world.
Living an Up-In-Out Lifestyle
At A3, we sometimes talk about these connections as a lifestyle of UP-IN-OUT...
Connect Leaders to God — Deepen their Love for Him (UP)
It is absolutely essential to lay a solid foundation for developing leaders upon this truth: Leaders must be connected to God—no ifs, ands, or buts. This must happen or the leader will not be able to influence God's people toward his purposes.
Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." and "Abide in me." A3 believes this truth is central for all believers, especially leaders.
A Deepening, Personal Loving Relationship with God
So A3 focuses intensely on nurturing a deepening, personal loving relationship with God. Not only is this the first outcome we aim to see in the life of every A3 leader, we believe this is crucial before everything else. Simply put, the pebble making the first splash is necessary for additional ripples to flow outward. So the love relationship is necessary for the leader to be a Spirit-led leader.
There are various ways that A3 reinforces this spirit of abiding is reinforced to its leaders:
- Daily worship times during sessions
- Devotions during the sessions often focus on this aspect of a deepening relationship with God
- Teaching by faculty each time the sessions meet
- Time-Line exercise for each leader to see God's hand in their life from start through to the end
- Learning from how others in the cohort worship God, including those from different denominations
Connect Leaders To One Another — Build Deep Community (IN)
As they connect with God, they begin to see things the way the Father sees them—and people, too. They begin to see each other as gifts from God, not as competitors. This competitor mindset is really a lie of the Enemy that is confronted within the A3 community. Participants begin drop the titles and denominations; they are simply brothers and sisters in Christ. And their informal language reflects that new mindset.
Cohorts Practice the One-Anothers in their Learning Communities
A3 participants are immediately placed into a 2-year cohort that becomes a learning community. They learn together. Sing together. Eat together. Pray together. Listen together and share together. Cry with one another. Carry each other's burdens. Encourage one another. Practice the "one-anothers" of Scripture. All together.
Over time, they get tight—very tight, in fact, and begin to trust each other deeply. Walls break down.
As they learn together, this is where paradigm shifts begin to happen and harmful lies of the Enemy are exposed. These lies cause roadblocks or inertia by keeping people isolated and feeling helpless or push leaders toward competitively building their own kingdoms.
When confronted, there is release from these lies of the Enemy. These falsehoods are replaced with truths that bring freedom—truth that sets them free and to live in unity. It helps them to see themselves and others in terms of identity in Christ.
The A3 Leader Development Model brings together 12-18 leaders who meet quarterly over a 2-year period. Intensive, in-service, in-country, in-community, and ongoing. This is where reconnection with others is first experienced and practiced. And then it becomes ingrained into each of them.
Upon graduation, these A3 Leaders are unleashed to apply what they've learned and to influence Spirit-led change in their worlds.
After participants graduate from the program, A3 foster purposeful networks with high-impact leaders to face their unique challenges... together. There are new layers of community experienced at the network level. This could be regional, national, multi-national, or even global. This is where learning together takes on new heights because it's often about macro issues. And often these macro issues are about addressing the wrongs and injustices—it's about living out a life of calling and mission.
Connect Leaders to their Mission — Enlarge their Vision for the World (OUT)
A3 helps leaders begin to wrestle with their purpose, vision, mission, and why. Through times of input + interaction + reflection + application, cohort members find understanding. Over the course of the two-year transformational experience, each leader works out their own understanding of what God communicates to them about their calling.
Thus each leader is connected to their own mission and gains increased vision for what it's going to take to achieve. They share these callings with one another and even write down the particulars in their final submitted papers. The goal is not to create paperwork, but to accelerate MISSION in our world. When leaders live in a lifestyle of Up-In-Out, they are more connected and fruitful.
Connecting Leaders to their World
A3 leaders should hopefully begin to see things beyond their own church or business. Their vision grows much larger to their city, region, and continent. They are connected to their world through the eyes of the Spirit, who moves them to bring His influence everywhere.
Beyond the individual callings and mission, every A3 leader is also challenged to live in such a way toward finishing well to the very end.
A3 believes that a Christlike leader fueled by the Spirit and supported in community can change their nation—virtually anything—towards God's purposes.
Thus these connections are definitely life-altering in the life of every A3 leader.