The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology has released the first Research Report to come out of its new Resilient Leaders Project (RLP)—a 25-page document intended to outline what resilience actually is and what it might look like in practice, and to begin a discussion on its theological and practical implications for Christian leaders.
The report is presented by Kate Davis, Director of Resilient Leaders Project, Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Acting President, and Andrea Sielaff, Researcher. It includes statistics and insights about the current struggles faced by churches and leaders, an overview of the intensive research conducted by the RLP team, and a thematic summary of the findings so far. Our hope in sharing the research and findings is to offer practical resilience strategies that can be integrated into the holy mundane of leaders’ daily lives—and to reinforce the urgent need for such strategies.
“Resilience is an essential quality for leaders and their organizations if they are to succeed at their mission,” says Kate Davis. “Resilient leaders don’t just ‘bounce back,’ they grow stronger from their experiences, and their crises become a crucible of formation. They make meaning from hardship and suffering in ways that better equip them to face future difficulties. Resilient leaders are realistic, but hopeful; they hold deep beliefs, but they also are flexible and able to improvise.”
The primary goal of RLP is to learn about leaders. To that end, we have pored over existing research, administered surveys, interviewed exemplars, and engaged in ongoing conversations with pastors and leaders. After collecting data, insights, and stories, we worked to trace themes, metaphors, and tools, connecting the threads of all those lifetimes of experience and research and distilling it into an approachable and easy-to-read resource.
Through the Resilient Leaders Project, The Seattle School is working to engage with and support the Church in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. We hope to serve as a resource center for leaders and churches, as well as a training site for participants in RLP’s immersive year-long program—the first year of which is coming to an end this spring, and applications are now open for our 2019-20 cohort.
“There is a need for us as an institution to care for pastors, something that really is necessary for the maturing of the school, and in some ways for the sake of the church,” says Dr. Derek McNeil. “The Church is us, and we are them.”