The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bandung Theological Seminary

While in Peru this summer with The Mission Society, Dr. Ravi David invited me to help him teach Leadership at Bandung Theological Seminary, in Bandung, Indonesia.  Dr. Ravi, and his wife Mercy are colleagues of ours in The Mission Society.   

[Steve, Suzanne, Mercy, Ravi in Atlanta]

[in Peru]

After a few days in the busy and rather gritty city of Jakarta, its time to take the train to Bandung.  Known as “The Paris of Java” Bandung turns out to be much cooler than steamy Jakarta, and has a reputation for shopping, dining, and fashion.  It did not disappoint as I experienced much amazing food, and visited more malls in these twelve days, than I had in the last ten years in Austin.

The teaching plan was organized around the letter “C” and so the themes were the 
Context of the Leader
Call of the Leader
Character of the Leader
Competence of the Leader
Challenges of Leadership

[Dr. Ravi, teaching]

Using the leadership of Moses and Nehemiah, Dr. Ravi would lecture on the theory and spiritual components of the Leader while I would focus on the practical application in the local church.  Our students were of various ages and experience levels in the BA and M.Div program, mostly third or fourth years.  I was warned that the students would not engage the lecturer, because in the Asian context, there is a measure of respect and distance.   That respect and distance lasted all of one day, and by Tuesday they were ready to engage to material, and challenge me in how the practical application would work in the Indonesia Context. 

[Pastor Steve, teaching]

Dr. Ravi said that in leadership, “We are just a small part of what God is doing, and it is the context that makes it interesting as we locate ourselves in the plan of God.”  Perhaps the most striking part of his opening lecture (and what I wish could be tattooed on the inside eyelids of pastors everywhere) is that “Leadership is not the goal itself, but what it accomplishes.”  [Rant ON] That seems to me to be the greatest failure of leaders in the church today.  That they see their leadership as the goal of leading;  that if they act and are seen as leaders, regardless of what their leadership accomplishes, they are leading well, even if all evidence points to the contrary.  The goal of leadership is what it accomplishes, and if it accomplishes little, its just management of what is instead of what could be.   [Rant OFF]

Dr. Ravi distinguished between being called to leadership and being sent, saying that in being called, God hears, remembers, and then calls (as in the story of Moses) but in being sent, God sees, rescues, and then sends (as in the story of Nehemiah).   And then begins the practical application of these concepts, which is about Vision, Mission, and Goals.
The Vision of the Church can be the 7 to 10 year plan based on the context, passion, and capabilities of that particular local Church.
Its Mission can be the 3 – 5 year plan that supports the Vision.
The Goals are the 1 – 2 year plans that support the Mission (and lead towards the Vision).  

I have found that when the vision of a church is clear (and can be clearly articulated by most of its membership) it pretty much runs itself; leading is pointing toward the vision and asking the “now, how are we going to get there?”  But when the vision is fuzzy, or not well defined, complicated or difficult for membership to explain, then its pastoral leadership tends toward sheep dogging, and lots of nipping at the heels so the sheep don’t scatter.  [OK - Rant really OFF].  

Over the week I spend several lectures talking about ways to clarify the Vision and Mission of the Church, and the students engage by challenging how to apply that to the Indonesian context.  So together we work to separate the leadership concept from its application, and together learn how it might be made real in their churches.   

[Our Students]

STTB or Bandung Theological Seminary offers high school, Bachelors, Master’s and Ph.D. levels of education.  

[signboard at entrance]

[high school and library building]

[Faculty housing (front), and under construction: classrooms, administration, and student housing (rear)]

Our lectures were given in English and then translated into Bahasa.   I used powerpoints that were also in English and Bahasa (via Google Translate), which lead to some interesting moments of mis-translation.  About half the students were functionally fluent in English, which allowed us interesting discussions during the break times.

When we were not in class or preparing for it, Ravi and I were introduced to the beauty and interesting foods of the area by Dwi & Quiet (pronounced quit).  Ms. Dwi teaches New and Old Testament at the seminary and Quiet is a Masters of Theology student.  Both were delightful tour guides and companions, and I’ll write about those experiences in my next postings.

[Quiet, Ravi, Dwi, Steve]



Blogger Grace Buchele said...

Sounds great! Glad you had fun~

1:42 PM, August 28, 2012  
Blogger Larkin said...

Would loved to have participated in the leadership class. god bless you all.

3:18 AM, September 17, 2012  

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