The Encarnação Alliance Training Commission
The Need, Self-Identity and Directions
Over the last three decades, a relational network has been developing globally between the leaders of movements of churches in the slums (go to an exciting graphic of movement growth (takes a while to load!)).
The Encarnação Alliance grew out of consultations of such leaders in different continents/regions. These are storytelling consultations by urban poor movement leaders. Out of the stories, we discern our theology and best practices.
Beginning from early linkages between urban poor incarnational missions in the 1990's, a consultation of 25 leaders met in Brazil in 2002. In 2004, a further gathering in Bangkok of indigenous urban poor mission leaders from Asia extended this. There was a felt need to move from a relational network to a formalised alliance which remains highly relational. The following draft developed from the discussion and modifications at the consultation.The Training Commission
Chair: Corrie de Boer, PhD,
Coordinator: Viv Grigg, PhD
Its aims include:
GO to the MA in Transformational Urban Leadership - 16 courses
GO to the Grassroots Churchplanters Training - 55 topics in 12 modules
The need for joint training infrastructures
In a July 2002 consultation in Brazil 25 leaders of EncarnaVão Network expressed the need to combine efforts for the training of cross-cultural urban poor workers and indigenous pastors. These workers are often isolated, struggling against impossible odds, generally inadequately trained and resourced, and with a lack of leadership and management skills. Given the complexities of urban slums, some organizations have experienced a significant turn-over rate of cross-cultural workers and pastors, as many burned out, feeling ill-equipped to meet the tremendous daily ministry challenges of slum life.
As of now, the great majority of EncarnaVão Network organizations provide field- and apprentice-based in-house training. However, many leaders believe their work and member care would be greatly enhanced if they
The Brazil consultation in 2002 was chaired by Viv Grigg, who is also the former coordinator of the Cities Resource Network of AD2000 and Beyond Movement and author of various books on the urban poor. At that consultation EncarnaVão leaders decided to develop a global distance learning and web-based training infrastructure that would be created from within the paradigms of the urban slum experience – something never done before. In light of the fact that an expected 3,000 workers will be part of the network by the end of the decade, they felt such an investment was essential. Various academically trained practitioner-thinkers and a few outside specialists would contribute course modules on CD Roms towards an urban poor leadership training curriculum, in order to offer urban poor workers and pastors 3 choices:
Says Lisa Engdahl, director of training for Servant Partners: “Once such a training infrastructure is in place, we will use it as extensively as possible in the training and equipping of our workers. It will be wonderful to have access to courses taught by our partnership network – what a wonderful resource!”
At the 3rd global consultation in Chennai, 2006, the roles of grassroots training and the MA level of training were differentiated.
At this point, it became defined as a commission with the objective of catalysing, and networking an MA in Transformational Urban Leadership in partnering schools in each continent. This would include an element of becoming a professional association, like the Psychological Association, where they identify the kind of training needed by their members and develop standards whereby schools can deliver that training. On the other hand such an association is not the same as an academic accrediting body such as ATA, with focus on the nature, quality and level of education in general. The emphasis is on making sure the particular skills set identified by the members as required for movement leadership (and related skills) among the urban poor is developed.
Some of the reasons identified in Brazil, for developing such a process were
l Perceived Need For New Training Processes
· Capacity-building: many workers need paced up-skilling at levels beyond what we are doing
· Healing: Workers need academic reflection to process the horrific nature of issues they face
· Existing seminaries are unable to provide the style and content of training that we are delivering
· The output profiles from existing seminaries is far removed from the nature of urban poor workers we are producing
l Perceived Need For Collaboration as a Network on Training
As missions with experience we need to design what we collectively want and market it to an academic institution for a partnership
· Occasionally our attempts to get courses from extant institutions have been successful but inadequate responses
o they control processes
o they are based on systematic theological paradigms rather than urban story-based paradigms
· We have most of the building blocs between us
· We have enough qualified faculty between us in terms of our criteria of proven experience
· We have sufficient personnel wanting to be trained to almost make it viable
l Perceived Need for Field-based Delivery
· Field-based: low cost, accessible in Asia, Africa and Latin America, mostly web-based, accredited would be ideal, but not essential
· Can be done 1 course per term, plus 6 months full time furloughs? plus project, all over 5-7 years. This latter has not been acceptable to the training institutions.