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SCL Movement Leadership Distinctives, Part II: Shared Leadership

By January 31, 2024No Comments

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“A movement is marked by an attractive, clear, unifying vision for the future together with a strong set of values or beliefs.”  –Tim Keller

 

A movement is not centralized institution-building or bureaucratic bloat or pragmatic prescription or detached pronouncements. This is, in part, because the scale and reach of a movement is expansive. SCL, as an organization rooted in old, enduring ideas, is committed to learning from the past and from the present expertise and wisdom of those who share the same convictions we do. 

Shared Leadership

Thus, the second distinctive of our work is the idea of shared leadership. Shared leadership means we actively involve, engage, and solicit our constituents to acquire the collective wisdom of those we serve, for the good of the movement. It doesn’t mean we stick our thumb in the wind and do what the majority says we should do. No, it is an acknowledgment that hearing from the schools and leaders we serve is essential to understanding how best to support them. Inviting knowledgeable, discerning voices to help form our initiatives makes each idea better. Seeking wise input and meaningful participation ensures our work is not only informed by, but built by, the people who will most benefit from it.

A Strategic Approach

Shared leadership is also a strategic approach to movement leadership. It is equally important in and outside of the schools we serve. Education is composed of an ecosystem of various institutions that must work in tandem to be effective. If K-12 schools are flourishing but higher education and philanthropy is floundering, it is difficult to exert any sustained influence. SCL works with a myriad of groups and leaders, from think tanks to curriculum companies, not only to build thriving schools, but to advance a compelling vision for classical Christian education.  

A Posture of Humility

How does this actually work? It is not simply surveying and asking for passive feedback. SCL currently interacts with numerous partners and advisory groups to compose and refine our strategic plan. For example, we have a group of twenty-five heads that not only provide input on our strategic initiatives, but form working groups to complete projects (such as our accreditation standards). They commit to regular calls and meeting in person twice a year to work on projects. We also are in a continual state of soliciting feedback from donors and consultants from outside organizations. The collaborative approach sharpens our focus and gives us insight we could not acquire otherwise. 

We don’t approach classical Christian education, even as a support organization to hundreds of schools, as having it all figured out. We believe the tradition invites a continuous posture of humility, inquiry, and openness to the deep wells of the past and our co-laborers in the present that are accessible but often untapped. We call this shared leadership.

In his book, The Rise of Movements, Steve Addison says for a cause to become a movement, it needs: pioneering leaders, contagious relationships, rapid mobilization, and adaptive methods. Our prayer is that we can, in unity with our peers and colleagues, form an expansive and formidable coalition of like-minded educational leaders for the good of families, schools, the culture, and the kingdom of God. 

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