In May 2015, the Leadership Matters Course celebrated its 20th anniversary. By the end of this same year, a total of 82 courses have been conducted, with 2,449 participants! To God be the glory for His faithfulness in this ministry.
The entire global ITA family and friends are celebrating God’s faithfulness and blessings together. As we look to the future, establish a new leadership team and set new goals, we never want to forget the past.
The training had its beginnings in Wycliffe Bible Translators
The training was first called the Townsend Institute, named after the founder of Wycliffe: Cameron Townsend. When it came to making friends and building relationships, Townsend was a unique person. Realizing that Wycliffe Bible Translators were usually working in obscure places and by the mercy of local authorities-he recognized the work depended on good relationships. Wycliffe leaders developed a training course for these workers to capture and transfer some of the skills that were so obviously present in the life of their founder.
Introduced to Operation Mobilisation
In the Spring of 1995, David Cummings, President of Wycliffe Bible Translators International, together with a few of his staff members, conducted the Townsend Course for leaders with Operation Mobilisation. OM leaders felt the training was important for their workers also. Together, they repeated the course. After several years of giving the course, the content broadened and the name eventually changed to its current name: the Leadership Matters Course, or LMC.
The International Training Alliance was born
In 2005, International Training Alliance officially organized in Atlanta at OM’s U.S. main offices. Six organisations signed a partnership agreement pledging to work together to train leaders on mission around the world, while committing to help each other. They decided not to seek legal incorporation for the time being. Perhaps this would come later.
By then, 20 courses had taken place in various strategic locations around the world, with over 600 participants. The practical and biblical nature of the training led to a positive response in a wide range of cultural settings.
Ongoing growth with deep appreciation
When he participated in the training, Doctor Jonathan Exiomo directed the theological faculty of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in the Philippines. He said: “Theologically I am well trained; but, being responsible for the faculty I now have to organize and manage, I do public relations and raise funds. I have had no training to do these things. Therefore LMC hit the bull’s eye for me.” He expressed what many have felt.
Several ITA partner organisations have significantly changed the way they train their personnel because of LMC. After she participated in LMC, Liz Harris, who coordinates training internationally for Operation Mobilisation, said: “In so many ways this course is transformational in the lives of the participants, and is becoming known as the epitome of excellence in leadership training. I have learnt so much in terms of process that will guide my curriculum development in the future.”
Trainers have become better trainers-an ongoing blessing to the organisations they serve. Training courses have developed locally, using the LMC philosophy and elements. Ongoing relationships have developed between participants in courses, sometimes resulting in working together in local projects. Some participants indicated they were contemplating quitting, but decided to stay the course after attending an LMC. It is very possible they would have given up otherwise. By working with a large variety of organisations in LMC, mutual respect and esteem has developed widely.
One Korean mission leader who participated in one of the first courses in Atlanta wrote: “The training was only a few weeks, but it made a deep impact in my life. It caused a paradigm shift in my thinking, which shifted me into creative ministries, helped me to raise funds and eventually led me to impact China, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. With the tools I received in LMC I am now training people for Nagaland, Japan, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Korea and Kyrgyzstan.”
Where we are today
The alliance of agencies making this training possible is comprised of Alliance World Fellowship, Caleb New Zealand, Free Will Baptist International Missions, Global Partners, Operation Mobilisation, Tentmakers and World Horizons, with other organisations affiliated and strongly linked.
Sola Deo Gloria!