Network: Canada

Do you find that you have the leaders you need for the mission to which God has called you? Where are they coming from? Are they strong and healthy? How do you know?

New pastors and church planters have often been formed in one of two ways – they have either gone to bible college or seminary for academic training or they have grown up more organically within the local church.

While the former group has great access to theological training, they have had to learn in an environment detached from their ministry setting, and churches that send prospective leaders to get training run the risk of never seeing these leaders again. Those trained in-house are limited by the capacity of their church leadership to both lead the church and train up new leaders, a task which becomes harder when many of those gifted to teach and train have moved out of local churches in search of institutional teaching positions.

Acts 29 Canada’s desire to see more healthy churches planted in every province and territory throughout Canada has led to the launch of Academy in Context, a new initiative for developing strong gospel-centred leaders and church planters who never have to leave their ministry context.

Academy in Context has been designed to address the five questions below, so if you find it difficult to answer any of these core questions with respect to your own leadership development, don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about how you can benefit from Acts 29 training!

1. Do you have a leadership pipeline?

Perhaps more than any other element, I hear from church leaders that they know they need a better means of raising up leaders but they are not sure how to go about it. Our Academy has multiple layers of training that are designed to create a natural pathway from building preliminary gospel foundations to planting new churches. This helps us continually see people in each of the various stages of development growing toward the next level of leadership responsibility and it creates movement toward spiritual maturity.

2. Are you training your leaders theologically?

Providing in-house theological training can be a challenge, especially in small or very young churches. Through the Academy, we offer a host of theological resources for training the whole church. Within our vocational track, we help current and aspiring leaders grow their theological understanding through autonomous learning with the resources available to them while supporting each student with theologically trained tutors.

3. Are you training your leaders in a holistic manner?

To truly be prepared to plant or lead a church requires more than exposure to great biblical and theological content. Our approach to training integrates knowledge, comprehension, conviction, character, competency, capacity, and critique – producing leaders who have experience putting their theology and leadership theory into practice. All the knowledge in the world will not be helpful if does not touch down in real life situations, and the most skilled preacher or leader will not bear fruit if his character has not been proven.

4. How are you measuring your effectiveness?

It’s important to know what we’re doing to develop new leaders but it’s equally important to know if it’s really working. Students in Academy in Context’s Missional Leadership Program are evaluated in each of the same seven dimensions that they are trained in (see #3 above) and they are fully prepared to successfully navigate the formal Acts 29 Assessment as well as other similar church planter assessments. Thus we can be confident that we are training the types of leaders that we want to see start and lead new churches.

5. Is your leadership development reproducible?

Training people to fill leadership positions is one thing, training people to lead people is another. Academy in Context’s Missional Leadership Program equips leaders to lead people, outfits them with the tools to do so, and requires that they actually engage in this type of reproducible leadership during their training. Upon completion of the program, you know that you will have a leader who is committed to and capable of raising up more leaders as a core component of his ministry.

Developing strong, healthy leaders is never easy, but it is essential to the mission of the church. Acts 29 Canada’s Academy in Context has something to equip you whether you want to grow as a follower of Christ, aspire to plant or pastor a church, or are a church leader who wants to develop more leaders for your church and to plant new churches.

Find out more at

Michael Gockley
Written by: Michael Gockley on October 10, 2018

Mike directs the Academy and is one of the pastors of Church 21 in Montreal, QC. He and his wife, Shari, and their five children moved to Quebec in 2014 to be part of the effort to see the province transformed by the gospel. Mike also enjoys family time, hockey, travel and anything outdoors.