Rick Warren’s Saddleback Leadership Academy

It’s been almost a year since I first heard of Rick Warren’s vision to plant and assist hundreds (maybe it’s thousands)of churches in the next 10 years. After hearing his heart and vision, if I were beginning a ministry career or even in a time of transition and felt God was calling me to be a church planter today, I would strongly consider attending the Saddleback Leadership Academy. I have walked the property, visited with some of the leaders, and this is going to be an incredible Kingdom asset.

Recently I interviewed Rob Jacobs, Director of Enlistment at the Saddleback Church Leadership Academy

Why did Saddleback start the Leadership Academy?

If the Church is to reach the entire world, we are going to need thousands of new churches and thousands of new leaders.
The Saddleback Church Leadership Academy was started to create a leadership pipeline for the next generation of equipped, empowered, and healthy leaders who can plant churches, launch multi-site church campuses, and lead the ministries that will serve them.

In a nutshell, what is the academy?

The Saddleback Church Leadership Academy offers four unique leadership development tracks that provides participants the opportunity to lead Saddleback ministries or multi-site campuses while learning from Saddleback pastors and staff — getting hands-on ministry leadership experience from some of the most respected and experienced experts in the country.

What are the 4 tracks?

DISCOVER is a part-time internship designed for current college students or recent college graduates.

ACCELERATE is a full-time year-long apprenticeship for recent college graduates who are called to lead in a specific ministry area at an existing church, multi-site campus, or church plant.
(Worship , Small Groups, Women’s, Men, Single’s, Couples, Workplace, Children’s, Student Ministries, and Church Admin)

ELEVATE- is a full-time year-long residency for future church planters or future multi-site campus leaders. This track is designed for college graduates who have had some church staff experience and are now preparing to plant a church or lead a multi-site church campus of their own.

LAUNCH- is a part-time launch-phase program for church planters who are within 12 months of launching their own church. It provides nuts-and-bolts practical and relevant preparation needed in order to successfully plant a church or multi-site campus.

Why would someone choose this option over seminary?

If someone wants to develop into a leader, the best way is by experiencing actual opportunities to lead. We provide real opportunities to lead while Saddleback pastors and staff walk alongside participants, while providing guidance, feedback, and mentoring.
We value the role of seminary. Saddleback doesn’t see it as a pre-requisite to leadership. Our goal is to expand the opportunity for people to become a church or ministry leader. We are more interested in someone’s calling, heart, and leadership potential, rather than the school they attended or the degree they’ve earned. The need for leaders is too great. We provide avenues for future leaders to begin developing skills immediately.

What is unique about the Saddleback Church Leadership Academy?

We are focused on developing leaders. Our program is hands-on, practical, and relevant leadership development. Participants learn from the pastors who have literally written the books on the ministry they are leading. In addition we are able to provide participants the option of earning a Master’s degree along the way.

If someone is interested, what should they do next?

Visit the Saddleback Church Leadership Academy website or send an email to: LeadershipAcademy@saddleback.com.

(Full disclosure. No one paid for this post. Saddleback Leadership Academy does advertise on my blog, but I requested this interview separate from that arrangement. I believe in this program and would do the post without the advertisement!)

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