A Historical Coverage of the Leadership Matters Course
This is the background and stage set for the following ITA Timeline
By David Cummings
Collaborators: Roger Lang, Jeff Turnbough, Peter Nicoll, Londa Amundson, Marc Kretzschmar, Rachel Johnson
15 May 2018
The ITA Council officially endorsed this document on 15 May 2018.
The history of the Leadership Matters Course (LMC) has its roots in the work of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT). The genesis of the training was designed originally to see their leaders trained to relate to the government officials in the countries where permission and accountability was needed for their field work. Cameron Townsend, the founder of these two organisations, was a leader who demonstrated the benefits of building and keeping good relations with the host governments and the significance of good leadership and wise governance. As the leadership team watched him, it was clear that he was an incredibly gifted leader who understood that with good relationships almost anything was possible and without good relationships effective progress is difficult.
This brief history is meant to show something of God’s sovereign plan in bringing together the different strands of the record that in a unique way has brought a growing number of organisations together. There is value in recounting the way the Lord blessed Townsend’s unique leadership and vision as it established the foundation of the original training that became known as the Townsend Institute for International Relations, often referred to as the TIIR.
Ultimately it had a huge impact on other organisations such as Tentmakers Youth Ministry, Caleb Ministries Australia and New Zealand, along with Operation Mobilisation and now on to over 190 mission and church organisations. By 2018, many thousands of people have been trained by these organisations.
Claude Bowen’s Strategic Input
In 1973 Claude Bowen, a business man and owner of the largest franchiser of the Dale Carnegie training organisation, (located in Chicago), was planning to fly his twin aircraft to the Caribbean for a holiday. A friend suggested that he fly into Wycliffe’s aviation centre at Waxhaw, North Carolina to refuel. He had not heard of this mission nor did he know of its aviation program. He was so impressed when he saw the size, extent and vision of the JAARS aviation program being carried on around the world on the Wycliffe fields, he offered to serve as a pilot and use his plane. (He had been a World War II US Air Force pilot.)
Bernie May, the JAARS (aviation) director explained that the cut off age was around 30 for pilots! But he asked what else Claude did. He told of his Dale Carnegie business and that he was into training and teaching people and amongst other things, training them how to speak in public. Bernie was very aware at that time of some of his staff who had very low financial support and asked if Claude could help them. Claude agreed to help and they arranged for 10 of Bernie’s staff to go to Chicago, where Claude would give them personalised training. This focussed specifically on helping them raise their financial support and it proved to be most practical and useful. Others then were sent to Chicago for his customised training.
This was not a Dale Carnegie course per se, but something that Claude developed specifically for them. However, it was an adaption of his organisation’s principles. Bernie tells that those who did the personalised training quickly raised their financial support. From that time Bernie May worked very closely with Claude and learned about the management course that his Dale Carnegie organisation delivered. Bernie then sent some of his administrative staff to Chicago where they did the full Dale Carnegie management course. Claude arranged for folk to be billeted out to Christian families, giving the opportunity to use their training to make solid friendships with their hosts. The course always had a strong emphasis on building relationships.
At this juncture two things came together. First, Dr. Frank Robbins, the SIL Executive Director in Dallas asked John Kyle (at that time the director of SIL’s Government Relations office in Washington DC) to develop a training program for the field staff who were responsible for reporting to the government departments we related to on our fields. John drew firstly on Cameron Townsend, then Dick Pittman, David Farah, Don Johnson and Bernie May for help, and others who had been mentored by Townsend. They produced a course (lecture type) where they taught about this role, but it was not focussed on skill development. The course they developed was named the Townsend Institute for International Relations (TIIR).
Second, around that time Bernie May stepped down as director of JAARS, became the Vice President for International Relations and was keenly involved in further developing the TIIR curriculum. With his recent experience and his close friendship with Bernie, and the desire to have the best course possible, after sharing the vision and need for this training, Claude agreed to help. He looked at the material to be covered and then helped reshape the teaching course and crafted a training that was primarily interactive, and skill-developing. Claude also agreed to direct this new approach for the TIIR using selected staff as potential trainers from Wycliffe and SIL, plus using some of his own staff. It was held in Chicago. At that time the training was for seven weeks. In building the public and government relation skills, the trainees actually practiced arranging and undertaking cold calls on business, government and church leaders. (This was initially part of the LMC training but is no longer applicable due to the courses being so short and held in countries where this is not appropriate.) The TIIR was focussed around preparing for the specific needs of SIL and Wycliffe fields only.
As part of the initial TIIR courses in Chicago, Claude arranged for the full Dale Carnegie Management Course to be part of the training. Graduates from those TIIR courses initially received the Dale Carnegie certificate for management. This component of the training was delivered by Claude’s Dale Carnegie staff.
In God’s plan, half way around the world and quite apart from what was happening in the United States, in 1974 Dirk Bakker invited David Cummings to take the Dale Carnegie courses in Australia. Following that, David developed a training manual and workshops for missionaries preparing for furlough and also for training Wycliffe’s lay representatives in Australia, and other countries. Utilising the principles of the Dale Carnegie courses he had taken, applying them to this training. This grew with several Wycliffe men—Darryl Kernick, Ray Posey, Geoff Morrow, and Dick Austin training to lead annual courses in several countries. A strong connection was developed between these programs in Australia and the United States due to David’s election to the International Board of WBT and SIL and travelling regularly to the United States. This allowed David to join with Claude Bowen on the staff for Townsend Institute. Later David’s election to the Wycliffe International Presidency resulted in his moving to Dallas, which further set the stage for him to work closely with Claude.
The Curriculum and the Development of the Notes
An important part of the history is that Claude in his first TIIR courses didn’t give participants any notes. The trainees had to take their own notes as he delivered the training. This, he said, gave him the advantage of going at his own pace and if he felt the class missed something one day, he would loop back and cover it again the next day.
The training was very effective and it was clear that it needed to be delivered around the world. But prepared training notes would be essential—both for the trainers and the trainees. Claude was highly resistant to this. One of the reasons was his concern to not jeopardise his franchise status with the Carnegie organisation—many of the training skills and some related content had a semblance with the Carnegie course material.
The urgent need for notes led David Cummings to informally ask Wycliffe workers Helen Johnson and Ruth Gluck to take careful notes at the next TIIR course at Wheaton College, which could be used in further courses.
Claude initially was not aware of David’s intent of these notes being used in future courses, and he became very concerned when he discovered that this was the intent. However, finally in discussing the need with David and the potential for the training to grow, he did agree that notes would be needed. These original notes taken by the two ladies were used for a time for the delivery of the TIIR.
Entry of Tentmakers Youth Ministries
Around 1979, Claude was approached by Dick Amundson, the director of Tentmakers Youth Ministries (TYM) for help. Claude was readily attracted to their work and ministry as it was focussed primarily on the Lutheran Church youth ministry at that time and Claude being a Lutheran was a wonderful fit. Claude could see that with some adaptation to the material and training he had developed for TIIR was very close to those needed by Tentmakers. In 1987, Claude Bowen and Londa Amundson formalised the trainer’s notes with the understanding that this would be what Tentmakers Youth Ministries would use for their training, and it would serve Wycliffe and SIL in the TIIR also. In 1993, Claude personally produced three volumes of training guides with the sub-title of Relational Ministry Training for Christian Leaders. Because TIIR and Tentmakers were tracking together with the trainer training, Claude gave David a set of the very limited editions.
Claude could see that if the TIIR courses were to expand and grow and be delivered in other places, he needed to intentionally start training more trainers. The main trainers he invested in at that time were Ken Davis, David Cummings, Jerry Long, David and Gloria Farah, Dan Harrison, Steve Sheldon and Don and Helen Johnson. Claude’s desire was for all trainers to progress in their training ability to deliver every part of the curriculum. This was patterned in his own organisation but proved to have a decided weakness in using people in missions who could serve only spasmodically (sometimes two years between serving as trainers at courses). Also, not all mission staff were gifted or experienced in all areas of the training curriculum.
For the first couple of years of him helping Tentmakers, Claude would do training for the TIIR trainers and then leave and go and do the training with the Tentmaker trainers. Then he realised that actually the training for the trainers in both organisations was very similar and it would be better use of his time if all the trainers were to come together for the training sessions. He arranged for this and the two groups went to Lake Havasu City, Arizona (USA) and did it together, with separate for practice on the unique segments of their two courses. This was the beginning of significant cooperation.
As a result of seeing the work of Tentmakers, Roger Lang and David Cummings approached Tentmakers USA for help to commence a Tentmakers organisation in Australia. Tentmakers USA agreed to help, but the Tentmakers USA board wanted to have a written contract which would require payment for the use of the training material and a fee for all participants. Because of these proposed costs for the Australia Tentmakers, the matter was referred back to Claude Bowen. His response was that Wycliffe was the original organisation with which he developed the training, and while Tentmakers USA had formalised the manual with him, he clearly wanted it to be available without cost to the Australian Tentmakers and the Townsend Institute. Tentmakers USA agreed. This decision was a reflection of a generous spirit to make this unique training available for Kingdom leaders throughout the world.
Martin Boutros became the first director of Tentmakers Australia. Due to there already being a tentmakers organisation in Australia, the name was changed to Caleb Ministries. He took specific training with Tentmakers and Claude in Minneapolis, as did other Australians who were chosen to become trainers. Due to some cultural differences in the church life of Australia, Martin developed some significant modifications and additions which are still in the LMC manual. He served also on the TIIR training team and was the one responsible for getting Caleb started in New Zealand. Mark Young followed him for some years and also served as an LMC trainer.
The Genesis of ITA and the Leadership Matters Course
In February 1984, Operation Mobilisation asked David Cummings to speak and do some training in Belfast, Ireland, where the Logos and Doulos ships were in port together. Following that time, David was asked to speak on leadership at the De Bron OM International Conference. At that time, OM was looking for help in working in the recently freed East Germany and other previously closed countries. David offered the Townsend Institute to OM to use as a training program for their mission. They accepted this offer and in 1995 the Wycliffe TIIR trainers gave the TIIR training in Belgium to OM leaders with the intent that they would take and use the training themselves. It proved to be very different from any training they had seen before and so for the next two years, Wycliffe delivered the training, and also spent time training OM trainers. As a result of desiring to see the training integrated for leaders in OM, it was decided that Marc Kretzschmar, Joop Strietman and Peter Nicoll would be released from some of their OM assignments to be the first OM trainers. At that time (1999) David Cummings also approached Tentmakers to see if they would be willing to enhance the development of trainers by giving some specialised training. They readily agreed and Marc Kretzschmar, Peter Nicoll, Joop Strietman and Gary Peterson from Wycliffe received specific personalised training in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Soon after the first course in Belgium with OM, other mission organisations heard about the training and asked to be helped. By 2000, there was the need to think of embracing more than just the Wycliffe team, OM, Tentmakers and Caleb. So, David Cummings, Peter Nicoll, Marc Kretzschmar, Joop Strietman and Martin Boutros formed an ad hoc group to embrace other groups who would choose to join. This group decided that the name would be Intermission Training Alliance. This was the name used during several of the courses. However, when the course was to be in Turkey the group realised the inclusion of the word ‘mission’ could cause problems for entering the country. So, the name was changed to International Training Alliance.
The emphasis on government relations was not OM’s highest priority need, so the curriculum morphed to emphasise the communication, relational and leadership training. OM was also anxious to see the training more overtly connected to the Biblical principles, which were already in the course but not overtly covered. As a result, the curriculum was modified and the seven Biblical elements of leadership added. When it was recognised that the focus needed by OM and other missions was different from the original TIIR, the decision was to emphasise the communication stream and the course was named Confident Communicators. However, while that was important, it became clear that the real issue was the overall focus on training leaders. Penny Kretzschmar proposed the name Leadership Matters Course, which has the two clear meanings that the LMC delivers: matters concerning leadership that need to be learned and practiced, and we are living in a time when leadership is an urgent matter for many organisations.
Different senior trainers continued helping with modifications and additions to the curriculum. After Joop Strietman’s significant work on the public relations track, Marc Kretzschmar and Rachel Johnson did a major review over a two-year period of time that looked at the management track and the trainer’s manual. They coupled that with the production of the participant manual.
Another significant contribution from Tentmakers that was incorporated in the LMC course is the Life Management Plan, which was produced by Dick and Londa Amundson. Londa Amundson, with input from Claude Bowen and Peter Nicoll, formulated basic trainer training materials, which were later incorporated into the trainer preparation days held prior to each LMC.