Everyone about ten years ago began to rethink how we trained young leaders, we thought to ourselves that the days of plonking them down in front of a talking head for hours on end and filling their heads with pure info seemed pretty dumb in both theory and practice.
So organisations, mission agencies and churches decided to get experiential with their learning. Get recruits out and about, overseas, in the field, on the ground. Basically anywhere but the classroom. This made and continues to make a lot of sense. We as humans learn experientially, this is especially true of the current crop of young adults.
However there is a problem, young adults have come of age during a time when experience has been elevated over almost anything else in life. Western culture avoids the big issues of death, suffering, God and meaning by simply filling our lives with constant distraction in the form of a unquenchable thirst for experience.
Thus training programs/internships which are experiential have the potential to work against leadership development in young adults. They create another distraction, another excuse to avoid dealing with the big issues which believers and leaders must wrestle with. The issues that cause young leaders to run away from ministry in search of more distractions and experiences for the sake of experience.
Potential leaders must wrestle with their mortality, their falleness, their brokenness and total need for God, before they can move on. Yes there is a place for activity but first silence and space must be given to encounter the reality of oneself, minus the distractions. In the 21st century training model the existential must proceed the experiential.