Self-Directed Learning Plan

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Sometimes creating your own plan of learning for the year is a way to focus in on something that specifically addresses a desired learning outcome.

If you’re applying for Baptist Leaders’ Registration we call this a Self-Directed Learning Plan, and it is one of the ways you can meet the Learning component of your Ministry Development Agreement. You create a plan, and we approve it based on the criteria outlined on this page.

Below are some examples and next steps:

Reading Plan

There may be a particular author or topic you would like to dig deeper into over the period of a year. We recommend using our Reflection Guide to support your reading.

Example 1
You have heard people refer to the writing of Henri Nouwen and have been inspired by quotes you have seen, but you have never read any of his books for yourself. Nouwen wrote more than 40 books on spirituality, pastoral care, theology, etc. For your Self-Directed Learning Plan you might commit to reading one Nouwen book every two months through the year, journaling your reflections at least four times through the year. Click here to see Henri Nouwen’s Bibliography.

Example 2

There is a topic you feel the need to upskill in, perhaps your Elders have encouraged you to focus on a particular topic or area and you have found no suitable courses on the topic. You create a reading list on the topic, committing to read one book every two months over the year, journaling your reflections at least four times through the year. Topic examples: Missional Church, New Zealand history, Old Testament prophets, Islam, Neighbourhood community development, etc

Webinar/video watching plan

There are various online resources that could be stitched together to form a Self-Directed Learning Plan.

FOCUS webinar series is a monthly teaching webinar of Carey lecturers who teach for an hour each month (March-October) on various topics to do with church and mission. You commit to watching all eight of these in the annual webinar series.

Online Leadership Development resources through Carey Lifelong Learning have been created with church leaders in mind. These range from 1 to 5 webinars, with various space between webinars, some with reading plans and action.

The organisation ‘Q Ideas’ (with their slogan: “Stay Curious. Think Well. Advance Good.”) have a wide variety of talks and articles online through their Q Moments. As part of Webinar/video watching plan, you might commit to watching one video a week from the Q catalogue:  Alongside these online videos, you commit to journaling your reflections at least four times through the year.

Participant observation plan

One way to learn is through participation and/or following/shadowing people in certain roles or organisations over an extended period of time.

To learn how your church might engage with the poor, you might spend time volunteering alongside a leader in the local City Mission, watching, helping and getting involved in the local homeless shelter a few hours every week through the year. Alongside this the person you are observing/working with might suggest various resources to engage with to add a theoretical basis to your practical observations. You also commit to journaling your reflections at least four times through the year.

Next steps

Submit your Self-Directed Learning Plan to

We’re looking for approximately 150 words outlining your plan, including a reading list or other details. Please be specific rather than vague. Indicate your commitment to the four journal reflections through the year. We are happy for you to run ideas past us and we can offer help if needed. We will approve your Self-Directed Learning Plan for your Baptist Leaders’ Registration based on the criteria outlined on this page.

As mentioned in each of the examples above, to add a layer of encouragement and accountability to your learning, as part of Self-Directed Learning Plans we ask for a commitment to four journal reflections through the year emailed to the Registration Facilitator (April, June, August, October). These are simply 200-word reflections on the learning that is occurring (we provide some reflection guidelines here if needed). We also encourage sharing these reflections with your Elders or leadership group.