Saddleback School of Church Leadership

by Dave Alford

All small group ministries require effective leaders and, when healthy churches begin to multiply through church planting or expand through multi-sites, the need arises for increasing capacity by developing new leaders. That’s where Saddleback Church’s new school of leadership comes in. Creating a pipeline of healthy leaders for church ministry, including small groups ministry, will be the primary objective of the school. The school’s goal will be enlist, equip, empower, and encourage the next generation of church leaders.

The school is poised to launch its pilot resident program in January.  Residents will learn in context, with opportunities to shadow Steve Gladen and the Saddleback small group team. Living in community at the new Rancho Capistrano conference center, residents will participate in classroom instruction, learning socially with other small group ministry residents.  Residents will have frequent opportunities to share ideas, empathize with common concerns, and communicate with friends and social networks.  Most of all, they will explore their passion – with passion!

Sharing a workplace, a living space, and a virtual space, residents will collaborate and learn at a much higher level. They will receive hands-on learning with the small group team during the day and then return to their campus in the evening to share and collaborate with each other. They will also receive class room training one day per week.  Residents will be encouraged to share not only with their fellow residents, but with their virtual networks as well, enabling each learner to become a teacher and the campus to become a community of learning. The blending of real-time learning with personal and group interaction will create a rich learning environment as well as a model of small group fellowship.

Rob Jacobs, Director of Enlistment is currently recruiting candidates and processing admissions to the program. Rob is seeking students who are college or seminary graduates.  “It’s all about people,” Rob said.  “We want to help people who enroll in the program to accomplish their vision and God’s calling on their lives.  Individuals who want to be involved in full time ministry will greatly benefit from this program because they will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, and explore their gifts and talents.” There is still room in the January program so interested candidates should contact Rob now to begin to discover whether God might be calling them to this opportunity.

Dave Alford directs the Saddleback School of Church Leadership. His background includes experience in pastoral ministry, business, and higher education.

You can reach Rob at or 949-609-8289

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