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Concept 9. Holland's Two-Track Model

Fred Holland devised a model to describe one possible approach to training and Christian leadership development which has been widely used by others. Holland originally had a TEE (Theological Education by Extension) program in mind when he proposed this model. The model is like a railroad track. There is a base of spiritual formation on which there are two rails—cognitive input (information) and in-service activity (ministry experience). Those two rails continue on through time. Periodically, the leader-in-training comes apart from his or her ministry to spend time at a seminar or similar activity (the railroad ties) where he or she has a chance to interact with other leaders and reflect on what God is doing in their lives and in their ministry. The leader then returns to their place of ministry. J. Robert Clinton has offered his own modifications to this model, which are included in the descriptions below.

Spiritual Formation. The process by which the person is influenced towards spiritual growth and maturity. As a result they 1) experience more of God, 2) reflect more Christ-like characteristics in their personality and everyday relationships, and 3) increasingly know the power and presence of God in their ministry. Cognitive Input. Information being learned by self-study. Usually this is achieved by books which are a part of a program. Clinton has suggested that this be broadened to include all input, including the acquiring of ministry skills.

In-Service Activity. Practical application of the information gained through the cognitive input rail. This would include any experiential aspect of a ministry skill.

Seminars. Occasional meetings with other learners. These are times where the learner can reflect with others on what is being learned and how others are solving common problems. Teachers are there to help the learners clarify and apply what is being learned. The seminars seek to keep the learners motivated and to continue their studies. Clinton has suggested the rails, or seminars, be replaced with dynamic reflection, which he defines as, “A two-fold thinking process which teaches how to correlate input ideas relevantly to experience and spiritual formation and how to draw out from experience ideas which influence input and spiritual formation. This skill is best taught by imitation modeling. It brings accountability to learning and spiritual formation," (Clinton, Leadership Training Models, 41).


Clinton, J. Robert. Leadership Training Models. Altadena, CA: Barnabas Publishers, 1984.

Holland, Fred. “Theological Education in Context and Change: The Influence of Leadership Training and Anthropology on Ministry For Church Growth.” Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1978.