423 Communities International is fundamentally a leadership development initiative. We value leaders and seek to equip them to lead their sexual recovery groups with passion, competence, sensitivity, imagination, energy, and love. Our mission is to bring the light of sexual sobriety into every dark corner of the globe, and our 423 Men and 423 Women leaders do that well.
We do not import leaders in 423 Communities. 423 Men and 423 Women leaders are home grown, having come to our recovery program for the same reasons and through the same channels as every other man or woman. Leaders in 423 Communities possess basic leadership skills recognizable by the members of their group and, by virtue of their hard work in personal recovery, are themselves experiencing progressive sexual sobriety. 423 Men and 423 Women leaders are qualified to lead, but are not expected to be perfect. Rather, leaders are people with the integrity to be real, transparent, and authentic on their path of recovery. Most leaders do not feel qualified when first approached to serve in this capacity, an attitude which, ironically, reinforces their readiness. New leaders are recommended by current leaders.
Leaders in 423 are not preachers. 423 leadership is not a “pulpit” opportunity. It is not a soapbox to promote pet doctrines, political views, or wealth of knowledge on any subject. Leaders help group members stay on the subject and avoid “debates about controversial topics and outside issues unrelated to healthy sexuality.”
423 Men and 423 Women leadership is facilitative rather than didactic in its approach to group management. Leaders model the ‘do not preach at or lecture’ guideline and are judged by how well they get everyone in group talking approximately equally. Some members are naturally verbose and have a hard time shutting up or staying on topic, and when given a chance to share, they over-share. Other attendees are shy and will sit through a meeting without uttering a peep, if allowed. A good leader will gently shut down the over-talker and warmly draw out the shy person. This can be delicate, but is necessary for the well-being of any group. A dominating personality with too much to say can kill a meeting, and 423 leaders are trained not to allow that to happen.
Wise leaders apply this group dynamic principle: Group members emotionally invest in the group success when they verbally contribute to the group process. Quiet 423 members who are not drawn out or expected to talk will soon drop out of the program. Over-talkers who say more than they should also tend to leave group. Both are looking for guidance, which 423 leaders must provide.
Group leaders do not teach in words, but by example. They facilitate discussion. A skillful leader carefully reads the homework assignment and develops thoughtful, probing, open-ended questions to aid in group discussion. Given the limitations of time, it may occasionally happen that a 423 leader will talk less than a typical member.
While 423 leadership is an unglamorous, servant-style role, it is, nevertheless, enormously rewarding. It is an incredible privilege to assist men and women in prying themselves from porneia’s insidious and firmly attached grasp. It is a personal calling and a form of mentoring at the highest and deepest level.
Leadership in 423 is a personification of Jesus’ Great Commission to “go and make disciples” recorded in Matthew 28.18-20. 423 Women and 423 Men leadership is not for the faint of heart. Wimps need not apply. It’s a dirty ministry, without accolades, and not naturally spoken of in polite conversation. Yet, it is a rich and fulfilling pastoral care opportunity for those so called. Leaders are instrumental in changing the lives of men, women, their families, churches, communities, and the world.
423 leaders follow Jude’s mandate to the early church. They “save others” by “snatching them out of the fire” of God’s holy judgment and porneia’s grip of death.
Without passionate, Jesus-called leaders, 423 Communities International would cease to exist.