When I ask pastors to describe their process for developing church leaders, the conversation often gets very quiet. Most of us believe leadership development is one of a pastors top priorities, but how do you do it?
Have you ever had a leader step down, and you realized there is no one qualified to take their place? I have. One of the mistakes pastors make is putting the wrong person in a leadership role, simply out of necessity. This decision might help in the short-term, but can be a disaster for the long-term.
In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul said…
“The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
“…entrust to reliable people…” - leadership development requires trust.
If you have raised up leaders only to have them be ineffective, unteachable, or disloyal, you might struggle with trust. You might feel as if ministry is easier if you just do it all yourself.
I think back to my initial steps into ministry. I was 23. My pastor was 78. He had over 50 years of pastoral experience. I had none.
Amazingly, he invited me to join his staff and trusted me to oversee the youth ministry. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity. Over the next couple of years I benefited greatly from his mentorship including…
While I benefited greatly from this type of leadership development, as a pastor I haven’t always been intentional in raising up leaders. Being a task oriented person, it’s simply easier to focus on what I need to get done for the week. Leadership development becomes something we need to do, and want to do, yet seldom do.
There are some obstacles we have to overcome to get good at developing leaders. We can avoid investing in the lives of others because…
So, how can we get started? Here is a simple process to begin a leadership pipeline in your church.
In recent years I have used a mentoring process to invest my life into potential leaders. It looks like this....
1. Identify six to eight potential leaders. Who has been faithful? Who has shown potential? Who is growing spiritually? Who displays strong character?
2. Invite them to commit to a year-long journey of mentoring and leadership development. You can possibly train for a task in one or two meetings, but the development of a leaders character, calling, and competency takes a journey. We ask each person to sign a covenant stating their commitment to the group and the process. We also ask everyone not to miss more than two meetings over the course of the year.
3. Share a meal if possible. So many good things happen as the result of sharing a meal and conversation. Friendships are developed, life is shared, and experience is passed on.
4. Choose 12 topics to cover over the year. Select 12 corresponding books/audio books. We typically have met on Sunday or Monday evening for two-three hours. Each leader reads and makes notes of lessons to discuss in the group. Audio books are great because not everyone is a reader. Here is a schedule I have used:
5. Discuss the reading and how each person can apply what they are learning. These conversations have been life changing as men discuss things they have never shared with anyone before.
6. Share your knowledge and experience with humility and transparency. Your potential leaders will not only learn from what you know, but in how you share it.
7. Conclude the meeting with prayer. Encourage the leaders to learn how to pray out loud, and to lead the prayer. This has been an important step for some of our potential leaders who are introverted or insecure.
8. Pray and discuss what leadership opportunities are available with your new leaders. Now that you have completed the journey, meet with each person individually to hear what God has put on their hearts to do.
As these individuals step into new leadership roles, they will require ongoing feedback and evaluation. Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson write about this process in their book, Exponential:
Questions to consider: What potential leaders exist in your church that would benefit from a mentoring journey? What process can you put in place to prepare your next leaders?
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past
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