I believe that every church needs a process for developing leaders. Without it, we miss the opportunity to cultivate the gifts of potentially great leaders. Many local congregations adopt the haphazard approach and I am fully aware of that. I realize that leadership formation is not a linear, cut and dry process such as take these five steps and presto, you are a leader, yet still there are practices and processes that can be put in place to help people move further along the path of service and live into their purpose as part of the body of Christ.
Here are some questions I believe that current leaders should ask themselves for starters.
- What are 3 to 5 qualities/character traits that you desire to see/expect of leaders?
- What is your ministry’s vision/mission/goals? What tasks need to be done to move you forward?
- Who do you need to accomplish those goals and fulfill your mission? What skills are needed?
- What needs to get done? Why does it need to get done? Who can do it besides you and the normal faithful few?
- What type of mentoring, and training is necessary?
- What types of administrative systems would help?
- What leaders are already in place? How are they developing leaders?
- What types of evaluative tools will you implement to keep people developing?
- What are some tools you can use to provide off-site training for leaders (blog, twitter, facebook)
Asking these and other questions will prepare you to start moving in the direction of developing a quality leadership culture.
Once you begin the process of creating a leadership culture, remember:
- Assume that prospective leaders are in your church (even if you haven’t spotted them)
- Recruit specifically rather than generally
- Provide training/development and ongoing support
- Delegate authority along with delegating tasks – be willing to give up control
- Shepherd/care well for those leaders who commit to investing their time and energy
- Invest in leaders by encouraging and supporting growth – fund a training, buy a book
- Let leaders “catch” good qualities and practices from you – let them experience you leading them well so that they too can lead others well
- Use technology to your advantage – training/development does not always have to happen on-site, in a meeting. Make the best use of a leader’s time
Creating a leadership culture is not a linear, regimented process, it is sometimes organic. However, haphazardness usually impedes progress forward if it is not balanced out with a plan, steps and structure of some kind. Church leadership is not about one or even a few “stars,” it is about a collective group of individuals serving and accomplishing what God has uniquely positioned a ministry to do
Remember, people are not shaped or developed overnight and character development is just as essential as skill development, and it is all a process.