In the Middle Ages, specialized artisans raised up future generations through an intentional apprenticeship process. Young apprentices served as understudies alongside a mentor who provided careful instruction and patient guidance. We can look to Jesus as the preeminent mentor—he turned a ragged group of social and spiritual misfits into world-changers. In fact, we are the legacy of this mentoring relationship. How did this happen? It took time with the master. He invested diligently in the lives of folks who just couldn't quite seem to get their acts together.
In fact, they bumbled the message and missed the point as they followed him. But they watched and observed the master teacher.
And there was an atmosphere of trust and risk-taking. When they were sent on their first mission assignment, they were in way over their heads. But they had seen what Jesus did, and they had clear instructions. They gathered themselves together and the world hasn't been the same since. Think investment. Mentoring is a risky, costly business.
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It requires time, effort, and disciplined focus. As ministry leaders, we are tempted to deliver results quickly and efficiently. But remember, deep-impact ministry is found in developing people, not acquiring them. Leaders with lasting impact—the ones who truly change the world—know their greatest impact in life is reproducing other people who have caught their vision and will carry it forward like a virus. If you want to radically change the world, invest in your volunteers.
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You are being stretched thin by the demands of ministry. All leaders have limits that cannot be ignored. At The Church of the Resurrection, for instance, we try to limit the number of people supervised by any one manager to six. If supervision is stretched further than this, there begins to be a breakdown in development and communication. When your ministry expands, you'll have to establish a team structure that grows with you.
When we launched a satellite campus twenty minutes away, we subdivided our overall ministry into five key smaller work areas worship logistics, missions, children's ministry, youth ministry, and music ministry and we invited a leader to serve as the point person for each area. Now we had six leaders, including the campus pastor. But the work was far too great to accomplish with six people.
How to Grow a Small Church
In order for the effort to reach its full potential, each of these five volunteer ministry leaders would build a team to come alongside him or her particularly focused on an area of the program. With each member of each team contributing, we had multiplied the involvement to more than thirty people and had avoided the error of placing too much work at the feet of a few volunteers. This is a model of reproducible teamwork. The pattern works at all levels up and down your church, from the highest level of leaders surrounding the senior pastor to the smallest tasks completed by occasional volunteers.
Just like Moses had a Joshua, Elijah an Elisha, and Paul a Timothy, every single staff member or volunteer in every area needs to have someone they are apprenticing. Always remember that leadership development does not happen in isolation but in community.
How to Belong
We need the community of believers to equip one another for ministry. Get rid of all of the excuses. When we have a lot of excuses we will never be able to accomplish anything in life. Again, creating a leadership development culture has to be intentional. Being busy is a golden opportunity for leadership development. If you think you have enough leaders then realize that this is a selfish mindset that will always hinder growth. To live out the value of developing leaders for the work of ministry, and to model leadership development, you need to remove all of the excuses.
As a conclusion I want to offer five important questions that will get you on the right direction to creating a leadership development culture in the church:. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. By Eddy Aleman.
Developing Lay Leaders
In Developing Leaders , Strengthening Churches. As a conclusion I want to offer five important questions that will get you on the right direction to creating a leadership development culture in the church: Do we have a definition of leadership? Do we have someone leading the charge of leadership development?
Do we have a leadership development pathway uniquely designed for our own context and vision?
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Do we model the value of leadership development at every level? Do we have a lot excuses for not developing leaders as we should? Send Eddy an email, or follow him on Twitter! Yet many of the books about integrity and character quickly degenerate into challenges and techniques for leaders to grow their own character, to discipline themselves to become stronger in integrity.
We know these challenges are futile. Only Jesus can transform the heart. Only He has the power to form us into people who are filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Church, because of Jesus, develops leaders whose character has been transformed. John Maxwell has observed that one way to know the strength of a leader is to give the leader volunteers to lead.
It is much easier to get people moving in a direction when a paycheck and vacation time are involved. It takes much greater leadership skill, passion, and credibility to mobilize and rally volunteers around a shared mission. Leadership development in the Church gives leaders an opportunity to lead volunteers, to learn how to lead with a moral authority and not positional authority, a compelling mission and not an organizational chart, clear direction and not perks.