I’ve always believed healthy leadership in the church is less about the leader and more about those being led. The real leadership development ‘win’ happens when all of God’s people are fully equipped to do his work. That means we should be intentional about identifying leaders and helping them discover the unique gift mix God has designed for their lives.
In the work my team and I do helping churches get unstuck at The Unstuck Group, leadership development consistently arises as a core issue churches say they are facing. The pastors we serve know it is important, and they know there is a strategy problem, but they feel stuck. The things they have tried aren’t working. If you can relate, here are two questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you programming instead of personalizing?
Churches that fail to develop leaders often try to program leadership development, instead of taking a more personal approach.
Another class or teaching most likely won’t create the culture you’re after. You must invest quality time and resources into key staff and lay leaders—and by that I don’t mean send team members to a conference and buy them a couple of leadership books each year. Real leaders see potential in people and proactively invest in them personally.
Create opportunities for them to implement the skills they are learning. Include lay leaders in your efforts. Doing so will help you find future staff who already have the DNA of your church. The results of proactively investing in leaders cannot be measured. People who have experienced this tend to keep the cycle going, and it builds a culture of leadership development.
2. Are you ignoring the leadership development pathway principle?
All leaders need mentorship to discover their capacity and grow to new levels.
People who start out leading 10s may have the capacity to become leaders of 50s. People who lead 100s well may be great leading 1000s but, then again, they may not. It takes leaders who have walked this pathway investing in their teams to help them find out.
There are different competencies required to lead at each of these levels. As a pastor, it’s important to understand them and invest in people with the aim of helping them develop those competencies. Here are some examples of the competencies required at each level of leadership.
Leader of 10s: Leads by Example
- Developing your personal mission and goals
- Leading from your strengths
- Practicing personal disciplines
- Modeling a bias for action
- Managing your time, including work-life balance
Leader of 50s: Leads Other People
- Setting clear expectations
- Managing conflict
- Communicating effectively with your team
- Building teams of volunteers
- Discipling other people
Leader of 100s: Leads Other Leaders
- Measuring and evaluating for results
- Developing and mentoring leaders
- Dealing with underperformers and dysfunction
- Stewarding people, time and money
- Planning for the future
Leader of 1000s: Leads Through Vision
- Casting vision
- Developing a senior leadership team
- Renewing vision and strategy
- Leading change
- Shaping culture
You can see how this principle builds a cycle of leadership development as people grow to new levels.
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Source: Christianity Today