2018 Pipeline Conference Speakers Expound on Scripture to Show How Churches Can Develop Leader Recruitment

“Legacy is not what you do; it’s who you develop.” Todd Adkins, director of leadership development at LifeWay Christian Resources, used this phrase to summarize the 2018 Pipeline conference that drew around 600 ministry leaders to Nashville Oct. 10-12 to learn about leader recruitment and formation.

“A recruiting culture uses a leadership pipeline to develop a person, not delegate a task,” Adkins said, warning leaders that recruitment efforts are often driven more by perceived needs than spiritual gifts.

Conference speakers expounded on Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4, and other Scripture passages to show how churches can develop a recruiting culture that goes deeper than just filling a role for next Sunday’s service.

Carey Nieuwhof

“Many churches run like mom-and-pop shops,” said Carey Nieuwhof, author and founding pastor of Connexus Church in Ontario, Canada. “Mom and pop run everything. They work 12 to 14 hours a day, barely get a week off, and have no succession plan.”

Nieuwhof said church leaders shouldn’t try to do everything themselves but should instead resemble a supermarket that disperses tasks to many workers and is — as a result — better equipped to serve a greater number of people.

He called on pastors to remember effective leaders focus on what serving can do for their teams rather than on how their teams can serve them. Nieuwhof also encouraged leaders to compensate their volunteers in non-financial currencies.

“Pay your volunteers in gratitude and respect,” he said. “People gravitate toward where they feel most valued.”

Danny Franks

Danny Franks, connections pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., admitted leadership development could be exhausting.

“There’s a soul-crushing weariness that comes with helping living things grow,” he said. “But God doesn’t call us to perpetual exhaustion.”

Franks said a remedy to ministry fatigue comes from helping church members believe they have an active role to play in the church — one that’s tied to their identity in Christ.

“Physical gifts make us passive receivers, but spiritual gifts make us active conduits [of God’s grace],” he said. “Believers should serve the church not because we need them to, but because they need to.”

Franks presented three ways to create an asking-culture of volunteerism: 1) expect volunteers to recruit other volunteers, 2) create easy onramps for service, and 3) focus on a grace surplus instead a volunteer deficit.

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Source: Baptist Press