Creating a Leadership Development Climate

One of the more positive trends happening in the church today is a focus on leadership development. The problem is, very few have figured out how to do it well. That includes the church I serve, and we’ve been talking about it for years now. So, this summer I was excited to read John Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leaders Around You. I took a ton of notes, enough for a six part series on leadership development that I would love to share with you. Let’s start by learning how to create a leadership development climate.

Where I live, if you were to walk into most of the churches, it would be pretty obvious that leadership development isn’t happening. That’s not a shot at those churches because many of them have great pastors and some great volunteers.

But in most cases they’re not developing leaders. They may be developing doers, those who do some kind of volunteer work, but not leaders.

And that’s a big problem because when the church doesn’t have leaders, the church doesn’t grow.

Sure, they may get to a hundred in attendance and a few who have great preachers may even get to two hundred, but it’s almost impossible to grow past that number without good leadership.

Maxwell says, An organization’s growth potential is directly related to its personnel potential.

This is why leadership development is so important. In fact, if you’re pastoring a church, I would say that acquiring and developing people is your most important task.

And it’s up to you to set the climate for leadership development. What you value, your congregation will learn to value. So, you have to develop the climate.

Here are a few ways you can do that.

  1. Model leadership development. No one else is going to develop leaders until you start developing leaders. What you model, they will follow.
  2. Call out the potential within people. Most people won’t see themselves as leaders. This is especially true in small towns, so you have to see what they can’t. Then pull it out of them.
  3. Show that you care. You’ve heard it said a hundred times, no one cares what you know until they know that you care. Find out their desires and needs, and help meet them.
  4. Take the focus off positions and titles. Jesus made it very clear that we are to be servants. The people we lead do not serve us, we serve them.
  5. Provide opportunities for growth. Sometimes I forget that the majority of people in my church don’t know of all the great resources available to them. One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, “What does this person need to grow?”
  6. Make the hard decisions. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to become a leader will have the desire or commitment level needed to accomplish it. There will be times when you need to stop investing in them in order to better invest in others.
  7. Never stop growing yourself. I’ll say this again, what you model, the people will follow. If you become satisfied with where you are, don’t be surprised if people become satisfied with where they are. You set the pace for your church, so continually invest in yourself.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the climate you’re setting. Your attitude and a positive atmosphere can encourage people to accomplish great things.

How many of these things are you doing in your church? Are you seeing it pay off? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

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