The #1 Reason You’re Not Producing Leaders

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past ten years, you’ve heard how important leadership is to the church. As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”


Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there are far more people talking about leadership and far fewer people actually producing leaders. Yet, if you’re on Twitter or you hang out in certain circles, it can seem like everyone has this leadership thing figured out.

Perhaps they do, but that’s not been the case for me. In the church I serve, we have struggled year after year in figuring out the formula that produces leaders.

At times it seems like what works for one person doesn’t work for another. So we would switch things up, and we’d satisfy one group but lose another group.

Over time what I’ve begun to discover is there’s not really a formula that works for everyone, but every formula that works has one key component.


The one thing we can never have enough of is the one thing it takes to produce leaders. This is what makes leadership development so difficult. In order to see people grow into leaders, we have to be intentional about spending time with them.

Here’s how I would suggest you spend your T.I.M.E.

  • Teaching – People don’t know what you know. They don’t think like you do. If you just wait around for them to figure it out, you’re going to end up very frustrated. You have to teach them. Here’s why we do this, here’s why we don’t do that. Here’s why I think that’s a good idea, here’s why I think that’s a bad idea.
  • Inspiring – If you don’t remind them, over time people will forget why we do church. Our natural inclination is to focus on self, so we constantly need to be sharing the vision to reach those far from God. You can’t do this enough. Remind your volunteers that they’re not just filling a role, but they’re setting the stage for someone to meet Jesus each and every week.
  • Motivating – The best motivation for your congregation are stories of people whose lives have been changed because of your church. Find a way to tell these stories. Use Facebook, your church website, a bulletin, whatever it takes to get these stories in front of your people. In addition to that, make sure your volunteers are well trained. There’s nothing that kills motivation faster than someone who feels like they’ve been thrown into a role and forgotten about.
  • Encouraging – Encouragement begins by building a relationship. Your encouragement will be meaningless if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with the person. Get to know them. Find out about their family, how they came to your church, what they do for a living, etc. Encouragement begins by listening, and listening takes time.

I know this isn’t a perfect formula for building leaders because I don’t think a perfect formula exists. If it does, I haven’t found it yet.

This is a good place to start, and over time, you’ll find what works best for you.

How are you producing leaders? How much time do you think it takes?

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One thought on “The #1 Reason You’re Not Producing Leaders

  1. Andrew Bartosik

    Good advice. The church is in desperate need of leaders. Unfortunately, it seems like the only thing we can offer passionate, ambitious believers is a slot on the usher schedule, or–at best–an opportunity to teach a class to whomever is willing to show up outside of Sunday morning.

    Eventually the eager beavers just leave and start their own churches.

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