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One Possible Solution to the Leadership Dilemma

Developing leaders is a hot topic among the church world these days, and it’s constantly a topic at my church. There’s rarely a week that goes by without someone talking to me about needing better leadership in one area or another.

And here’s the thing…I think we do a pretty good job of developing leaders. We just can’t develop enough of them fast enough to keep up with the need. Because of this, there’s a constant frustration, and pressure, that is placed upon our staff.

For almost three years now, I’ve been leading our student ministry. It’s not really my gift set, but our last two student pastors didn’t work out.  We had no one else to turn to, so I put on a flat billed hat and started using phrases like “it’s gonna be lit fam” to fill the role.

My thought was, I’ll take this on for a year, and by next year we’ll have someone to place in that position. Year one came and went, and no one emerged. Ok, let’s try it another year, and this year let’s pray real hard that God sends someone who can take over. Year two came and went, and no one stepped up to the plate.

Now, we’re halfway through year three, and I’m still not seeing one person who could take on the challenge.

So, do I just continue in this role where I’m not really the best fit, or is there another solution?

I’m not completely sure, but I do have an idea that keeps coming to my mind.

I’ve been looking for an individual, and maybe I should be looking for a team.

That’s a pretty significant shift in thinking. Normally ministries are led by individuals, but what if they didn’t have to be?

Now, you may be asking, “Yeah but if I can’t find one individual, how am I supposed to find a team of people?”

That’s a good question, and let me share the reason I think it could make sense.

For every ministry leadership position, we have a list of qualities that we want the person to have.

A student pastor, for example, we’re looking for someone who:

  • Can build relationships with students and parents
  • Is an amazing communicator
  • Can plan and execute events
  • Has a firm understanding of scripture
  • Knows the ins and outs of social media
  • Has outstanding character
  • Can recruit and train new volunteers
  • Is preferably married with children of their own, and
  • Is willing to do all of these things for less than $100 a week

I mean we’re looking for a unicorn. These individuals just don’t exist. Maybe they did at one time, but I think they’re quickly going extinct.

And I’m not just talking about student pastors. You can apply this to almost any high-level ministry leadership position.

The qualities and characteristics that are needed are almost impossible to find in any one person.

So, what if we said it didn’t have to be one person? It could be multiple people working together towards the same goal.

Now, we’re not looking for these characteristics in just one person, but we’re looking for a team of people who each have some of these qualities.

One person is a great speaker, another person is great at planning, another person is great with parents, and another person on the team is great at recruiting new volunteers.

Putting a team together seems like a more realistic possibility. Of course, working together as a team has its own set of obstacles, but if you’ve spent years looking for a unicorn, maybe it’s time to try a new approach.

Just something for us all to think about.

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