5 Advantages of a True Leadership Pipeline

Leadership is a mixture of both poetry and plumbing, but unfortunately a lot more is written about the former than the later. The leadership systems and structure of a church are the major pieces of plumbing I am referring to today. For better or worse, they are defining factors in developing a leadership pipeline. Whether the church is small, mega, or multisite, it requires real work. Developing a leadership pipeline is not just reorganizing your org chart and implementing a clear training strategy. You are going to turn over some rocks and deal with whatever is underneath. Let’s look at systems then talk a bit about structure.

Systems are not ungodly. Your systems actually reveal your stewardship and how intentional you are with the people God has placed under your care. Systemization begins with auditing and documenting how you do what you do. Mapping out specific church processes and how they interact and overlap reveals more than you dreamed and maybe more than you feel comfortable exposing. These processes show what you truly value as a church and the gaps between your actual and aspirational values.

Take a look at your processes, forms, training,
 and so forth. In my previous church, I spearheaded the multisite ministry. By the time we launched our third campus, I had learned that if we didn’t have simple systems in place then we were headed for trouble. Nearly every time our pipeline got clogged and we had to take it apart to see what was wrong, the root cause was a systems issue.

Structure determines the working relationships between pastors, staff members, leaders, and volunteers as well as the relationships between peers at each level. Structure provides the foundation on which the systems and standard operating procedures rest. Analyze your church’s ministries. This analysis will determine what type of structure is best for your church. Study the dependency between different ministry areas.

Assess your church’s methods of communication. How your staff members and leaders communicate with
 each other is a key factor in aligning systems and processes. Regardless of how you decide
 to structure your leadership pipeline, alignment must exist across the organization. Some ministries will require more layers of leadership or more volunteers. However the levels, titles, and basic job descriptions should contain a common language.

This will be difficult for many of your people to handle. The upfront investment is time consuming, you are sure to uncover issues that need to be addressed, and the keepers of the status quo will be crying foul. However, if you persevere and walk your team through a full audit and realignment, you will be well on your way to creating a true leadership pipeline and the payoff brings you five key advantages:

  1. People identify their next steps.
  2. Provides systems clarity for development.
  3. Creates pathways for growth and development.
  4. Enables diagnosis of where and why your pipeline is clogged.
  5. Aligns language and positions across the organization.

In October, our team at LifeWay Leadership is hosting Pipeline, a conference to train church leadership teams how to develop and implement your own leadership pipeline. We want you and your team to join us. You can find out more and take advantage of the early bird registration discounts for you and your team at the website. Pipeline will be a rare opportunity to be trained by leading church practitioners and come away with an actual leadership development plan you can implement in your church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Adkins

Todd Adkins

Todd is Director of Leadership at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN. He is host of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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