3 Common Scapegoats for Developing Leaders

Great leaders intuitively know they are responsible for future leadership, and all leaders have heard these catch phrases: “There is no success without succession” and “Work yourself out of a job and you will always have a job.” Yet few leaders plan and prioritize developing others. There is always something else to do, always an email inbox pulling leaders away from the importance of development. So instead, leaders can offer excuses rather than take the task of development seriously. Three common and very bad excuses are:

1. Those I develop may leave.

There is a fear that if you develop someone for leadership, that person will long to be deployed somewhere else, that there may not be a spot in your organization for the developed leader. In response to “If we develop our people, they may leave,” someone quipped, “If we do not develop our people, they may stay.” Much better to deploy people you have developed than to labor alongside indefinitely those who have not been developed. A group of stagnant people, people who are not growing and learning, is a miserable team to be a part of.

2. Things are so busy.

Yes. Yes, they are busy. And they will not be less busy in 18 months. But 18 months from now, you could have better leaders on your team carrying the burden with you IF you would develop them now. Developing others takes time, but it will take less time if you start now instead of six months from now.

3. It is not on my job description.

Sadly, though it should be, developing others may not be on your job description. But all the functions on your job description would be better fulfilled if you raised up other leaders. Developing others widens the influence of the ministry or organization. Developing others equips more people for the important work that is being accomplished.

These are really bad excuses. Don’t use them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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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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