The Natural Flow of Leadership Development

I’m finding more and more pastors who are getting discouraged with the lack of leaders in their leadership pipeline.  The problem is serious because if there’s a lack of leaders then the growth of the church will be hindered.  Not just numerical growth but spiritual depth as well.  How you as a leader respond to this crisis is crucial.

Some leaders will complain but take no action. There’s a deceptive sense of hope that somehow in time things will magically get better.  Or they hope a leadership development program, idea or person will come along and turn everything around.  But hope is not a strategy.  The end result…nothing changes.

Other leaders acknowledge the problem and assign a task force to figure out how to populate their undersupplied pipeline.  This is a positive step but typically the leader removes himself from the process.  After a series of meetings the team tells him about their plan, projections and promise of a leadership revolution.  He blesses it and tells them to put it into action.  Then six to twelve months later the efforts have faded and they’re none the better for the efforts.

Finally there is a road less traveled…the senior leader integrates himself as part of the solution.  This doesn’t mean he is the brainchild of the leadership development strategy.  It doesn’t mean he is the point person.  Nor does it mean that he turns himself into a leadership development superman cranking out dozens of new leaders.  But it does mean he understands, believes in and is personally engaged in the leaderships development strategy.  The primary leader doesn’t have to create the system, but he must use it. Only then will you begin to see signs of your pipeline being replenished.

Why is this true? There is a guiding principle that every senior leader must pay close attention to if they are serious about building a culture of leadership development.  Here it is:  Leadership development flows down not up.  When your senior leadership team gets it then your staff will get it.  When your staff gets it your directors will get it.  When your directors get it your volunteer leaders will get it. Leadership development flows down.  And when it flows down you will see leaders grow up through your pipeline.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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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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