The Need for More Homegrown Leaders in Your Church

The church needs more homegrown leaders. It’s not a novel plea. In fact, church researchers have called for local equipping of leaders for a long time. In our globalized society, however, it is becoming even more important. Today everyone has access to the same information at the same time. Podcasts, blogs and sermon videos are ubiquitous.

The best teachers and preachers in the world now broadcast messages for free. Anyone can listen and benefit from excellent teaching—simply take your pick from several great leaders. The problem is applying this teaching to a variety of individual contexts. What we need are local leaders who understand unique cultural nuances of small towns, neighborhoods and enclaves of larger metropolitan cities.

Many churches will benefit by training and equipping local, homegrown leaders who have specific, lifelong knowledge of their context. What are some things to consider when empowering these homegrown leaders?

Inside, not outside hires. Church leaders will do better in most cases to train up people from within their congregations rather than hiring from the outside. First, if a person is faithful to a specific local church, then the likelihood of that person being sold on the vision of the church is higher. Second, inside hires have at least a basic understanding of the church culture (on the inside); whereas it’s speculation on an outside hire being a cultural fit. Additionally, an out-of-town hire will have two cultures to learn: the inside church culture and the outside community culture.

The rise of Boomer volunteers. Perhaps you’ve heard the Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age. Many of them will want to spend their retirement years serving—what better place than the local church. As they enter this season of their lives, perhaps they could lead a lay-led revolution within churches. If you’re wondering why your “senior” ministry keeps getting smaller and older, and no “fresh faces” are joining, it’s because Boomers don’t want to be lumped in with their parents. In fact, many churches may discover an army of volunteers by starting a new type of Boomer ministry with a leadership focus.

Intentional diversity. We are becoming a majority minority nation, and most communities in our country are changing. They are becoming more diverse. Homogeneous churches could benefit by utilizing the few people in their congregations of differing ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Be intentional about learning from them, giving them leadership positions, and equipping them to reach outward.

Homegrown leadership is not new, but all churches should have a plan to equip their own. And developing homegrown leaders is a biblical way to help the church culture reach outward into the culture of the community.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Rainer III

Sam serves as president of Rainer Research. His desire is to provide answers for better church health. He also serves as senior pastor at Stevens Street Baptist Church Cookeville, TN. Sam is the co-author of the book, Essential Church. He is a theological review editor at CrossBooks and regular contributor to Church Executive magazine. He has written dozens of articles on church health for numerous publications, and he is a frequent conference speaker. Before submitting to the call of ministry, Sam worked in a consulting role for Fortune 1000 companies. Sam holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the University of South Carolina and an M.A. in Missiology from Southern Seminary. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Dallas Baptist University.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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