Three Ways to Bring Out the Best in Others and Release Creative Leaders for Ministry

It’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches. And delegation remains one of the hardest challenges for Pastors and church staff members.

One of the reasons we fail to delegate leadership is our fear of wildfire. We’re afraid things will get out of control – and indeed they will – but limiting control is actually what often fuels growth. We often encumber leaders with too much red tape. Policies and procedures have their place, but we can easily add so much structure that people don’t feel free to lead and make decisions.

The key to motivating creative people to lead ministry effectively is granting ownership. At Saddleback, as much as possible, each ministry makes its own decisions without a lot of oversight from the staff. We believe that the implementers should be the decision makers. When everything has to be passed by a committee or board, we tend to ask why? about every decision. But our initial response to the ideas of creative people should actually be why not?

There are three ways to bring out the best in others and release creative leaders for ministry.

> Give Them a Challenge

People love to live up to a big challenge. Jesus demonstrated this with the Great Commission. He took a dozen average guys and challenged them to go tell the gospel to the entire world. He knew they couldn’t do it alone and they couldn’t do it quickly, but He knew they could do it over time as the church expanded under their leadership.

> Give Them Control

People need permission. I often say that you can have control or growth, but you can’t have both. At least you can’t have a lot of both. You must have some control, obviously, but there’s always a trade-off. Growth happens in an atmosphere of freedom where leaders are encouraged to dream, to try, to experiment, and even to fail and move forward. Burnout happens when we squash every new idea with a skeptical attitude.

> Give Them Credit

It’s extremely important to affirm and encourage those who serve. Pointing out successes, providing guidance and comfort through failure, and reminding people of their calling and giftedness in Christ matters greatly to the accomplishment of the church’s mission. We are wired to respond positively to encouragement and we’re usually motivated to keep going even when things get difficult if we know that our labor is appreciated.

Would you like your church to be stronger and healthier and to grow multi-dimensionally? You must die to self, give away ministry, and empower leaders with permission. And if you’re reading this as a non-Pastor, you absolutely must give your Pastor and staff the freedom to lead and feed by taking the responsibility of ministry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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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.
 
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A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
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