Building a church leadership development strategy hinges on a robust and clear leadership pipeline. This pathway will help focus your intentions in identifying and developing leaders in your church. Leadership development doesn’t happen without action and planning, so here are some pointers on moving forwards and creating a culture that develops leaders in the church.
Encourage Existing Leaders To Think Development-First, Not Doing-First
Arguably, the best leaders raise up other leaders. But if leaders do the stuff themselves, how will opportunities for growth be made available for others around them? Any potential leader worth his or her salt will move on after continually being forced to watch instead of do.
Model Best Practice And Healthy Patterns
Fundamentally, this is really about creating and demonstrating culture. If we are talking about self-care or boundaries, yet have to step-in continually to firefight or deal with things we feel are actually ‘our’ responsibility, we are modelling patterns and practice of what we think leadership should look like. That will attract some but repulse others who have a different leadership style. Are we projecting what we want to see replicated across our church?
Identify The Best Role Models
Who have you got who has excellent knowledge? Great skills? Brilliant organisation? Clear communication? And so on. Give them a profile and platform! Make sure your leaders are exposed to a variety of styles and types of leadership. Help people drink from many streams, as it were. You’ll have better well-rounded leaders growing, and wider variety too, because perhaps, some people will identify with someone who isn’t like you!
Use Coaching To Disciple
Discipleship is the call of the church, and doesn’t stop when people get saved! If you don’t disciple upcoming and potential leaders, you won’t have mature and developing leaders. Coaching is a great tool to help people reflect and identify learning lessons themselves, and develop growth plans to move forward. It’s harder to coach than to teach, because teaching can be a monologue whilst coaching is a dialogue. But dialogues are participative and have greater potential to unlock change.
Competencies are more than skills; they are areas we excel in. Leadership skills are important, of course. But we mustn’t also forget matters of attitude and the heart, for example, self-care, or core values. It’s useful for leaders to know what strengths and weaknesses they have, and whilst many of us have an idea, getting community input into that picture is a powerful and liberating experience. I’ve developed an assessment that helps leaders see their level of competency across multiple areas. You can find out more about it here.
Implement Across the Whole Church
Lastly, if you really want a church leadership development strategy, you have to actually implement one. Don’t have a leadership training course that is detached and disconnected from actual ministries, but make sure that there are real and live opportunities in your church for people to put into practice what you’ve poured into them. They, and your church, will benefit!
Leadership development in church means encouraging existing leaders to develop others; modelling best practice; showcasing great role models; coaching; identifying key competencies; and providing leadership opportunities across the whole church. If you do these things, you’ll see leaders grow and flourish!
To see how I help churches like yours with leadership development, and other things, click here.