“Focusing your training agenda in accordance with needs and priorities will greatly enhance your fruitfulness…. Specifically targeted skill development is much more effective than taking a scattergun approach. General training trains generally; specific training trains specifically.”
Before you can develop ministry leaders, elders, small group leaders, church planters, worship leaders, or any other kind of church leader, ask this question:
What kind of leaders do you want?
If you want to develop leaders in a church plant, you have to identify what a mature leader will look like. Don’t just have a general idea of your mind of what a mature leader looks like, take the time to develop a profile that includes what a mature leader will know, be and do.
This week, I met with a group of church planters for networking and encouragement. It was coordinated through Acts 29. After lunch, the focus was directed toward building leaders.
Brian Howard, pastor of Copperhill Community Church, noted:
“Most of us struggle in the early days in church planting with getting leaders to help us. One of the dangers in church planting is that planters try to rush the leadership development process an put people into leadership roles too quickly.”
The challenge in a church plant is to be intentional about the PROCESS of leadership development. That process starts with defining what a mature leader looks like. Answer these questions:
- what should he know?
- what should he have experienced?
- what should he do?
Brian revealed, “This is the single most effective thing I’ve ever done.” He then identified 12 general qualities that he believes a mature leader must possess. I’m not going to give you Brian’s complete list – instead I suggest that you spend time with the Lord and immersed in the Scriptures to determine what qualities are important to you. Then develop an intentional process to train leaders that will know, be and do those things.
Here’s just one area that you might consider:
(adapted from Brian’s list)
– How have you demonstrated a missional lifestyle?
– How would you articulate a philosophy of “mission”?
– How would you explain the implications of a missional church?
– Who are the unbelievers that you are currently building relationships with?
– When was the last time you shared a meal in your home with an unbeliever?
– How would you explain contextualization?
– When have you recently shared the gospel with an unbeliever?
– How would you describe the process of conversion?
– What is your commitment to planting churches?
– How has your faith positively impacted a non-Christian?
– What is the core of the gospel?
– How are you involved in disciplemaking?
– Who is being discipled by someone you discipled?
It’s important to know what kind of leaders you want to produce. Often church planters fail to develop leaders intentionally because they don’t know what kin of leader you want.
Bob Logan emphasizes this point: “If you don’t have clarity about what you’re trying to produce, you can’t provide effective training.”
As I ate lunch with Scott, a church planter in West LA, he told me that leadership development was his most pressing issue. I challenged him that he needs to develop a clear picture of what kind of leaders he needs in his church. He had a general idea in his mind, but he had never written it down. By writing down what kind of leader you want — it will give you greater clarity and focus in your training process.
Bob Logan gets at this same idea of knowing what kind of leader you are trying to produce: “This knowledge allows us to train more effectively because we are training toward a specific end — we have a clear destination in mind. The best training is hands-on, skill-base, and result-oriented.”
Brian Howard has developed a 16-month training process that will develop a specific kind of leader because he has clearly defined on paper what kind of leaders he wants. He meets with a dozen guys once a month as a group to focus on specific training in 12 categories. They read books together as a group, they develop a Life Plan with a coach. They are mentored by an elder and progress is evaluated.
So – what kind of leaders do you want?
See also: The Absence of Missional Leaders