What if your church was known as a leadership factory? Is it possible to “grow your own” leaders?
In CABA Pastor's Survey conducted in September 2019, the #1 Training need identified was Leadership Skills. Here's where to start:
The idea is to start with just one leader working with three followers of Jesus in your church. This can be done with one, but be careful in this day and age of accusations and improper behavior.
Step aside from your usual routine. Fast and pray about producing leaders on a consistent basis. What leaders does your church need? Small group leaders? Youth workers? An outreach leader?
Pray for God to show you someone with leadership skills. This usually means starting with someone who is good with people. One church in North Carolina did away with all of their know-it-all cold-fish Sunday School teachers and shut down Sunday School over the summer. The church staff identified nine highly-relational members. They recruited them as new teachers and spend six weeks one summer getting them ready to lead small groups. Three months into their successful transition, they had to add three additional small groups leaders because so many of their church members wanted to participate. And, as before, the church staff trained them over a six-week period. I knew about this church because they found Bible stories the easiest to learn and reproduce in a highly-relational small group. This case study is written up in Truth That Sticks.
You can coach one or more Apprentices into ways that they can wisely invest in a leader in the making. Carve out at least two hours per week for training following a pattern called M.A.W.L.:
Model -- the leader exhibits knowledge, skills, and character -- the time is short -- the idea is to pray out and raise up an Apprentice ideally who has been in the group awhile
Assists -- asks the "apprentice" to do whatever he sees the leader doing. If it's leading a Bible study, then they do parts, then the whole. Coach along the way.
Watches -- the apprentice takes the lead and gets coached separately by the leader for feedback, correction, and tweaks. This stage is sometimes called a “Silent Partner.”
Leaves -- not permanently, but can easily receive delegated tasks and initiate opportunities. In this scenario, they “leave” to develop more leaders.
I worked with the late Avery Willis to develop an 8-part leadership development process based on Jesus’ process for making disciples. I have to sell it as a part of Snowden Ministries Int'l, but it's titled "Multiplying Disciples: Making Disciples like Jesus did." I kept "leadership" out of the title on purpose. You want to start with new disciples and not old dogs who will never learn new tricks. If you'd like to review the Bible study, please contact me at SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com
. I have had pastors use the 8-week study over two months -- one lesson at a time in "Teachers and Officers" Meetings. Others have stepped aside for two months to get the process going with an Apprentice.
The saying from Curtis Sergeant, a missiologist and friend, is true, “If you wait until you need leaders to train leaders, then it's already too late.” Get started cranking out leaders to the glory of God!
--Mark Snowden is CABA's director of missional leadership