The Simplest Way to Develop Leaders and Strengthen Your Team

Everywhere I look I see books, articles, tweets, and posts on leadership development in the church. “Leadership development” seem to be buzzwords in the church that are not going anywhere fast, especially in the multisite context. Everyone is looking to deepen their leadership bench with worship leaders, student pastors, campus pastors, and the like. The problem is, few have found a model or system that works in their church context.

I recently heard Pastor Chris Hodges, from the Church of the Highlands, say that he has his next 33 campus pastors ready at any moment to launch a campus. What? 33 leaders developed and ready in their pipeline? And my friends from 12Stone Church in Atlanta, GA take leadership development serious at their church through the MAPS process. Dan Reiland has written a lot about their process on his blog, and you can read more about that here. What if your church isn’t as prepared as Highlands, or as intentional as 12Stone? Don’t wait any longer or blame anyone on your staff. Start with your team, get a simple plan, and use the Apostle Paul’s model.

The Apostle Paul has a simple pattern that we see in his leadership of Timothy in the New Testament. I saw five stages of leadership development from Paul:

Stage 1: Watch Me Do It.
In Acts 16:1-3 we read of Paul’s invitation of Timothy to join him on his missionary journeys. We can’t develop leaders if we are not intentionally inviting them to watch us. Who have you invited?

Stage 2: Do It With Me.
In Acts 16:4 we read that Paul and Timothy worked together in ministry. Timothy is included in six of Paul’s New Testament letters, because Paul never did ministry alone. Who are you inviting?

Stage 3: You Do It, I Watch.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, we read his encouragement and edification to lead by example. Paul was constantly offering feedback and support to Timothy. Who are you watching, coaching, and positively critiquing to grow in their personal ministry skills?

Stage 4: You Do It.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we read his admonition that it was now Timothy’s time to begin developing other leaders: “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2). Who are you releasing?

Stage 5: Follow-Up & Invite Them Back
Paul closes his second letter to Timothy was a request that Timothy would come back and visit him. Paul had a special relationship with Timothy, and he wanted that relationship to continue even after Timothy was fully trained. Developing others is a tremendous privilege and responsibility of every leader in ministry, and these relationships often last a lifetime. Who are you investing in that you would want to know in 15 years from now?

Leadership development must be intentional, but it doesn’t have to be institutional.

Look at those God has entrusted to your care, determine their stage in the process of development, and begin moving them forward. When it comes to developing leaders, you don’t need a program or a pipeline, you just need to be proactive and purposeful.

I’d love to hear how you’re developing leaders in your multisite context, comment below.

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