One complaint I have consistently heard from ministries over the years is the lack of prepared leaders for their mission. And now, in addition to a lack of leaders, is a waning pool of volunteers. Listen very closely: This is the perfect time to reassess your ministry goals and plans for developing new leaders and preparing volunteers.
You are responsible to equip the men and women God has brought to you because your primary leadership role as a pastor, church planter, or ministry leader is “to prepare God’s people for works of service.”
You have a high calling: the visible advancement of the invisible power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our runaway world. And God’s calling is God’s enabling. I have read the reports of the many pastors leaving the field now for various reasons. If you are a leader who plans to stay at your post, I want to encourage you to make a strategic pivot. Invest more time and resource in developing leaders and emerging leaders.
It is not a quick fix but over the long haul you will multiply your mission effectiveness, broaden the involvement of other disciples to use their gifts and abilities in Gospel influence, and encourage more dependent prayer. If you will “sow” now (intentionally adding value to others’ lives by caring and developing them in the gospel), you will reap a harvest made by Christ. Don't redouble your efforts on reaping.
Great leaders build a systemic approach to developing others into leaders rather than create a platform to gather more followers. Increasing leader capacity is not a program you develop, it's a holistic approach to everything you do in the organization.
It’s not uncommon for pastors and leaders to ask for assistance to become the leader God called them to be, and also to raise up leaders. Maybe you identify with one or both of those. You feel the weight of the role you have and are not sure which way you should go. Or you know what you are supposed to do, you just do not know how to train up the emerging leaders around you.
I suggest you focus on three primary “legs of the stool” to increase leadership systemically in your church or ministry.
1. Make Other Followers of Jesus.
The first steps in leadership are being in discipleship and disciple-making others. Do not over-engineer a disciple-making plan. Get adults doing life together in 3s and 4s.“A disciple of Jesus is one who has heard the call of Jesus and has responded by repenting, believing the gospel, and is following Jesus with others (Steve Smallman, italics mine).
We have made discipleship far too complex for people. As a church leader, you have the unique opportunity to define and implement the process of disciple making as the normal way of life for all new believers and members in your church.
2. Get a CMM Gospel Coach.
In his book Christian Coaching, Gary Collins suggested, “Coaching is the key element in producing good leaders. To be a good leader you must be a good coach. And to be a good coach you must recognize that coaching is a significant form of leadership.”
We have found that to be a true-ism. Pastors and ministry leaders who engage with a Coach can mitigate the effects of struggles within the church both in being a leader and developing leaders around you. But not just any Coach. “Any ‘ole coaching will do” is not true. If you are trying to develop a Christ-centered, gospel-saturated and missionally focused church or ministry with gospel-saturated leaders, you can ill afford to rely on a non-theological, humanistic, methodologically driven approach to coaching.
I want you to accept the challenge that you, by virtue of the calling God has given you, are a leader. He has given you a vision and passionate mission to renew your city or community by the power of the Gospel. That alone is the cloak of leadership. To excel in your leadership role, make great leaders. Don’t settle for gathering hundreds of followers.
3. Provide Gospel Coaching or Mentoring for Other Leaders.
Most people in leadership are not supported in their role. They are given some training, and then deployed to serve with little to no feedback, problem solving, or guidance. They hope they are doing a good job. Leaders at all levels (Elders, Small group leaders, Women’s ministry leaders and/or Student ministry leaders), men and women, will benefit greatly from Gospel Coaching.
Coaching or Mentoring allows the leader to spend personal time (minimum of 1 hour per month) with those under his/her charge, applying grace dynamics to areas of need, as well as keeping the leader focused on their area of ministry and mission.
Pastor Paul May said, “My coaches didn’t just give me advice, but came alongside me as older brothers. They walked with me through hard conflict and painful losses, and celebrated with me at personal successes and when we saw God do big things. While I’ve been blessed by many godly pastors generous with their prayer, friendship, and counsel, I’ve found that having someone walk with me and remind me of the gospel continually is what has kept me married and in ministry.”
At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, and ministry leader is created to thrive in ministry. You don’t have to work in ministry alone. A CMM Gospel Coach will help encourage and equip you every step along the way. CMM can also train your leaders to Gospel Coach or Gospel Mentor. Click here to learn more about Gospel Coaching today!