How to Develop Leaders in your Church

Many pastors have no essential plan for developing leaders.

We (hopefully) know how to interpret the Bible, how to preach, and how to counsel, but are often ineffective at training both current and future church leaders. There is perhaps no better use of your time as a pastor than to develop leaders. Regardless of the size of your church, a minimum of 1/3 of your time should be spent focusing on this critical area. Looking for precedent for leadership development? Jesus spent the bulk of his time developing twelve men who would go on to impact the world. (Including the writing of our New Testament.) The Apostle Paul modeled and taught leadership development as well. We see this both in his investment in men such as Timothy and in the words he wrote:

“…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2, ESV

But how can a pastor get started with a plan to develop leaders? In getting started recognize that there are two streams of necessary leader development – Basic Training and Ongoing Training. Read on to see the differences:

Developing Church Leaders

1. Basic Training – Training for not-yet Leaders:

Are you hoping that ready-made leaders will show up to help you lead the church? Are you trusting seminaries or other churches to raise up leaders for your church? If so, you will likely be waiting a long time. There are simply not enough ready-made leaders to do what we need to do in ministry. There are not enough ready-made leaders to care for all of the people in your church. There are not enough ready-made leaders to plant all of the churches that we need to plant. Who will develop future church planters and pastors for the next generation? Who will develop the leaders that you need in your church 3, 5, and 10 years from now? It is our responsibility as Pastors to train the next generation of leaders. This is where basic leadership training is relevant.

Are you doing any basic training for not-yet leaders?

  • Basic Training focuses on future leaders – those who will lead in your church in coming years and those who will go on to lead in other places.
  • Basic Training is general – Like the first two years of college (Gen-Ed)
  • Basic Training provides a foundation for a variety of spiritual leadership roles.

Most of your future leaders can’t afford seminary or can’t relocate. It’s up to you to train them. Read this post that will give you a plan for Basic Leadership Training.

2. Ongoing Training – Training for Current Leaders:

A second stream of leadership training addresses those currently serving in leadership roles. Launching a person into a specific ministry role and then leaving them to fend for themselves is a recipe for a revolving leadership door. Wise leaders know that It is most often much more effective to train and care for the leaders that you already have than it is to recruit and train new leaders. Your current leaders need ongoing training.

  • Consider your small group or missional community leaders. You have trained them and launched them. But what are you doing on an ongoing basis to continue to develop them?
  • Consider your paid staff? How are you investing in them, training them, maturing them?

An essential plan for training leaders in a local church should include both basic training for future leaders and ongoing training for current leaders. After some thought, read this post on how to put together a plan for Basic Leadership Training.

Also Read: How to Become a Leader Developing Machine

I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions! Post a Comment and continue the conversation.

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Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

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