I frequently hear from small group pastors that their senior pastors or congregational leaders are uncomfortable with newer strategies for identifying and recruiting leaders.
They’ll tell me things like, “I love hearing about the 75 new leaders that were chosen by group members at your life group connections or the 300+ people who said they had a couple friends they’d like to do the Transformed study with, but my senior pastor would never go for that.”
“I love hearing about the 75 new leaders that were chosen at a life group connection or the 300+ people who said they had a couple friends they’d like to do the Transformed study with, but my senior pastor would never go for that.”
And I get it. In my experience, some senior pastors are keenly aware that traditional methods of leader recruiting haven’t produced new leaders fast enough to keep up with the demand (in order to connect unconnected people in their congregations). Still, their cautions and concerns prevent them from signing off on new strategies that are reportedly are working elsewhere. Genuinely concerned for the safety of their flock, they’ve determined there must be a problem-free solution. And In their pursuit of problem-free, they’re stuck with ineffective.
Does that sound familiar? Is that your story? Or maybe a version of your story?
If that’s your story, I’d like to give you some key steps to building (or proposing) a leader development process that fits your congregation’s needs and expectations.
6 Steps to Building a Leader Development Process
First, develop a clear understanding of the kind of leader you’d like to have. It may not occur to you, but if you want to build a robust system that develops the kind of leaders you long to have…this is where you must start. Only by spending the necessary time to fully understand the leaders of your preferred future will you have any chance of arriving. See also, The Preferred Future for Small Group Leaders.
Second, determine the minimum number of your preferred future small group leaders that you need today (to adequately care for and disciple your average weekend adult attendance in worship). Keep in mind that unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again. Determining this number (and in most cases recognizing a shortfall) will provide the needed motivation to reconsider your current strategy for identifying, recruiting and developing leaders.
Third, develop a list of additional strategies for identifying new leader candidates. Remember, your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing. If you don’t like the results, you must change the design. There are many ways to discover additional leaders. Put a good team to work developing the list. See also, 8 Secrets for Discovering an Unlimited Number of Small Group Leaders.
Fourth, carefully articulate the problems associated with each of the strategies you identify. Be sure you include your current strategy for identifying leaders in the list of strategies you are evaluating. Use a separate flip chart page for each strategy and thoroughly list the problems of each.
Fifth, choose the set(s) of problems you’d rather have. Don’t miss this step. Remember, there are no problem-free strategies. Every strategy comes with a set of problems. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have. See also, Problem-Free Leader Identification and Recruitment.
Sixth, design a development process that will help new leaders become preferred future leaders. This is a very important step. Don’t miss it. The truth is you will probably not discover an untapped supply of fully qualified leaders who fit your preferred future. You will have to make them. You will have to develop a pathway that will make it easy to begin and nearly automatic to develop in the direction of the preferred future. See also, Steve Gladen on Saddleback’s Leadership Pathway.
What do you think? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
Image by Ian Sanderson