In every church I’ve been in, people want to reproduce leaders, but few think they know how. Sometimes we complicate things in leadership. In my opinion.
In fact, finding new leaders—in theory at least—may be one of the easier issues to solve in leadership. There are almost always leaders to be found if one is looking. The key is having a strategy of leadership reproduction in place and actually working it.
I’ve written more detailed posts on this issue. Lots of books have been written. My intent here is to be simple. Simple often works.
Here are three easy steps to reproduce leaders:
The best leaders will almost always have to be recruited. They are already busy leading elsewhere. They don’t have huge egos that make them think they have to be leading in your organization. Be observant. Get to know people and their interests. Discover the hidden talent in your church. If someone is a leader with Boy Scouts, they have potential to lead at church. If someone leads in the workplace, they have beneficial skills for the church.
I’m not advocating you don’t screen them, but I’m not thinking they’re going to preach the first week either. How much of a litmus test is needed for the parking ministry? Yet, you need leaders there too. It’s the first place a visitor makes an impression about your church. If they can lead a little league baseball team, you think they can be a chief parking lot cheerleader? I think so.
You will need to acclimate people to your organization. Train them to know your church culture. Make sure they know what you are seeking for the position. Give them some freedom to create their own way, but most likely they’ll want your help getting started. The best way is usually by apprenticeship. Partner them with other leaders. Help them find examples in other churches of ministries that are working well. Answer their questions. Be intentional to make sure they feel prepared.
Let them lead. You’ve asked them to lead. You’ve trained them. Now get out of the way and let them lead. They’ll make mistakes. They won’t always do it your way. That’s OK—they’re leading.
You aren’t trying to produce leaders just like you. You are trying to produce disciples. They follow Christ, not you, so don’t be surprised when they come up with new—even better—ideas. Follow up with them as needed, but let them be a leader. The best leaders won’t last long if you’re looking over their shoulder too closely. (This is probably the biggest mistake I see churches make in reproducing leaders. They control too closely.)
Now I realize none of these steps are necessarily easy, but I’m confident if you’re doing each of them well you’ll be reproducing more leaders. And, isn’t that what your church needs?
You may want to read 10 Steps in Having a Leader Replacement Culture.
How does your church reproduce leadership?