Ever done this: looked at other churches and organizations and thought to yourself, “I wish I had their leaders?”
And then you look around your church and think…”But I don’t have leaders like that. And I have no idea how to get a great team to take us into the future.”
If you’ve thought that, you’re not alone. In a connected world, it’s easy to look at churches that have amazing leaders and then focus on the leaders you don’t have.
According to a survey I did of over 1,400 senior church leaders, developing teams was their #1 pain point. They just don’t feel like they have enough great people.
Not having enough people and not having the right people also keeps your church from growing. It’s almost impossible to reach more people without the right teams.
This impacts church plants, existing churches, stuck churches and churches in transition alike. Not having enough team or the right team is a significant mission-inhibitor.
I can empathize.
I started ministry by pastoring three very small, declining churches with average attendances of six, 14 and 23 (not making this up). Needless to say, they weren’t exactly overflowing with leaders. And none of the churches had grown in literally a generation.
I’ve also been in the scramble of a start-up church, launching locations and rapid growth. That’s another kind of pressure entirely, but again, you can easily get to a point where you feel like you don’t have enough leaders and you also need more leaders who can take you to the next level. But you just don’t see any.
While it can feel like all is lost in situations like that, it’s not.
Wherever you find yourself (and I’m guessing most of you lead churches or organizations larger than six people), you can find the future from where you are in the present. You have to. It’s the only way forward.
The reason your people aren’t like the people of the churches you admire is that you haven’t led them there.
Get on your knees, look in the mirror and start leading or find someone who can. When you lead with all diligence, you call something out in people that God planted within them. People who have lived ‘ordinarily’ can begin to live ‘extraordinarily’ under the right leadership.
So how do you do it?
Here are seven keys.
1. Start Where You Are
As difficult as this may feel, you need to start where you are, not where you want to be.
Starting where you are means starting with who you currently have. I know, that’s difficult.
But too many leaders get lost in a world where they think they can’t do anything with their current situation. They focus on what they can’t control, which is terribly unwise.
Smart leaders focus on what they can control, not on what they can’t.
Building a team starts with who you have, not with who you don’t have. So look around and honestly assess who you have.
Resist the temptation to live in the imaginary land where you have different people, a different church and even a different you.
If you start where you are, you have a much better chance of getting where you want to be.
2. Look for the Best Leaders You Can Find
Believe it or not, you have leaders in your church. Maybe not Fortune 100 leaders or start-up entrepreneurs who are going to light the world on fire. Maybe not (yet) the kind of people that can lead great movements.
But you have leaders. I promise you, you do.
You know how you can tell who the leaders are? They’re leading something. Maybe they’re not leading at your church, but they’re leading somewhere.
They’re running a shift at the local coffee shop…and doing it well.
Maybe there’s a mom in your church who is running the whole neighborhood…the playgroups, organizing the moms and kids and getting play equipment installed at the local playground. She’s definitely a leader.
Or there’s a 21-year-old working a minimum wage job who keeps winning employee of the month at a big box store.
There’s a guy in your church running a small business or a woman who owns a thriving music studio.
Bottom line…look for the people who are leading something—who are leading anything.
How can you tell if they’re leaders? When you look behind them, good people are following.
These are the kinds of people who make things happen in life. And they’re the kind of people who can help make things happen in your church.
You’ve got one or two…engage them.