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Are you growing your leaders?

| by Jonathan Hayashi

Churches are notorious for being stagnant. A lot of churches in America don’t have any succession plan in place because they created an environment that they don’t have to! Therefore, nothing is happening and ministry cruise through as a stagnant model. 

Many American churches have 100 or fewer people in their congregation as a result of supply and demand. Why would we raise up another worship guy if we already have a decent leader? Why would we raise up another youth pastor if we already have one?

Sometimes visions sound like this, “We just want to get bigger.” 

We must understand that in order to reach more people we simply need to build more leaders. Therefore, we must release; we cannot multiply without releasing people. 

Farmers have to throw and let go of those seeds that are in his/her hand as they go forth to the land in order to bear much fruit.

If we hoard certain people to keep the show going so the system won’t collapse and handcuff them to our ministries, we prevent our next generations to grow in those vacant positions. There are young men and women who eager, able and willing, but no vacancy for them to step in to rise. 

Why are we losing all of these people? 

People are going through the vacuum of the world by being sucked up when they can’t find a place to serve in the church. If we want to keep young people, then we need to create a vision that centers around God fulfilling that vacuum and growing them into the biblical leadership He desires. 

Our greatest challenge is never talented leaders or how much money we need. We are our greatest challenge. It is often our selfish desires to control and our own unwillingness to release leaders because of our insecurity that prevents multiplication. Some of us leaders may need a little heart check.

Here are six principles that allow leadership multiplication within your team;

1. Desperation and necessity

Growth happens when one is hungry to learn. When tasks make them feel inadequate to do the job, this will result in leaders who are willing to be stretched and step outside of their comfort zones.

2. Pushing through the breaking-point

When there is a breakdown in communication, leaders and potential leaders need to be hungry to push out from behind the places they feel stuck. This stretches them enough to reach the next point in their leadership.

3. Crystal-clear vision

A clear vision that is compelling causes reproduction and multiplication. Not having a clear goal for the team causes an unrealistic expectation, leading to a reach for impossibility that leaves everyone frustrated. On the other hand, if the leader establishes goals that are challenging and difficult to reach for their team instead of a maintenance-stagnant mentality, then this can cause healthy growth.

By definition, as Proverbs put it, “Where there is no clear vision, everyone will do their own thing.” 

4. Continual learning environment

The team is learning and growing in areas that they are not really good at. One example of learning and growing for church leadership is learning a new language such as Hebrew or Greek. When one is outside of their comfort zone, this causes exponential motivation to learn and grow.

5. Renewal of the vision’s reality

When a team is stretched by the vision of a new reality, they will begin to grasp and see the context of this leadership position with a renewed perspective. It is difficult to go back to the previous vision size once it grows to a God-sized and God-given vision. This will drive leaders toward a new place in leadership as they seek to live out and work out of that vision. 

6. Intentional coaching relationships

Someone who is intentionally training and coaching must discern when to transition to a seasonal coach. That transition is something we need to understand as leaders. If a leader holds tightly to control of their team and the potential leadership under them their team will push for the freedom they need. On the other hand, if the leader is absent from the team and is disengaged, then the team thinks that the leader just doesn’t care. There is a needed balance and discernment for when to encourage leaders to step up and allow them to flourish.

Putting the leadership multiplier into action

If you don’t have a clear vision that drives you, chances are you are in maintenance mode rather than multiplication mode.

We not only have to learn how to lead our teams, but find leadership coaches in our lives to challenge where we may be stagnant. True success in our lives as leaders is growing those who are following us. 

Photo source: istock

Jonathan Hayashi

Jonathan Hayashi (B.A. and M.A., Moody Theological Seminary) is a Pastoral staff at Troy First Baptist Church in Troy, Missouri. He is also a Doctoral student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to that, he served at an inner-city church in Chicago, Illinois for six years and taught Apologetics/Philosophy at the PGM center. He is married to Kennedi and a father to two beautiful daughters.

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