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What if instead of training someone to do a job, we sought to train them to lead?

Leadership: Equip Your People for Ministry

Building leaders is about making those programs better than we could possibly make them on our own, while empowering others to guide and direct, instead of us.

When we think of the topic of leadership, we usually think of what we must do, to better lead the people who see us as leaders.

What if we had a paradigm shift in how we train and develop leaders in our ministries and churches?

The discussion then quickly turns to what we must do to better train up new leaders.

Leadership conversations usually revolve around very practical matters, such as finding someone to schedule the sound volunteers, or someone to train the new camera operators.

What if we, though, were actually training leaders to lead?

Unfortunately, I find that most of the training and work that we do as church leaders tends to focus on helping someone do a task. This is especially true in the realm of worship and technology.

Don’t know what all these buttons and knobs do? Great … we can teach you!

Know how to play a guitar? Fantastic! We can help you be a part of a group!

We may even move to the next level of helping people help other people (the first computer tech trains the new computer tech), which is a great start, but perhaps it is time that we actually allow our people to really lead the ministries that we oversee.

In Ephesians 4, Paul outlines some of the many responsibilities of those in the body of Christ – “some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ…” Here, Paul shows us that pastors and teachers have the job of training the saints in the work of ministry, but somehow, at least in many churches that I have been in, the church hires pastors and teachers to do the work of ministry and depends on them to make everything happen.

What if we had a paradigm shift in how we train and develop leaders in our ministries and churches?

What if instead of training someone to do a job, we sought to train them to lead?

I think one of the reasons that we don’t do this initially, is a very practical one. For instance, I have recently assessed all the technology at my church and was shocked to realize how many things we have, where I am the only person who truly knows the ins and outs of how that particular piece of gear works. Sure, the camera operators and the lighting designers know how to run the equipment that we have, but none of them could truly troubleshoot that gear, if something went wrong.

And they certainly don’t have the knowledge to build or set up the system, in the way it is currently configured. This is a lack of leadership development on my part (and, training too).

However, that all takes a lot of work, and we need to make Sunday happen every Sunday.

Often, we find ourselves in a situation where it’s just easier and faster to do all that work, and as a result, we don’t really train people properly.

This situation can easily be applied to every area of ministry in the church.

If a leader happens to pop out randomly, as we run the treadmill of weekly services, that’s amazing, but it was entirely an accident, not because we were intentional about developing anyone.

So, what if we became intentional?

What if developing leaders became our first task, instead of that random thing we hope will happen in the midst of doing ministry? I know that sounds like an impossible pipe dream, but not only can it happen in your church, it should happen in your church.

The first step for many of us is to let go of our pride, on the areas we oversee.

I do not believe that we are intentionally prideful much of the time, but we have worked hard to put together programs that run well, and we want to protect them.

Building leaders, though, is about making those programs better than we could possibly make them on our own, while empowering others to guide and direct, instead of us.

The next step is to decide to become intentional about developing leaders and then actually do it. At Trinity Church, we have put a system in place to give structure to our leadership development process, because systems help give a consistent and easy to follow path for each person in the ministry.

Figure out what system would work in your context, and then slowly begin to implement that system.

As people work through the system, they gradually get more responsibility. At this juncture, they are constantly checking in to see which areas they are growing in and can then help others that are not in the system, to begin their leadership journey as well.

This helps everyone get on mission together.

Each person is then helping someone else succeed, while we all cheer each other on. Not only does this help develop leaders, but also builds unity and sense of mission.

In the midst of developing leaders to do the work of the ministry, and then go out and train up more leaders to do the work of the ministry, I would be remiss if I did not point out that discipleship is a major component of this development. We could have the best worship team in the world, backed by the best tech people in the world, but if we are not pursuing and growing in Christ, we have completely missed the point of what we should be doing as ministry leaders.

Every part of our leadership system is infused with opportunities for people to grow spiritually and be challenged to move deeper in their walk with God. This is perhaps the most crucial component in leadership development.

In their book “Designed to Lead,” Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck say the following:

Equipping is for every single church.

Equipping must be for your church.

Equipping must be viewed as foundational, as fundamental to what it means to actually be called a church.

We need to lead, and we need to develop leaders.

If you’re ready to begin that journey, start by reading some good books on leadership development (including the excellent book I mentioned above, Designed to Lead), get a team together of current or potential leaders, create a plan, and then go and equip your people for ministry.

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