~Going Deeper~ Part 1

Over the next 8 days I want to go into a little more detail about the 8 reason churches get stuck. Aswe start to plan, pray and put down our visions and dreams for the next year I want to look into even deeper on the things that keep Chuches and ministries to the level Christ wills for them. Today lets look a little deeper into “You Lack a Leadership Empowerment Plan”.


Outreach magazine interviewed Brad Abare and Phil Cooke about personality-driven churches. Here’s a paraphrase of the list of warning signs that they identified in the interview:
• The pastor doesn’t go on a vacation for any significant length of time. And, when he does, it isn’t announced.
• When the pastor doesn’t preach, the attendance drops.
• There’s an unspoken fear that if something happened to the pastor, the church would be in trouble.
• The pastor is unwilling to listen to and consult other team members.
• The staff and volunteers are there to carry out the directions of the pastor.
• There’s no succession plan in place; therefore, leadership development isn’t happening.

So, what other options are there? After all, aren’t we supposed to create pastoral rock stars who roam from place to place with an entourage of iPhone-toting handlers? I hate to break it to you, but . . . no. That’s not the point.

Real leaders cast vision and train the next generation of leaders. Real leaders empower people to lead, refuse to step in at the last minute, and provide coaching and encouragement along the way. (this point I have been teaching for years in my Jonathan David Ministries)
I’m still a big proponent of clear vision in churches. Clear vision leads to unified effort that results in ministry impact. A clear vision also provides a lot of freedom for people to be empowered to be who God created them to be. I’ve heard it described as freedom within a framework. That’s essentially a picture of the Christian faith. There’s actually more freedom for us if we stay within God’s designed framework. We see this reflected in Paul’s writings on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 as well. Each believer is given one or more gifts. Paul uses the human body as a metaphor to express how the various parts of the body of Christ are indispensable. In other words, we have failed as leaders in the church if we do not embrace 10
the unique gift-mix that God designed. And we won’t fully know the power and impact of the local church until people are empowered to be the people God wired them up to be.
We aren’t telling them what to do to accomplish the vision. We are helping them discover their gifts and freeing them to use them to fulfill the vision. It’s not delegation. With delegation, I’m still responsible. It’s empowerment. Someone else is responsible, but as a leader I still hold them accountable. At a recent meeting with a church staff, one of the members asked My dear friend Tony about leadership growth. With him having worked with churches of various sizes between 100 people and more than 10,000, they wanted to know how leaders change to grow with organizations. Here’s what he summarized with a little bit more detail. Some of this reflects his own experiences in the churches he has served in. Some of it reflects the conversations he’s had with leaders in other churches. on a side note I think this would be a great class to tech or even a great sermon to work on… who knows! 🙂
Lead by Example. This is the type of leadership that is required when new ministries launch. During this season, leaders have to do most of the work themselves. That happens out of necessity because no one else is around. It also happens to establish a foundation for the future. “Leading by doing” gives leaders the opportunity to shape the mission, vision, values, and strategy of their churches. These folks may not necessarily be gifted as leaders, but they are in a positional leadership role. They are the “leaders of tens.” Ministries with this style of leadership can grow to about one hundred people.
Lead Other People. During this season, leaders recruit other people to join their ministry team. Rather than doing all the work on their own, leaders begin to delegate tasks and responsibilities to other people. The leaders still own the responsibility for making things happen, they’re just including other people in the effort. These are the “leaders of fifties.” Ministries can grow to several hundred people with this style of leadership.
Lead Other Leaders. This is when a transition happens, where leaders begin to empower other leaders. Instead of a hands-on role where they’re on top of all the tasks, they shift to a role where they’re really more concerned about leading, caring for, and raising up other leaders. They don’t give up responsibility for the outcome, but they begin to release team building, decision-making, and execution to other people. These are the “leaders of hundreds.” Ministries can grow to several thousand people with this style of leadership.
Lead by Vision. At some point, there are leaders who may continue to embrace functional leadership of specific areas of ministry, but their focus is really on the overall health of the church. Rather than a ministry-specific focus, they have a global perspective that encompasses every aspect of the organization. These folks are leading other leaders, but they also have influence that reaches beyond their direct reports. They are coming alongside the senior leader to champion the vision that God has given the 11 church. These are the “leaders of thousands.” Ministries can grow to tens of thousands of people with this style of leadership.
By the way, all of these approaches to leadership are vital in a healthy, growing church. Even if I’ve moved to a place in my leadership where I’m primarily leading by vision, there will be instances when I need to lead by example. Where churches get stuck, though, is when only one style of leadership is evident in the top leadership team. So, before you continue reading, do you agree with my summary of these different stages of leadership growth? What would you add or delete from my descriptions? Also, where are you? What do you need to do today to prepare to step into a new leadership role tomorrow?
Something to think about
In His Grip,
Pastor J


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