Help! I Need More Leaders!

Help! I Need More Leaders!

Every church needs more leaders. The problem is there are only three ways to get more.

1. Buy them, by hiring them. 

2. Steal them from other churches.

3. Train them up yourself (the most difficult of all). 

So how do we do this? 

The Bible tells us to take what we have learned and teach it to others, that they may teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). We usually apply this to discipleship, but it also includes training others in how to lead God’s church. I’ll be writing about this process over the next several months. Let’s start with some definitions.

What is a leader?

When people are surveyed about the definition of an effective leader, one of the major words that comes up is the word influence. You may have that word in your mind, as well. It’s a good one. However, we have to recognize that there are different kinds of leaders who have influence. For example, there are “Thought Leaders.” We might identify with a particular author and say something like, “That person has influenced my thinking.” While that person might have led you to think in a particular way, most of us wouldn’t consider that person our leader (and don’t even get me started about “Instagram Influencers”). 

But when we think about leaders, we usually think about leadership in a specific context, to accomplish a specific purpose. This is especially true in the church when we are looking for more leaders. We want someone to take a group, a team, or a ministry and lead it to accomplish the vision for that particular ministry. Here’s one definition of a leader:

A leader is someone who leads a specific group of people to accomplish God’s specific purpose(s) for that group of people.

Each aspect of that definition is important. There is a specific group of people whom the leader is leading. God’s specific purpose implies that the group must accomplish something. A leader can lead a finance team, tech team, worship team, prayer team, discipleship ministry, or a church. 

Do you like this definition? Are there ways to improve this definition? If we were in the same room together, I would be writing on the whiteboard and brainstorming with you on this. Do you have a team that you can talk this over with to see if it fits your church?

What are the traits of a fully developed leader in your church?

Once you have defined what a leader is, the next step is to list the traits of a fully developed or fully trained leader in your church. For some, it’s easiest to start with the essential traits or skills of leaders at the highest level. For example, the pastor of a church has to be able to discern and communicate the vision of the church. This particular trait is essential at all levels of leadership. When we recruit someone to be on a team, the leader at any level needs to be able to communicate the vision for his or her team. Another example of a leadership trait is the ability to recruit others. There are many more. When completed there will be 5-7 essential traits (or skills) of a fully developed leader who is leading at the highest level. 

Ready to move forward? Start thinking through your list of 5-7 traits or skills. Make these broad enough to apply to all leaders at that level and specific enough that it is easy to give examples of what that looks like. 

~ Eric Oleson