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How to Develop Effective Leaders in Your Church

By Raul Rivera

A common struggle amongst pastors is picking the right leaders. This is true for both church planters who are establishing launch teams and seasoned pastors who are looking to continually develop leaders.

It can be difficult enough to identify leaders, and it can be even more difficult to develop good leaders.

The truth of the matter is that who you choose to fill the leadership roles in your church matters.

With some guidance and wisdom from John Maxwell’s book, “Developing the Leaders Around You”, I want to show you how you can identify potential leaders in your church.

Additionally, I want to show you how to equip and develop individuals into the type of leaders that will help carry forth the dream and vision God has given you.

Ready? Let’s go!

Identifying potential church leaders

Something important to remember when considering who you will ask to serve with you in your ministry, is that you want to pick people who are best suited for the task at hand.

Although you may not feel like it, you are the CEO of your ministry and as such, it is your responsibility to implement leaders that will take on the vision God has given you.

Consider the following example:

Mark has a masters degree in history. He has studied nearly every time period. When it comes to historical topics and facts, he is like a human encyclopedia. There is no doubting his brilliance and keen attention to detail.

Now, what would you think if Mark went in for a job interview to be an accountant?

I would have to think that no matter how brilliant he is, he would never get the job. Not because he lacks intelligence or dedication, but because he is not suited for the tasks required of accountants.

This same mentality applies when considering and developing leaders in your church. Even people closest to you may not be natural-born leaders.

What is important here is to ask yourself, “What sort of leadership qualities am I looking for in people?”

John Maxwell provides a list of 10 qualities that one needs in order to develop the best leaders around them.

10 qualities of effective leaders

  1. Character: Character flaws cannot be ignored because they can eventually make a leader ineffective.
  2. Influence: What is the leader’s level of influence? Who influences this leader? Who does he/she influence?
  3. Positive attitude: One's attitude can effect many aspects of life.
  4. Excellent people skills: A great leader knows how to make others feel welcome and comfortable in their own skin. He/she can also ask great, sometimes probing questions, without coming across as being negative.
  5. Evident gifts: Things like spiritual gifting and the like.
  6. Proven track record: A proven leader will always have a proven track record.
  7. Confidence: It is a fact that people are attracted to other people who convey a certain degree of confidence.
  8. Self-discipline: When it comes to self-discipline, there are two areas to consider; how someone handles his emotions and how he uses his time in a day.
  9. Effective communication skills: Things like: a genuine concern for people, ability to focus on the responder, ability to communicate with different kinds of people, eye contact and a warm smile.
  10. Discontent with the status quo: A leader who loves the status quo soon becomes a follower.

Whether you are a seasoned pastor with plenty of quality leaders or a young pastor working to establish a launch team, I challenge you to continually assess your leaders using the ten characteristics mentioned above.

If you’re planting a church and are working to establish a launch team, click on the link below to download our free e-book - “How to Build a Great Launch Team”.

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How to equip church leaders for excellence

John Maxwell provides a few guidelines to help us understand the importance of equipping the people we are serving with and how to put it into practice.

1. Develop a personal relationship

All good mentoring relationships begin with a personal relationship. Think of a time someone may have mentored you.

Equipping potential leaders takes time and commitment.

2. Share your dreams

It is important for potential leaders to know what sort of dreams you have in your heart for the church.

This allows them to buy-in to the dream God has given you. It also helps them to know that you are a real person, their peer, and not just their leader.

3. Set goals for growth

Your leaders cannot thrive without some achievable goals. According to Maxwell’s book, there are a few simple rules to follow when setting goals for growth.

Things like: making the goal attainable, appropriate, and measurable.

This is vital because nothing can be more demotivating to a potential leader than a seemingly unachievable goal or expectation.

4. Train your people

No matter what you want to teach people, it will be best taught by being an example, by mentoring and counseling the individuals, monitoring their progress and goals, and motivating by encouraging and spending quality time together.

5. Give them "The Big Three”

According to Maxwell, “The Big Three” are accountability, authority and responsibility.

Your leaders will continuously feel motivated to grow and accept challenges as they are given more responsibility and authority. However, this cannot be done without proper accountability.

Weekly meetings and follow up sessions will play a huge part in utilizing “The Big Three.”

6. Follow-up

Factors determining follow-up includes things like: discussing the importance of one’s task, the demands of the work itself, the newness of the work, the newness of the worker, and the responsibility of the worker.

How you can develop leaders in your church

In his book, “Developing the Leaders Around You”, John Maxwell states that,

“Developing the leaders you have nurtured and equipped means making sure that they fulfill their potential for the long-term, not just while they are with you.”

This is, however, one of the hardest things to accomplish in raising a team of people. It is also why many pastors neglect to do it at all.

But if you do achieve this, then the rewards are many because you can “create a legacy of leaders who can develop future generations of leaders after you.”

Below are three guidelines Maxwell lists as a basis for continuing the development between you and your leaders.

  1. Find your potential leaders’ motivations and harness them. Ask yourself what they want, if they have a way of getting it, and make sure the rewards are adequate. Increase their motivation so that they then push themselves to become the leaders they know they can be.
  2. Be a good listener. Listening to your leadership team(s) only adds to your personal success as a leader and, likewise, to their own development. When you listen to their ideas, you give them an opportunity to increase their contribution, to feel needed, and to feel respected.
  3. Develop a plan for their personal growth. Help your leaders develop their own plans for personal growth. A personal growth plan has four main ingredients: setting aside time for daily growth, filing quickly what you learn, applying quickly what you learn, and following your plan consistently for at least one year.

Leadership starts with you!

Identifying, equipping, and developing leaders around you is not always the easiest of tasks, but it is a necessary task. Your time, energy, and efforts in developing leaders at your church will pay off.

But it all begins with you!

You must continually work on and tend to the leadership skills you have in order to lead others, and there are many ways that you can accomplish this.

One of those ways is by attending our Ultimate Church Structure Conference. This is a good opportunity for you and your church leaders to grow together.

During our conference you will experience new vision, gain insight and knowledge, receive encouragement and prayer, and be able to refresh yourself and your team in order to run the race that Christ has set before you.

If you want to participate in an easy way to grow with the leaders in your church, then I encourage you to click on the link below and register today to attend one of the conferences nearest you.

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