3 Ideas For Developing a Leadership Pipeline In Your Church

IMG_0662You know, I have never met a pastor who does not want their church to grow. All pastors desire for their church to grow (at least I hope they do).

In order to grow and have sustainable growth, you must develop a culture of leadership in your church. You cannot simply do everything yourself and grow. Sure doing everything yourself may grow your church to 200, but I doubt you get beyond that without developing leaders around you.

The question that has boggled my mind lately though is this: If leadership development is so important, why are churches not better at it? Why is it not emphasized more in our churches?

I think it could be for a number reasons:
* We don’t know how to develop leaders
* A lot of leaders believe that if it is going to be done well, they have to do it themselves.
* We are too busy emphasizing other things and leadership development is not a real part of our strategy.

Now, you can go find a lot of podcasts and blogs about how to build leaders in your church and if you are like me, you walk away thinking, “if I only had more money, more time, or more help, then I do what they are recommending.

Well, I want to give you three ways you can develop leaders in your church a very on a small to nothing budget.

1. Develop An Internship Program

We recently launched a brand new church leadership internship program in our church.

Now, we were using interns before throughout our church, but among all of our staff, we were all managing interns very differently. Some interns were paid, some were not. Some interns had office hours, some did not. Some did grunt work, some had real ownership. Every department head managed their interns differently which means that some had a great experience, and some did not.

So we revamped our internship program so that our entire staff is managing interns the exact same way.

The internship is unpaid.

The internship requirements are minimal, but substantive.

The two primary focuses of our internship are ministry experience and leadership development.

The internship is on a semester basis so we get a new batch of interns during January and a new batch of interns during August.

What has been surprising to us is the demographic of our interns. We felt when we promoted this that it would only attract your typical 18-25 year old who is looking to get their foot in the door. It did attract some, but most of the interest was from adults ranging from 30 to 60 years of age who just want to do more for our church and to grow themselves.

This way of managing interns also allows for you to have many leaders, and not just a couple. If you want 30 interns, this program allows for it.

2. Create An Org Chart Across Departments

When we finally realized that a real weakness of ours is developing leaders, we begin to evaluate the leaders in our current organization.

What we found was that the student ministry had leaders, the preschool had coordinators, and the connections team had directors. You get the point? We were managing and developing leaders differently among departments.

So we decided to create a org chart of leaders. They are volunteers but we have the same ladder that everyone can go up on.

Now, we have unified language among departments. So now every department has directors. Every department has coordinators. Every department has leaders. We unified the way that we manage them.

This was a shift that took a few months to get to (to be honest, we are still working on it), but it was FREE and it forced our hand to add countless leaders to our team.

We also moved some up the ladder to higher levels of leadership.

This was an easy way of developing a pipeline of leaders.

3. Evaluate What You Are Not Doing That You Would Like To Do

I think the natural tendency in giving ownership away is to evaluate what you are doing that you can give to someone else.

Although this is a part of it, and I am in no way saying “don’t do that.” I do think there is a different angle to look at.

What if we evaluated what we aren’t doing that we would like to be doing and found leaders with the needed giftedness to get that job done?

What have you been wanting to get started if you just had 5 more people?

It only takes a mindset shift: Recruit to fill what you would like to start doing rather than recruit for what you are already doing. (Click Here to Tweet)

Look, I get it. Not everyone has the money to just hire and pay more people. We wish we could, but in our context, we can’t. So we have had to look at innovative and creative ways that we can develop leaders under our current structure.

If you have any other creative ways that you are developing leaders in your church or in your organization, please comment below so that I can hear about them.






Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

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