Here at Christ’s Church of the Valley the necessity to continuously fill an increasing number of leadership needs has resulted in the development of a 6 step process:
- Leadership Evangelism
- Volunteer Leadership
- Unpaid Internships
- Paid Internships
- Part-Time Staff
- Full-Time Staff
Every ministry leader is expected to “leadership evangelize,” continuously identifying potential leaders, plugging them into significant leadership roles. The process begins with identifying individuals who look, talk, and act like leaders. This is done in a number of ways ranging from an introduction in the lobby on Sunday morning to a more “scientific” method of generating lists of people from Church Community Builder (our Church Management Software) categorized in any number of ways.
Once a person has been identified, beginning to meet with them to discover their leadership potential is the next step in the process. This is most often done with a specific leadership position or list of needed leadership positions in mind. Over the course of a couple of meetings, the ministry leader works on discovering the potential leader’s personality, passion, and if they’ve been baptized, spiritual gifts. Of course if they have not yet crossed the line of faith, working with them on taking that step becomes the focus. We refer to this process as “Leadership Evangelism,” since in a “conversion growth” setting, many potential leaders are not yet Christians.
Depending on the need and the leader’s gifting they can be plugged in at almost any step in the process. Most everyone, though, begins at the beginning as a volunteer leader. This was certainly the case with me. Long before I was asked to join the staff, I served as a volunteer leader in the Arts area. Brian Jones, our Senior Pastor, began meeting with me over breakfast shortly after that. I was a Vice President in a corporate role and –to Brian at least– must have looked, acted, and talked like a leader. Little did I know at the time that I was being “leadership evangelized!” The next thing I knew I was taking time off work to lead the the church staff through a strategic planning session or work with Brian on financial planning for the church. I had made the transition from volunteer leader to unpaid intern. It wasn’t until he asked me to lead the church’s building program way back in late 2002 that I felt God calling me to be the church’s Executive Pastor. I still remember what I said to Brian one of the first few times he talked about the church’s future need for a “business guy.” I said, “That will be a good job for someone someday. Good luck with that!”
So, the key is to identify leadership potential; discover personality, passion, and gifts; and recognize that potential through establishing a formal employment relationship through an internship program. If you have a leadership challenge you are trying to meet, don’t underestimate “the power of fifty bucks.” Hire an intern, pay them $50 a week, give them an office; computer; and cell phone, and watch them develop into a “staff member.”
Don’t underestimate how the power of giving someone “a seat at the leadership table” will motivate a leader to higher and higher levels of effort for the kingdom!
Does your church employ a similar leadership development process? Post a comment!