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I'm a Pastoral Resident at the Austin Stone Community Church. This is my blog about everything I'm doing and learning.

Developing Leaders

A Lesson on Developing Leaders

For the second time since last year, we got to spend a few days with a group of pastors visiting from out of town. They were here to meet with Todd Engstrom, our Pastor of Campuses and Communities, to learn more about developing and growing Missional Communities in their churches. These are my notes on what was the most helpful discussion for me; leadership.


Developing Leaders

What was specifically most helpful in this discussion on leadership was how to care for people who either aren’t fruitful in their leadership, or aren’t ready for their expressed desire for where they want to lead.

For example, if someone has a desire to lead a Missional Community, but their track record is that people simply just don’t show up or follow them, maybe they should lead in a different area. Or, the case could be that they should pair up with another leader and learn from them for a season, and then go back out on their own.

If someone isn’t yet ready to lead, it’s most loving to them to be honest, encourage them in their faithfulness, and point them to spend a season being faithful serving and under another leader. Don’t want to fully dismiss someone (unless it’s very clear that they shouldn’t lead). Want to love them well by recognizing what is there and what is lacking.

Something that was said was that you “have to help leaders find the space that God has built them to lead”. All of this was so important to me because my tendency is to discount someone if it doesn’t look like they are fruitful in what they are doing. This cast a new (and right) light on that part of me, and I believe is going to help me better love and equip people I am leading.

Instead of saying no, your word to them may be not yet, not this way, not right now.

Equipping people to lead is as much about placement as development. You don’t tell people no to leadership in the body of the church unless it’s an incredibly obvious no. What you are looking for in a leader is this: are they faithful, available, and teachable? If so, timing, placement, and equipping are the primary issues at hand.


Helping Someone Step Towards Leadership

Sometimes you have to help a leader discern their particular gifts; they may have the desire to lead, but aren’t seeing fruit in a particular area; you can either dismiss them as a potential leader, or help to identify an area of leadership that he is fruitful in.

  • Desire – do you want to lead?
  • Critical Eye – do they see areas that need growth and want them to change?
  • MC Leadership: Do you have a clear calling to reach a pocket of people in your city? If yes, then let’s go!


Fears and Barriers in Leadership

There’s a distinct problem with saints in the church not owning the leadership of ministry. For us who are leading, there are two fears:

  1. Calling people to leadership; asking too much.
  2. Correcting the saints. Giving constructive feedback, correction, exhortation. We forget that they aren’t volunteers, they are saints.

It was asked of the pastors what fear or barrier exists in you to identify, recruit, train up people for leadership? These are some of their responses.

  • Having only one avenue for leaders to lead (communities)
  • Discerning when to release your hold on something due to not knowing what may happen
  • Failing; launching something and having it die or fail
  • Working with people’s perceived busyness
  • How gospel centered are people?


Three Questions to Determine Next Steps

What do I need to stop doing to be more effective to what God is calling me to?

  • I want to stop discounting people who in my mind aren’t being as fruitful in their area of leadership.

What are the things I need to keep doing?

  • Loving and equipping the leaders currently under my care, and being more faithful myself to helping people find their area of leadership where they can be faithful.

What do I need to start doing?

  • I need to start asking more of both people who are leading, and of people who I want to see lead.
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