If you expect your church plant to grow beyond your own personal capacity to lead others, you absolutely need to develop leadership in your church. There are two elements to this challenge: developing people and developing the organization.
The people development side focuses on coaching relationships. Coaching relationships are the means to come alongside others and develop them in their ministry skills and personal life. If we’re going to continue to grow and expand the ministry, more leaders are a must. Our role is not to recruit from the outside, but to take each of the people already within our ministry as far as we are able to take them. If someone can lead a group well, could they lead a ministry area? If someone can lead a ministry area, can they start a new church plant? Whatever your categories, keep challenging and stretching people while providing the relational support they need through coaching.
The organizational development side is figuring out how to increase overall capacity. That means organizing as you grow and structuring the organization for further development. What works in one phase may very well not work in the next phase, so we need to continue reorganizing as the church grows. It’s not a one-time thing. For example, in a relatively new or small church plant, the pastor may start off providing almost all of the pastoral care. However, when that same congregation is at 300, such an arrangement would be unrealistic. At that point, there may be a different staff member overseeing multiple lay leaders.
If you focus just on the organization, the people don’t grow. If you focus just on the people, the organization doesn’t grow. We need a dual focus if we want to see long-term, sustainable growth across our churches.
For a complete chapter that covers both sides of developing leadership, check out my latest book The Missional Journey: multiplying disciples and churches that transform the world.