Is your leadership team all that it can be? Developing more and better leaders takes time and energy but your effort could potentially be rewarded tenfold.

leadership development

This series of blog entries covers the ten essential dynamics that allow a church to grow in ways that are healthy, effective, and multiplying. Last week, I talked about empowering people through coaching. This week, I am looking at dynamic #8 for healthy church growth—Cultivating more and better leaders.

Cultivating more and better leaders

Cultivating more and better leaders: Identifying, equipping, resourcing, and supporting new leaders in their personal and ministry development for the expanding work of the Kingdom 

The Dual Goals of Leadership Development

As Barnabas equipped Paul, and as Paul equipped Timothy, and as Timothy equipped others, we who are leaders are called to raise up and equip other leaders.  As we do so, we need to work on the dual tracks of raising up more leaders numerically and of developing better quality leaders. Both matter, and they play off one another in the same way raising more and better disciples does. Better leaders will raise up more leaders, and more leaders will continue raising up more and better leaders. It’s cyclical. 

Where to Start

How are we to cultivate more and better leaders? It begins with where we look. Cultivating leaders does not mean finding ready-made leaders and getting them plugged into your church. It means starting with people who are not already leaders. We are to look to new believers—and sometimes even those who are not yet believers—for those God may have gifted and called to become leaders. Sometimes you can see those skills and giftings well before people begin applying them to ministry. 

Show-how Training

After identifying those God may be calling to lead, we then need to equip and train them. Let them begin as apprentices, watching you and imitating what they see. Help them as they grow, giving them incrementally more challenge as they are ready. Observe them doing ministry and debrief with them so they understand more about what they are doing as leaders. Most equipping and training should be hands-on rather than classroom style. Apprentice leaders need to learn by doing. 

Ongoing Support

As new leaders become more competent, resource and support them. Find out what they need and connect them with resources that could be helpful to them. Come alongside them to support, encourage, and challenge them as they grow. Connect them to other developing leaders, and remind them that what they’re doing is part of something much bigger than just their own ministry. 

The Downside (but is it really?)

Eventually, if you cultivate more and better leaders, you will need to let some of them go. Almost certainly God will call some of them outward to begin new groups, ministries, and churches. Your challenge then will be to release them with grace and blessings—and to remind them that they are responsible to raise up more and better leaders themselves.  

6 Things You Can Do to Cultivate More and Better Leaders

  1. Evaluate your present aptitude for cultivating leaders—both more leaders and better leaders 
  2. Examine each step in your process and evaluate what you have to offer: identifying, equipping, training, resourcing, supporting, and releasing leaders 
  3. Consider changes and upgrades you might make in how you invest your time in this area
  4. Create a clear process for moving potential new leaders from one step to the next
  5. Maintain a consuming focus on developing leaders who reproduce   
  6. Create a strong leadership community support structure 

Listen to the Holy Spirit and take some time to assess how your church is currently doing in this area. Then identify some customized action steps you could take to strengthen this dynamic. 


The Leadership Difference– If you are running up against barriers that aren’t specifically theological but are more about how to lead people and get along with them as you work together, this is the book for you.

Leadership Skills Guides- Develop your people into leaders by meeting them where they are at and helping them take the next appropriate step. This download covers 37 skills across 6 topics and includes a leader guide and a participant guide and is meant to be worked through in a nonlinear fashion.

Leadership Multiplication Pathway- This series is a powerful system to identify your purpose, focus your ministry, become an effective leader, and multiply your mission. This is great to walk through with a coach!

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