Over my years in ministry, I’ve recommended many different structures be put into place to help us grow and multiply healthy churches: coaching systems, church planter training and assessment, networks/cohorts of people in similar ministry roles. Those have yielded great benefits. But one piece I still haven’t seen put into place is the leadership farm system. Of all the necessary systems for church multiplication, this is the one that’s still missing right now.
The core thing Jesus said we should be doing is making disciples. Yet we don’t see the harvest—or the new disciples who come from it—as potential leaders. What if the harvest fields became grassroots bases for raising up our future leadership? What would happen if we got a bunch of people living authentically and serving sacrificially as disciples of Jesus? What if they were to multiply disciples, raising up their own leaders from within, and launching their own missional communities. That is the ideal pool of new church planters: people who are already effective within their own group and connected into the DNA.
When the harvest fields themselves are producing the next generation of church planters, that’s when we have a truly reproductive way to think about leadership development. Think about it: Who has been fruitful at a grassroots level within your ministry? How could you invest in and develop them?