This blog entry is by guest blogger Steve Ogne, church planter coach and consultant with CRM. Steve and I worked together for a decade and collaborated on several projects together, including The Church Planter’s Toolkit. Steve’s most recent publication is TransforMissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World.

leadersThe church has fallen into the habit of raising leaders that cannot reproduce themselves. Most leadership development systems within churches have two parts: first mobilizing them according to their gifts, then asking them to lead other people. Yet that approach creates only a two-dimensional leadership system.

If you visualize leadership development as a ladder, gift-mobilization and leading others are two of the higher steps. But two lower– and therefore more essential– steps have been skipped over:

1. living missionally and engaging in relationships with lost people

2. making disciples of lost people

When we follow a ladder of leadership development with steps missing, we end up empowering people to lead other Christians without empowering them to live missionally or make disciples. We then end up with leaders who don’t know how to share their faith or lead others to faith… resulting in sterile churches filled Christians leading other Christians with no new disciples being made.

To turn that around, ministry needs to start with mission and not with other Christians. Leadership Development 101 is the ability to evangelize and disciple someone before leading groups or ministries. If we develop our new leaders this way, we’ll end up with reproducible leadership.

If you already have a group of neutered leaders, what can you do to reengage them in the disciplemaking process? One church I work with recently rewrote their leader job description. Now all leaders are expected to be discipling one to two people per year, beginning with pre-Christians.