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LEADERSHIP LADDER

Much has been written and said about leadership development. How do you move people up toward more and more leadership capacity? Several churches use a leadership ladder to show a clear path of how any church member can get involved and as they grow accept more responsibility. First, there has to be a way to connect them to ministries. These have been referred to as a “First Serve” where they can kick the tires of a particular ministry and decide whether or not it is a fit for them and their gifts.

Whatever you decide to call it, you must have a ministry placement system in place. When people come into a church they need to find a role, a place of service, where they can contribute. Here are a couple of values to have in place that will help you in this process. First, no one should lead who does not first serve. This is handled by exposing them to different ministries, allowing them to participate as a member of a particular team, becoming an apprentice to a team leader, and then eventually developing into a team leader themselves.

The second value is to not give anyone a position or title until they have been given a particular project and completed it. In Ephesians 4:1 we are told to “walk worthy of the calling you have received.” The word worthy there refers to balancing the scales. An example of this value would be getting paid because you earned the salary you made. We live in a society where far too many people want a paycheck but do not want a job. Be very careful of elevating people in leadership too quickly who appear more interested in a title than they do a job.

The different levels could be first serve, team member, team leader, coach, director, and then staff. For example, if you follow the Pareto Principle, 20% of the people do 80% of the work, you need to think of whom the 20% are to oversee your ministry. If you have 200 members then you would need at least 40 team leaders, 10 coaches who pour into the leaders, 2 directors who help and equip the coaches, and then staff to oversee the directors. This would fit the model that Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, gave to him.

Here is another important value. If you want more out of your team then you will have to put more into them. How are you equipping them and resourcing them? Who is making sure that the leaders are being mentored, nurtured, and developed? If we are not careful, they are left to take of themselves spiritually and practically. The coaches help to check in on them and find out what they need to help them be successful. This could be calling a small group leader, Sunday School teacher, and asking a couple of questions. How did it go? Is there anything I can help you with or get for you? And then ask them how you can pray for them.

Everyone needs to know that they are being thought of, cared for, and held accountable. Even in the area of pastoral care, the pastor must remember that it is not his responsibility to care for every member himself. However, it is the pastor’s responsibility to make sure everyone is cared for. The best way for this to be accomplished is with a team concept. This is why small groups are so important to make sure that everyone is being cared for. The small group leader is the “first responder” to those in his group and the coach is the “first responder” to the needs of the small group leader.

This can also be seen in church planting where an individual has the gift of evangelism. They are excellent at drawing people to themselves and begin building critical mass as people are drawn to them and want to be a part of their vision. But this passion can energize the new group only so long until people begin to wonder what the game plan is supposed to be. The evangelist, if not careful, will have a great pep rally but be without a game plan of how to move forward as a team in the future. The evangelism gift is needed and necessary but other team members are required also.

The second level is the one who has entrepreneurial abilities. They can come along side of the evangelist with a plan and systems that will better enable them to sustain the relational capital they have gained. The entrepreneur has a plan and knows what to do when someone says “yes” to the gospel. They also have a plan for the next steps of spiritual growth in every stage of the disciple’s journey. They are vision casters who also know how to carry the vision forward if everyone shows up who has been invited to be a part.

The next level is the equipper who has an eye on training more leaders and has a plan for leadership development. They have an eye out for the overachievers who are always looking for the next step and asking for more. The equippers focus on releasing leaders – not keeping them, investing in leaders – not saving them, and sending out leaders – not holding onto them. The equipper is looking for those motivated not only to be learning but who also have a desire to teach and train others. Always be looking for those who are receptive and hungry for more. They just cannot be satisfied with the status quo.

Level four is the one who empowers others. They see themselves as facilitators of those who have a passion and purpose that is driving them. Their heart is to see others accomplish more than they ever did or could. They focus on movement and helping others to multiply. Their heart is to give away everything they have and know while not desiring any recognition or credit. They love mentoring, coaching, and discipling equippers. Their role won’t make them famous but that is not their motivation anyway. They can visualize a two to three year process that gives them the tools needed while building their character simultaneously!

Leadership ladders are designed to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches!

3 Steps to Multiplying Multipliers

Multiplying

In our pursuit of leading multiplication (see Acts 6:1,7), churches must dedicate themselves to providing a healthy environment for followers of Christ to become leaders by providing support, encouragement, and accountability.  Here is the question; Does your church really want to be a church on mission with Christ?  “Missional living is about being Jesus to everyone everywhere.  Every Christian has been sent on mission by Jesus to be Jesus!” –Dr Dave DeVries

In the Multiplication Workshop Dave puts it like this:

  • If you can’t reproduce disciples, you’ll never reproduce leaders!
  • If you can’t reproduce leaders, you’ll never reproduce churches!
  • If you can’t reproduce churches, you’ll never see movements!

How does a church transform from a church that is not multiplying disciples to one that is?

First, it is about motivation.  

Are you satisfied with not making disciples?  When we repent for our lack of burden for the lost there is a sudden burst of energy to share our faith but all too often it is short lived.  It is like exercise when an individual decides to get in shape and begins to do what is necessary by joining a gym or buying a pair of running shoes, but many times it does not last if the individual has no one for support, encouragement, and accountability.  Why?  Because God never meant for us to change alone and motivation diminishes when left to itself. 

Second, it is about association

Transformation does not primarily come from classes, seminars, books, or large-group ministry events (which are informational), but through significant relationships that influence us and support us in our effort to be like Christ.  A church or a follower of Christ says they want to change but unfortunately before long it is back to business as usual.  To develop spiritual behaviors and habits requires doing the right thing enough times that it becomes instinctive and that requires not doing it alone.

Change is a team sport.  The fact that we are made for relationships is so deeply encoded in us that no individual can fulfill the call of God on their life without other people.  People fail to change because they fail to draw on the resources God has provided.  Tony Stoltzfus says, “Personally, I’ve reached the point where I don’t even try to change a habit on my own any more—it simply wastes too much energy.”  The point is that one must become two, two becomes four, and then multiplication can become a reality.

Third, there must be application. 

It is not enough to talk about multiplication; it must happen because lost people all around us need Jesus.  The lowest common denominator in the multiplication formula is the disciple.  Cows make cows, cats make cats, and disciples are to make disciples.  It is not just making disciples but it is making disciples that make disciples that make disciples.  Multiplication cannot be proven until the fourth generation and maybe this is why some churches are in trouble because somewhere along the journey they stopped making the main thing the main thing; Biblical discipleship!

Remember that multiplication is for every child of God not just the pastors, deacons, elders, church staff, and the spiritual elite.  Whether you start with the crowd working towards discipling a core or you begin one on one, Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!”  If all of us would become passionate about making disciples then we would multiply.  Where does multiplication begin?  It has always begun and still does with the lowest common denominator; every disciple! 

If God has motivated you to change find someone to walk alongside of you and pray that you will become two and then four and then eight and watch multiplication occur.  “When you commit to follow Jesus, you are saying, ‘Count me in!  I am here on earth to partner together with other Christians who are radically devoted to pursuing Christ’s mission of saving the world!” –Dr Dave DeVries www.missionalchallenge.com    

Please remember, leaders, that we will always go farther if we lead by example than if we just point the way!  Speed of the leader, speed of the team!