The Missing Ingredient to Leadership Development

Jesus did not tell us to “go make leaders” but he did tell us to “go make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20). If your church does not have a strong spiritual formation plan it will have a weak leadership development plan. Not every disciple will be a leader but every leader must be a growing disciple reproducing the life of Christ in others.

Leaders who are not growing disciples are simply task managers at best and at worst could be stumbling blocks for those they lead.

If you have a leader who has great influence but little spiritual depth this is a recipe for disaster. This is why churches have elders, pastors, board members and leaders who don’t study God’s word, pray, tithe, or share their faith. Leaders who are not spiritually grounded will burn out, lash out and eventually fall out of the church and take out many others with them.

Here are three practical suggestions for ensuring that you are making disciples as well as leaders.

1) Have a reproducible discipleship process that helps you identify leaders out of the harvest

Asa brand-new follower of Jesus, I had a co-worker who invested in me every day at lunchtime. For two years he answered my many questions, inspired me to study my bible and read Christian biographies, and gave me a love of God’s mission. When I became a church planting pastor, I discovered that very few people had had that type of experience and I
desired to make sure our church was going to provide it to everyone who desired it.

After being completely frustrated in trying to make para-church discipleship tools work in the local church, I decided to develop tools that were church friendly and helped assimilate new believers into the life of the church. Asking the question, “What does a fully devoted follower of Jesus look like?”

I developed a one year curriculum with these six goals or outcomes in mind:

  • Growing in intimacy with Jesus through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
  • Sharing Christnaturally with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Serving in the church and throughout the community.
  • Mentoring others spiritually through discipleship.
  • Putting God first in our finances and growing in generosity.
  • Understanding the centrality of the gospel on my life.

I felt if we could teach people how to be Jesus first in their day, week, finances, and relationship this would help them live out and within the mission of Jesus.

2) Be a “disciple” first and apastor second.

Every Monday/Wednesday mornings I had standing discipleship breakfasts. I met with men who were new in their faith or who were never discipled, we spent time studying the bible, memorizing scripture, and wrestling through the implications of the gospel in their lives.

Too many pastors are waiting for ready-made leaders to walk in the doors instead of identifying, discovering, and making leaders out of the harvest through a holistic discipleship process.

The future of every church, whether large or small, I believe is in the
harvest … future members, finances, and leaders they will all be found
as we enter into the redemptive work of Jesus.

The more successful you are at developing disciples the more successful
you will be at developing leaders.

3) Get your best people (staff, lay leaders, mature followers) investing their lives in others through discipleship.

One of the covenant statements we had with our staff and our elders is that they would invest in at least one person every year by taking them through our discipleship material with the goal of seeing those they invested in repeating the process with someone else. We need to get our best leaders reproducing themselves.

How do you keep your leaders fresh in their prayer/devotional life? Have them teach a new believer every year on how to meet with God on a daily basis. How to keep your leaders growing in generosity? Have them teach a new believer about tithing and generosity. How do you keep a leader from slipping into bad relational habits? Have them teach a new believer
how to maintain and practice biblical relational principles.

Every church needs a leadership engine. Your discipleship process is the fuel to make the engine hum. Solving the discipleship issues in your church will be the key to solving your leadership issues.

Reflection:

  • Are you as a pastor investing your life into a new believer or undiscipled Christian?
  • Does your church have a reproducible discipleship or spiritual mentoring process?
  • How many of your leaders have been discipled and are discipling others?
  • Do you have a definition of what a disciple of Jesus is and does?
  • Do you have a pathway so those who want to be discipled can be?

Relaunch Coaching Cohorts Reach 100+ Churches

Over 100 churches participated in our 4 -week Relaunch coaching cohorts.  Using Zoom, all participants gathered in a large group, focusing on insights of relaunching in light of COVID-19.

The real power of the coaching cohorts happened in smaller group settings. Each small group had a coach that facilitated discussion based on worksheets. Every church has a unique context, so each pastor was given the opportunity to work at analyzing and implementing a 90-day plan to relaunch. Each pastor developed a plan they believed would work best for their church, and in sharing their ideas created a beautiful synergy of pastors learning from one another.

Relaunch was a great example of churches being “better together,” and we are confident that the time and effort spent in this coaching cohort will have a significant Kingdom impact.

If you missed Relaunch, you can download worksheets and watch sessions on-demand on our website.

Seven Qualities of a Remarkable Citizen

In this 2-part sermon series, Gary Rohrmayer shares Seven Qualities of a Remarkable Citizen as found in Titus 3:1-2. 

Below you can download the video and notes for use in your church service. We hope these videos will encourage and empower your congregation to live remarkably in these times. 

Join us for a Prayer Gathering

“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14

B. Meyer wrote, “Whenever our life is visited by special trials and perplexities, we should withdraw ourselves from common pursuits, and lay bare our heart-secrets, so that we may learn the cause of God’s controversy with us.”

The four things the Prophet Joel calls God’s people to do when facing a national disaster is:

  1. Declare a holy fast.  Joel is calling God’s people to consecrate themselves through the spiritual discipline of fasting. Fasting is more about replacing than it is about abstaining. Replacing daily habits with times for focused attention on God’s word and prayer. Fasting without replacing is nothing but a simple diet.
  2. Call a sacred assembly.  One of the great gifts we can give to the Lord is our time. Joel was calling the people of God to give of their time to feed on God’s word and to pray together with God’s people. Remember, the effort that took place for people to gather together in those days was daunting and sacrificial.
  3. Summon the elders and all who live in the land.  Joel wanted the leaders of every family to come and represent them before the Lord. Who is on your prayer list, and who are you representing to the God of mercy?
  4. Cry out to the Lord.  This is not a sweet bedtime prayer but a soul-shaking prayer for God to relent and move mercifully on behalf of his people. David voices such a prayer, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2).

Remember Joel’s call to prayer and fasting is all in the context of repentance. “Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God” (Joel 1:13).

A.W. Tozer wrote, “Repentance isn’t only sorrow for past sins, it’s also a determination to now do the will of God as He reveals it to us.”  

So, pastors let us show God our determination to do his will at all cost during this global crisis.  Will you join me for a day of fasting, a sacred “zoom meeting”, representing your church and our community as we collectively cry out to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are inviting all of the pastors, staff, and lay leaders of Converge MidAmerica churches to join us on Tuesday, June 9, for prayer and fasting as we go to God and cry out for mercy.

Please register here to receive the Zoom link in your inbox; we’ll see you on June 9 at 2:00 pm CST.