Developing leaders is actually part of the discipleship process. In the church, we are called to make disciples, not members. To be a disciple of Jesus is actually to be a “life-long learner.” As leaders we need to present very clearly the Gospel of the kingdom and the teachings of Jesus, and we show by example how to become more like him by including how to lead others as well.
If we think of our new believers, congregants and volunteers as believers (or merely students) of Christianity rather than disciples, we may miss the larger opportunity and fail in our responsibility in leading them to lead. After all, a disciple is one that not only learns and believes, but also does.
Developing leaders is critical in leadership as it is critical in the growth of the church. Many studies have shown that once churches start to become “fully-staffed” they no longer passionately solicit their members and volunteers to assume key leadership positions. New believers and members either fail to grow further as leaders, or find other churches or ministries where their desires and passions are released and appreciated.
Many church growth advocates encourage healthy volunteer-leader to staffing levels. This encourages churches to maintain strong ‘high-capacity volunteer leaders to staff’ ratios or paid staff to adult attendees ratios. As with most ratios, the absolute ratio is not the determining factor of “health,” but the trend is key.
Leaders encourage new believers to grow in their faith by volunteering their time and efforts, and also by learning to lead the various ministry activities. We coach, mentor, encourage and celebrate these efforts as a key component in an individual’s personal discipleship journey. This journey is key in the numerical and spiritual growth of the local church.
by Ken Behr
Reprint from ChurchExecutive October 2010