If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times: “We need more leaders!” This is the cry I hear from pastors all the time. Almost every pastor I know is looking for more leaders. The problem is: they are looking in the wrong place. Most pastors want leaders to transfer from another church to step in and make a difference in their ministry, but maybe there is a better approach.
I will submit to you that you already have all the leaders you need. You simply have to develop them. This is the way Jesus found leaders, and it is the same way we find leaders. Called leaders are developed from an existing discipleship core. Think about what Jesus did. Jesus reached out to seekers and invited them to be followers. He then challenged followers to become disciples. Out of His disciples, Jesus commissioned called leaders to carry on His mission. Jesus literally developed leaders out of seekers. No one moved from another local church to become a leader in Christ’s movement.
When Jesus was ready to leave this planet, you can be certain He had trained disciple making leaders ready to go. Jesus knew His mission and movement would continue because He had led seekers to become disciples that would eventually become leaders. The men who led Jesus’ movement after He left started out as unschooled and ordinary men. In the course of several years, Jesus made sure these men demonstrated His character and his conduct. These men were living the lifestyle He lived. They knew how to lead like He led, and they knew how to leverage their influence through leaders of leaders. Jesus turned His movement over to men that were fully trained and ready to lead like He did.
I think a great example of leadership development is Major League Baseball. Major league teams spend an incredible amount of time and resources preparing potential players for the major league roster. They find potential players that have some basic strengths. They develop the players in the minor league system for several years and when they are ready, they are given a shot at playing on a major league team. No one gets into a major league lineup unless they have proven themselves. The Church could learn a thing or two from the way Major League Baseball develops players. They know what they are looking for, and they have a strategy for developing players.
The Church needs to have a clear picture of what a leader looks like, and they need a plan for developing disciple making leaders. Impact Discipleship Ministries has developed a leadership development resource to help churches develop leaders called 315 Leadership. The 315 Leadership concept is based on Jeremiah 3:15 where God says, “I will give you shepherds after My own heart that will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” A tool like 315 Leadership will take a Church a long way in developing leaders to become fully trained, disciple making leaders.