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Ten Principles for Developing Leaders


Every ministry to men needs leaders.  Unfortunately, leaders do not drop from the sky.  They have to be developed.  We must remember what the great missionary Samuel Morris said about developing leaders:
“The greatest leaders are not those who win the most followers. Such leaders are often dangerous to the institution.  They become mob leaders, demagogues and dictators.  The greatest leadership is that which creates other leaders.  Christianity depends for its preservation upon the capacity to pass on the torch of leadership from one generation to another.”
For the past 30 years of ministry I have intentionally tried to build into emerging leaders at all times because the developing of leaders is not going to ‘just happen’ but rather will take work and energy. Over those years there are several principles that have risen to the top as far as importance. Most of them deal with the culture of leadership instead of a leadership development program. The leadership culture allows people to grow and develop naturally, as God has gifted them, not how we see them. So here are some principles for a leadership culture conducive to growth:

  1. Freedom to Fail – Freedom to take risks, to do things they have not done before. Not to hold excellence up as the standard. If you want to build an equipping ministry you have to tear down the idol of excellence.
  2. Principle of “Looking” – Every leader is always on the lookout for the next emerging leader. All leaders have their eyes open to identify and invite others into ministry. Another way to say it is to Engage and Enlist. The “Big Ask.” Empower every leader to be looking for their replacement.
  3. Principle of “With” – Every leader always takes others with them when doing ministry. You cannot impact from a distance; rather young emerging leaders need proximity to real leaders.
  4. Resources – A culture where all leaders have the resources needed to grow, develop and do the ministry. We are constantly resourcing our leaders with book, articles, CD’s and other material that will help them grow.
  5. Care, Love, and Encouragement – Every leader needs to feel they are a better person because they are in leadership at your church. They feel cared for, appreciated. and encouraged in what they are doing. Treat every leader with dignity, respect and value.
  6. The “Right Fit” Principle or the “Sweet Spot” Principle – The goal is to get every leader in their passion/gift area. Leaders will know their capacity, strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Let Go of Control – People are developed in different ways and we will need to open our hands and give them space and room to grow. Honor their uniqueness by not controlling or manipulating them. Too often in the church to day we want to micro-mange men that are running multi-million dollar companies.
  8. A Culture of Renewal – Provide opportunity for leaders to hit the pause button and experience Sabbath and the renewal of their soul. This will mean providing soul care for your leaders.
  9. Reward Equippers over Doers – In a culture of people development, those who get rewarded are not the ones who ‘do things’ but those who ‘empower other people to do things.’ They see it as their role to equip other people.
  10. Develop leaders not use leaders – Help every leader become what God wants them to be and do. Training is not for the purpose of keeping the church going, but to lead ministries that will change the world. Move people from the campus to the community.

For years now these have been the core principles by which we have grown leaders in our ministry to men.

photo credit: cementley via photopin cc

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