Something I haven't spent much time on during my 18 or so months as guide of this section of the Network is effective leadership. It has been my discovery over the years that effective leaders are developed especially through mentoring. For years as a youth pastor, worship pastor and lead pastor I have valued the up and coming leaders, loved working alongside them and watching them blossom into a wonderful leader themselves.
There have been times when I've had to come alongside a young person or adult and say, "Hey, I see some real leadership skills in you. Would you consider sitting down and talking about that a bit more?" They seem apprehensive and are usually surprised by the new insight. But the privilege we have as leaders and the calling is to come alongside these fledgling leaders and show them how to lead and encourage them that indeed they are gifted and are able to do so.
I use a general format for equipping leaders that has worked quite well for me over the years:
- Initial training: This is usually a formal setting with other leaders. First exposure is a more intimate setting at the church with other leaders/potential leaders.
- Ongoing training: Take them to conferences or special leader events and debrief with them to find out what they've learned.
- On-the-job training: This takes some sensitivity to particular needs of the individual leaders and adequate time to mentor. People learn by doing and so working together is the best way to learn. A good debrief afterward is essential to make sure that the learning is taking place.
- Huddle Coaching: In a coaching session a group of four to six leaders can address issues they are struggling with and often find support from each other. There is a peer training environment being laid in this type of setting.
Often leaders in the church complain (I'm guilty of the same) of the lack of leadership or the willingness to lead. I know for myself that I lead by doing and coming alongside potential and present leaders to encourage, support and train them. It is usually the case that when there is a lack of leadership it is because there is no environment or atmosphere of leadership development happening in the church.
It is essential in small group ministry to regularly assess those in the groups. I have discovered some amazing leaders through small groups. Once these leaders begin to rise to the surface, they should be apprenticed and mentored into leadership. I still use the old strategy:
You watch I do. We do some together. I watch you do. You do, I'll go do something else.
Share what you've got and watch God raise leaders.