Equipping group leaders has always been a passion of mine. When I began full-time ministry in 1992, I was on staff at a mission church. We had a small Sunday School of 44 people on opening Sunday of the launch; 10 years later when I transitioned to my second church, there were over 2444 men, women, boys, and girls who were members of this once small Sunday School. God did a great work. We partnered with Him and worked hard. One of the things I committed to do from the very start was to equip group leaders. For 18 years (the time I served two churches) I held weekly leadership meetings. The age-graded staff members did the same. Attendance was in the low 90% range week-after-week. Equipping took place weekly, but we also held annual training events. We also scheduled additional times of training as conferences came through the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. My two churches became “equipping machines.”
But times have changed since 1992. The position I once held on church staff, Minister of Education, has morphed. Many churches have deleted the position and are now paying the price. Other churches have simply renamed it (Discipleship Pastor, Grow Pastor, Family Pastor) and have kept it generally the same as it was when I was a full-time church staff leader. I hear it all over the country as I travel and train: most churches have no plan for training and equipping their group leaders.
Then along came the new book Designed to Lead. It is a passionate appeal for leadership development. It is a cry for excellence to be done in our churches. It is written by two men who believe that the mandate to equip God’s people to lead has been abandoned in too many churches today. Here is what the authors have to say:
Most churches merely exist to keep running their programs and services. They are not developing leaders intentionally and consistently. When leaders emerge from some churches, it is often by accident…For leaders to be developed consistently and intentionally, churches must possess conviction, culture, and constructs…Conviction is a God-initiated passion that fuels a leader and a church. Conviction is at the center of the framework because without conviction to develop others, leadership development will not occur. Developing leaders must be a burning passion, a non-negotiable part of the vision of the church and her leaders, or it will never become a reality…Once the church leaders share this conviction, this ambition must become part of the very culture of the church itself. Culture is the shared beliefs and values that drive the behavior of a group of people…Wise leaders implement constructs to help unlock the full potential of a church that seeks to be a center for developing leaders. By constructs, we mean the systems, processes, and programs developed to help develop leaders…
If your church isn’t intentionally creating a culture where equipping is valued, you’re in trouble. If your church isn’t a place where there is a conviction that God’s people should be equipped, watch out. If you’re in a place where there are no constructs in place to provide a framework and system for training and equipping leaders, it’s time to do something different.
Where to start?
- Talk with your pastor about this.
- Share this blog post.
- Buy the book Designed to Lead and read it with other leaders from your church.
- Pray for a new vision and passion to equip God’s people for works of service.
- Continue reading this blog and other sites and books that will help you lead at a higher level.