Ten Church Strategies: The Leadership Strategy
A few years ago, Bill Hybels ‘REVEALED‘ to the church at large that they (and probably many others) had missed something important in running the church over the years. They discovered that church leaders and mature members tended to feel sidelined or unneeded in the church. That’s a very broad summary, but true nonetheless. Sometimes us pastors can focus so much on guests, new believers, and the hurting/needy in our community that everyone else could easily get bored and frustrated.
In this installment of ‘The Ten Church Systems‘ I will discuss some ways pastors can ensure that leaders stay loyal to and integrally involved in the mission of the church. If you haven’t already, I recommend you first read my ‘Getting Started Thoughts and Disclaimers’, written in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Key Sub-Systems of the Leadership System
Following are the key sub-systems I recommend every church to utilize to maintain unity and purpose among the core influencers within the church. It’s important to keep in mind that these systems should supplement ‘The Ministry Partner System (Volunteers)’.
- Ministry DNA System
Before you can release potential leaders to serve alongside you, it’s critical to affirm that they are ready for a place of increased influence and authority in the church. This is one of the main reasons why many pastors don’t release others into leadership – out of fear that by doing so, the results may one day lead to major conflict. This system will allow the pastoral leadership to evaluate prospective leaders through the lenses of the Four C’s, will provide DNA training about the church’s mission, vision, and values, and will require a commitment from the leaders to support that church mission and the direction of it’s key leaders. This system may also include standards/procedures on what to do if it is no longer appropriate for a current leader to continue in their ministry role.
- On-Ramp System
Leaders won’t naturally glide towards places of influence; they need to be asked and given opportunities. This system will determine when a volunteer is ready to move to the next level of influence in their respective areas of responsibility and how they will be encouraged into that next step. It will also include a means through which he or she can serve as a ministry coach to other volunteers or potential volunteers (apprentices).
- Ownership System
People want something to believe in; they want to make a difference. This is what motivates leaders to get involved and give of themselves extravagantly. Ownership is a key to developing committed leaders. This system will ensure that leaders have a voice in select church strategies and incentives (Note: that ‘voice’ will be based on their level of influence and will apply to their respective areas of involvement). It will also include regular leadership training and ongoing communication about new church strategies and vision adjustments.
- Support System
It can be so easy to allow productive and committed leaders to serve for months, even years, in the background with little to no support or encouragement. This system will provide consistent feedback, meaningful resources, and systematic encouragement, with the occasional public recognition thrown in for good measure. It will also provide a clear, easy way for leaders to get the help or assistance they need at any given time, should they need it. Ideally, every leader will have his own ministry coach/mentor who he/she can turn to for advice.
Note: Inspiration for the Ten Church Systems comes from Nelson Searcy and the Eight Systems of the Local Church he proposed in his free e-book entitled, ‘Healthy Systems, Healthy Church‘.