Advance the Mission by Developing Leaders

Darren HalesAll Enews, Strengthening Team

As I interact with pastors, I often see the weariness in their eyes of advancing the mission of the church with little to no team. As we discuss the value of investing in others, the key factors are often time and quality control. It’s true that it takes more time to equip and develop a team than it does to do it yourself, but the benefits are exponential. It’s also true that pastors feel pressure for the outcomes of ministry, and they are convinced they can do it better; but that mindset is so limiting. It means your impact will always be small and it will always be centered on you. Let’s be honest, pastors like to feel appreciated. We often equate busyness with effectiveness in ministry, but busyness doesn’t always have a positive outcome. Sometimes we also seek to prove our worth through busyness in ministry, but this busyness mentality often leads to ministry burnout and diminishes kingdom advance.

Scripture is full of examples and exhortations to equip others for works of service. Jesus modeled this and unleashed his disciples. Moses finally recognized his need to involve others in his work after being admonished by Jethro. Paul built a network that co-labored together to plant and strengthen churches. How about you? Are you equipping the saints as instructed in Ephesians 4:11-12?

Developing people in ministry is an intentional choice. We empower others to fully embrace the mission of the church and inspire them to be a valued member of a team. With shared values and a passion for the Gospel, a church that functions as a team has a greater sense of joy and fulfillment. The church family is comprised of spirit-filled people with gifts and talents that are designed to edify and serve the church family. Invite them to join you. Train leaders who can lead others. Make disciples who can disciple others. This paradigm shift will energize your church family. It leads them to greater devotion to Jesus and brings great glory to God.

When it comes to developing leaders, you naturally want to select people with character and competency. Character is crucial for maintaining your unity, culture, and witness. Competency takes time. My friend Jim Misloski says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, at first.” I know that grinds the nerves of perfectionists, but the push for quality has limited the pipeline of leaders and, volunteers to just a select few. We must expand “the bench” and make space for people to grow in their skills and abilities.

Developing leaders and volunteers is an incremental process, so expect mistakes. It’s ok. Be authentic, not perfect. It’s an untenable ministry model to demand a flawless execution of ministry goals and activities. Therefore, consistently encourage and coach your team. Correction and guidance are a part of that process, but don’t criticize and bemoan. Be grace giving, while challenging and exhorting them to excellence with simple action steps. Then, celebrate the little wins. Build this mindset into your culture.  Resource the team you are building and give them authority to make decisions. Trust them. This is huge.  It builds confidence and endears people to your leadership. Provide accountability with good communication and help your team see the difference they are making in the Kingdom. These steps will yield great Kingdom dividends.

About the Author

Darren Hales

Darren Hales is the Church Strengthening Team Leader of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.