13 specific ways to increase your team's capacity and performance


13 Ways to Develop Abundantly Capable Leaders (Part 2 of 3)

~ How to develop your team’s capacity & performance and grow the church ~

This is the second of our 3-part blog series on church growth where I “open the vault” and reveal what I’ve seen after working with thousands of church leaders.

In the first post, I shared how many times churches plateau because the church’s leadership has unintentionally created certain barriers to its growth. You can read it here: 8 Leadership Barriers to Church Growth

But the question is …

What if you don’t have a team of capable leaders?

Reaching people and building God’s church cannot happen with just one person.

I have pastors tell me all the time that while they have good people around them — staff or volunteers — they frequently feel like those people do not sense the urgency to grow the church in the same way the pastor does.

They say things like:

My youth pastor just wants to “hang out” rather than develop as a leader …

My worship leader thinks their growth over the last two years is sufficient for the next five years …

Our volunteers don’t seem to own their area like they should …

When you feel like you have to frequently “hold people’s hands” it stifles the churches ability to grow, but when the capacity and performance of your team increases, your church is positioned for growth.

When the capacity & performance of your team increases your church is positioned for growth. Click To Tweet

So… how do you take ordinary people and develop extraordinary leaders? How can you bring out the best from those you lead?

Here are 13 specific ways to increase your team’s capacity and performance:

1. Pray for them.

It’s easy to get frustrated or complain when staff or volunteers don’t perform like you desire. But truthfully, have you prayed for the individuals who need growth?

The smart and savvy leader will always go to God to seek His mind on the best way to expand the world of those he leads. Ask God for wisdom on how to help them develop.

2. Encourage personal development.

Do you encourage others to continually develop? As we often hear, leaders are readers. It may not always be books in the traditional sense, but you want them continually filling their minds with new ideas and concepts that can move their ministries forward.

Forward them blogs or podcasts that you recently discovered. Talk about it during staff meeting. Show them the value of personal development.

3. Expand their network.

Some of your team members naturally network with others while some do not. No matter what their natural bent, however, your team needs to be networking with their counterparts at other churches if they are to develop as a leader.

(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)

Guidelines for church boards & pastors

4. Expand their thinking.

How far do you go with restricted thinkers? Not very.

If you really want to help your team members have an expanded world and increase their leadership capacity, you need for them to expand their thinking. Help them see the possibilities rather than the limitations.

5. Challenge them to think bigger.

Here’s the deal. Most everyone gets comfortable in their work and ministry over time.  So it is your role as the leader to challenge people in this area.

Challenge them to have bigger goals, to have bigger dreams, and to believe God can do bigger things — not just the same as He did previously. We serve a God who has more He wants to do and when your team thinks bigger, it paves the way for God to move.

6. Talk about raising your own bar.

You always have to model. You cannot expect to raise the leadership capacity of everyone else while you sit comfortably.

While leaders need to challenge others to grow, they must also raise their own leadership capacity.

7. Challenge them incrementally.

You have to make sure the bar is set just a bit over their head. In other words, you cannot expect a 23 year-old to operate like a 45 year-old. Incremental growth has to take place.

Identify where a person is on the development continuum and set the expectations just one notch higher than their current performance level. This will challenge them, but it will be obtainable.

8. Create incentives.

People love to be rewarded for doing well. Some in church leadership erroneously think, “Well, they’re doing the ministry, so the approval of the Lord should be enough.”

While that feels really spiritual, it ignores human nature. Remember … what gets rewarded gets repeated. Whether it’s a financial bonus, a special gift, or even a nice dinner, incentives have high value for increasing your team’s performance.

Always help your team see the possibilities rather than the limitations. Click To Tweet

9. Invest in their personal growth.

Now this is a point where leaders too frequently fall short. Without the investment of the leader (financial and otherwise), team members cannot always step to their potential like they would if they were equipped.

Part of your role as the leader is to invest in your team. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes resource. And yes, it’s easy to put off. But if you want the church to grow, you have to have a team that is growing.

10. Help them believe for the impossible.

If the people in you lead can only see what is possible, you have your work cut out for you. Of course, that means you need to be leading the way by living out this kind of faith-filled journey.

You want your team members to get out of their boxes and begin to see the world as big as God sees it. When that happens, you have set the stage for your church to grow.

11. Encourage risk.

Nothing big happens in life or ministry without someone taking a risk. Encourage risk-taking. The ministry of your staff or volunteers is too valuable to just sit comfortably.

But … if someone takes a risk and it doesn’t go as planned, be sure not to squash them where they never take a risk again.

12. Talk about success stories.

Tell stories to those you lead. Help them hear of one success story after another. It builds faith and helps them BELIEVE that it could actually happen to them. In fact, they’ll actually strive for it to happen!

13. Keep raising the bar.

Let’s assume in a perfect world all your team of staff or volunteers are stepping up to new levels. Once they’ve done that, some will say, “I’ve arrived.”

No one ever arrives. Once your team members arrive at a destination, the cycle starts over. You and your team must start striving to reach the next level in your capacity and performance.

(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)

Guidelines for church boards & pastors

When you think about these 13 ways to develop your team, you might immediately be thinking this is a lot of hard work. And the reality is, you’re right!

You desire to do this, but who actually has the time for it? Frankly, there’s too much ministry to be done and your time is strapped already…

… but I would argue you cannot afford not to do this.

When you increase the capacity and performance of your team, you have set the stage for your church to experience more growth than if you don’t make the investment in them.


Okay, good! So it’s time to begin, but …

How do you begin developing your team in a regular and ongoing way?

Where do you start? How much time and resource do you invest?

While you may be ready to take these good, ordinary people and help them become extraordinary leaders, it might be hard to see the path to their full development. So what do you do?

In part three of this blog series I share the exact step-by-step process to implement for development so that your team gets where you want them to be. Click here to read it now.

Did you miss part 1? Click here to discover the 8 leadership barriers to church growth.

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