~ 8 proven steps for the busy leader to develop a team and reach their potential ~
After talking with thousands of pastors and church leaders on ministry teams, some of the common statements I’ve heard are:
- “I have a great team. They are great people. But I still feel like I’m doing all the work.”
- “I’ve tried to put training in place for my staff or volunteers only to have them tell me they don’t have time for it.”
- “When I talk with my team about stepping up, they think I’m critical of them.”
- “I want to set expectations and follow up when they’re not being met, but I feel like I’m micromanaging when I do so.”
- “When I describe high standards or ‘excellence’ there’s always someone who feels I’m being carnal and not in the spirit.”
Have you ever heard these statements? Or maybe you’ve even thought them yourself…
The bottom line is … you want the church to grow. And if it were easy, life would be great. But it takes work and a lot of investment.
In the first two blogs of this 3-part blog series on church growth, we addressed situations pastors and church leaders face when they feel like the church is not growing as they want it to (if it’s even growing at all).
If you haven’t had a chance to read those, you can catch up here:
You want the church to grow, and that happens when your team owns their areas of ministry, but …
How do you begin developing your team in a regular and ongoing way?
Let’s face it, you’re busy, funds are tight, and you only have so much energy. Pastors all the time are looking for ways to develop their teams in a short time on a limited budget without requiring a lot of effort.
The role of the pastor is so complex that when it comes to leading paid staff or volunteers it is easy to simply throw up the hands and say, “How in the world do I develop a systematic plan to get all this done?”
We know you cannot just hope it will happen. Those “hope” strategies fall woefully short of accomplishing what you want to accomplish all the time…
… and you cannot expect to have it all together simply by reading a blog post. Ultimately it requires intentional, consistent action that will result in long-term growth.Investing in church staff and volunteers takes long-term diligence and determination. Click To Tweet
The process I want to share with you here is exactly that — a strategy that will help you develop your team.
While some of the steps are interchangeable, I recommend you follow them sequentially. But before we jump into them, I have to warn you.
[Warning]: This takes long-term diligence and determination. It is not for the feint-of-heart. If you begin the process of investing in your team (which you absolutely should do), please avoid the the danger so many pastors face where they start off with great motivation and enthusiasm…
… and after a month or two, they fall back into the routine of everyday ministry. Intentional, consistent leadership development takes a back seat, and they’re no further ahead than they were prior to starting.
So here we go …
8 proven steps every busy leader must follow to develop their team’s potential
1. Schedule Collective Prayer Times
I wrote in part 2 about the importance of starting this entire process off with prayer. In your private, personal time with God, set time aside to pray with specificity for each individual by name. This must be a regular and ongoing part of your personal prayer routine, and many pastors do this.
However, collective prayer time is a piece that frequently gets lip-service or cursory attention at the beginning of meetings. That is not what I am suggesting here. I recommend you set aside specific quantities of time for you and your team of leaders to pray together. If you want your team to grow, it has to start with prayer.
If you have paid staff, spend an entire day praying together once a month. You must lead and guide this time, breaking it up into segments that keep it flowing throughout the day. While it might feel hard to “lose” an entire day, you cannot truly lose by devoting an entire day to God.
If you have volunteer staff, craft a meaningful time of prayer together in any of your leadership trainings. Then do something with them two or three times a year where all of you come together for a guided time of prayer for an hour.
Take a look right now at the upcoming quarter and schedule three specific times to come together for prayer.
(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)
2. Schedule Leadership Development Time
This can seem very routine but you cannot overlook the importance of this simple act of scheduling leadership development with your team. Even 15-30 minutes tacked onto a staff meeting is a good start. Then you can increase that over time once you get in a groove.
These regular times together will give you a checkpoint to measure progress and will help your team keep leadership development at the forefront of their minds.
Now… you might say, “I cannot afford the time to do this.” And that’s understandable, because it will require some time. But they way I look at is, you cannot afford to NOT do this. It has to happen!
We established in the first blog of this series that everything rises and falls on leadership. The church’s growth is directly related to the leadership’s growth.
So… want to see the church grow? Get this on the calendar asap!The church's growth is directly related to the leadership's growth. Click To Tweet
3. Cast Your Vision
Proverbs 29:18 tells us “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You as THE leader must chart the course for those you lead.
During your first scheduled leadership development time, talk about the near, mid- and long-term futures. Help them see the investment you want to make both through collective prayer and leadership development. Talk about how it will benefit them individually and the church as a whole.
This will subtly set the stage for you to challenge them. Some may long for this type of investment. Others may dread it. In either case, when you share the vision you’ve communicated how individual growth is a necessity to the church’s growth. If they don’t want to grow then they’ll eventually hop off the train. But most people will embrace it because that’s where the excitement happens.
After you’ve shared the vision of what you’d like to see happen, you need to have them…
4. Identify A Leadership Barrier
Your team members need to identify a barrier in their leadership they need to break through (i.e. an area to grow in). It may be one of the 8 leadership barriers, or it may be something different. The key is to find one area in which the team member can grow.
When people start making changes, it’s hard to change everything at once. It’s just too overwhelming for people, so they’ll revert back and tell themselves, “I’m not capable of making changes. It’ll be easier to stay the same.” And they’ll settle in where they are at…
… but that cannot happen if you want your team and the church to grow.
Help them identify the top barrier that, if removed, would help them more effectively lead.Where there is no vision, the people perish... Proverbs 29:18 Click To Tweet
5. Identify 2 Specific Actions to Overcome That Barrier
For every barrier a person has, there is a way to overcome it. Sometimes it is low-hanging fruit that’s easy to overcome. Other times it takes a good amount of prayer, diligence, and discipline.
While you as the leader may immediately know how they can overcome their leadership barrier, you want them to identify the actions necessary. It is a lot easier for people to make progress when they come up with the action steps rather than being told the action steps. There’s a greater sense of ownership in this scenario.
6. Help Them Articulate Their Obstacles
The first key here is to articulate. In other words, it’s helpful for them to actually verbalize the area in which they seek growth. Now this may not happen in a staff meeting or your leadership development training, but it may occur in a one-on-one follow-up.
You could also have them email it to you if you have multiple people you’re doing this with. In either case, the point is you want them to be able to express the leadership barrier they’re trying to overcome.
Additionally, you want to help them express the obstacles. People have leadership barriers because there are obstacles that get in the way of the growth. So people have to figure out what those obstacles are.
Leadership Barrier: You have to approve all decisions
Action Step #1: Write out which tasks only you can do and which tasks can be delegated.
Action Step #2: Delegate one responsibility.
Obstacles: Fear it won’t get done right; Loss of control
7. Start Making Changes
Growth won’t take place in a person’s leadership if nothing changes. And nothing will change if a person never starts. Every day this gets put off is another day of the same ol’ thing, but you don’t want that since your team’s growth directly ties to your church’s growth.
One of the best ways to implement this is to model it. Do you show your team the changes you’re making in your leadership to be more effective? Are you even making changes in order to be better?
As your team makes changes, show them how they don’t have to make all the changes immediately or else they’ll likely fail. You and they have to commit to the process. This is a journey. Stay on the path, and your team will finish the course well.
8. Select the Right Leadership Material
Most pastors don’t have the time and energy to come up with leadership material to talk with their team about. But it’s clear that investing in your team increases everyone’s leadership capacity. You need to invest in you, and you need to invest in them.
Consider studying a book together that is germane to that which you as the leader feel is critical to advancing the team and/or the church. Sometimes the book can be deeply spiritual in nature, but frequently it centers around best-practices in growing leadership.
Some leaders prefer joining the Leaders.Church Membership Site, where teams can watch the material together and immediately interact on it.
The point is this … you have to choose something to use for regularly training your team (unless you come up with your own material, which most church leaders don’t have time to do).
(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)
Sounds like a little work, doesn’t it? It does take work, no doubt. But remember, your job is to equip people to do ministry (Eph. 4:12). To equip them you need to invest in them.
Your job is not to do all the ministry yourself. If it’s completely dependent on you, the church can only grow so far. But when you raise the capacity of your team of leaders, the sky is the limit! You have the potential to reach even more people with the gospel.
This regular and systematic development process for your team requires your undivided attention. You cannot put this in place and walk away from it.
You have a lot of things demanding your attention all the time. However, if the process is going to work where your staff and volunteers develop in their own leadership, it needs time and repetition. You are THE leader to make this happen!
Now you still may think …
Yes, I agree but where will I actually find the time to do this?
It’s one of the big two for every pastor and church — Time and Money! So assuming you have all the money you need… 🙂
… it is legitimate to pose that question. Where will the time come from?
Never mind Sundays keep coming around demanding a sermon every seven days. And of course, no one on your team ever has to be told twice to do something. Stuff – Stuff – Stuff! It keeps getting in the way. And interruptions? Ha!
In our next blog post, I’m going to share the solution to dilemma. There is an exact answer that I think you’ll love because it is comprehensive and it is simple. Stay tuned!
Did you miss part 1 or 2?
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