7 Steps for Leadership Development

7 Steps for Leadership Development
March 28, 2017 Bob D'Ambrosio

“Who can we get to lead the evangelism committee this year? How about Sheila? She’s so friendly.”

“We just can’t get enough leaders. Seems like we’ve asked everyone in the church.”

“Do you think we can get David to oversee the worship committee this year? I think it’s his turn.”

Sound familiar?  Too many churches approach leadership development in a haphazard sort of way. They may not realize there are potential leaders hiding in the pews or even disguised as “ordinary” volunteers. The trick is learning to recognize them – and then preparing them for the leadership role God has already designed for them to do.

Leadership development begins with a plan. These seven steps will help you discover new leaders in order to release the hidden talent you didn’t even realize was there!

Step 1: Identify gifted leadersLook for people who have demonstrated leadership qualities in their home, work, and personal life. Tools such as spiritual gift inventories can be helpful to surface leadership gifts, but the best confirmation may be what you observe in real life settings.

Step 2: Enlist leaders personally—Approach potential leaders with a personal invitation to consider a serving opportunity. Make sure they understand the position and its importance. Carefully go over the responsibilities—time frame, goals, requirements. Set the bar high enough for them to realize the importance of the ministry.

Step 3: Equip your leaders—Develop a core training plan dealing with spiritual growth as well as regarding the job responsibilities. Effective leaders understand the church’s mission and vision and how their responsibility fits into the big picture. Plan ongoing training throughout the year.

Step 4: Empower your leaders—Jesus gave his disciples authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1). We must give leaders authority, a reasonable budget, training, and then turn them loose. Leaders will thrive under a permission-giving system but will often burnout or wear down under a controlling system.

Step 5: Empower leaders in significant ministry—High capacity leaders want to make a significant contribution to the kingdom and make a difference in the lives of others. Dr. Josh Packard, in his book Church Refugees, reports that the “Dones” –people who were once involved in their church and then left –communicated they were “capable, talented and driven. They want the church to draw on their assets, not just provide them with services.”  Evaluate your overall structure to see how well you’re empowering people in ministry.

Step 6: Encourage your leadersVolunteer leaders need to be encouraged. Personal notes and affirmations—both public and private—build your leaders up and allow them to enjoy their work.

Step 7: Evaluate your leadersFinish the process with an evaluation system for your leaders and their teams. How did they do on the goals set for the year? What can they do differently next year? Specific program evaluations and personal feedback will help improve leadership skill and ability.


[Editor’s Note: Contact Group’s Equipping Institute for information on how you can bring leadership training to your church. 800-267-9040.]

Bob D’Ambrosio is a 25-year veteran of frontline church ministry and now serves with Group’s content solutions team. He’s a trainer for volunteer equipping, a Refresh the Church blogger, and a ministry coach for Group U. Bob is a contributing author and general editor of the E4:12 Bible Study Series Better Together: Connecting to God and Others and Leading Out: Connecting People to Purpose.


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