Has your church plateaued? People come to services, but don’t stay. Your staff seem overwhelmed, tired, and don’t carry your vision how you would like them to. The problem may be preaching style, worship style, facilities, or location. It may be time to replace your staff, replace your volunteers, or shut down ministries. Before making cuts, changes, or an overhaul, though, consider implementing a quality system of leader development.
Leader development is the expansion of a person’s capacity to be effective in leadership roles (Velsor et al., 2010). Throughout your church congregation you have several layers of leaders, whether you call them that or not. Your pastoral team, support staff, and volunteers are all leaders filling a role focused on the health and growth of the faith community. Leadership roles facilitate setting direction, creating alignment, and maintaining commitment in groups of people who share the work of the Lord (Velsor et al., 2010). Even your nursery workers, misunderstood as “babysitters” are vital to creating an environment where families receive care in a safe environment which allows them to feel at home in your faith community.
In order to implement an effective leader development system, you must consider four different perspectives: what is the purpose you want the leaders to serve, what segments of your leadership team need developed, how will the process work, and how accepting are your leaders to being developed (Velsor et al., 2010). Growing churches believe in leader development and have an intentional focus on investing into their leaders, not only for the benefit of the church, but for the healthy lifestyle of those that serve by influencing the behavior, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of individuals (Boyatzis 2001).
How can you enhance your existing leader development system?
Boyatzis, R. E. (2001). How and Why Individuals are able to develop emotional intelligence. In The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How to Select for, Measure, and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Gropus, and Organizations (pp. pp. 234–253). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Boyatzis, R. E. (2008). Leadership development from a complexity perspective. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60(4), 298–313. http://doi.org/10.1037/1065-92220.127.116.118
Van Velsor, E., McCauley, C. D., Ruderman, M. N., & Center for Creative Leadership (Eds.). (2010). The Center for Creative Leadership handbook of leadership development (3rd ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.