The second essential for starting new groups is developing new leaders. The most common objection I hear to starting new groups is, “We don’t have enough leaders.” So how do we develop new leaders? In the book Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work , Ken Hemphill and Bill Taylor have some great ideas about developing leaders. Here are three of those ideas.
1. Teach every believer to be in service and on mission and to multiply themselves
Teachers are key persons in multiplying leaders. Believers need to know what the Bible teaches about spiritual gifts and about serving God and others. Teach what the Bible says about spiritual gifts. Help believers understand how they are gifted. Help each one discover his or her gifts. Teach what the Bible says about our stewardship of service. Help members see that God expects us to use all the resources He has given us, including spiritual gifts, to serve Him and to serve others. Teach what the Bible says about the rewards of service. True satisfaction comes to believers when they discover the purpose for which God has created them and serve Him in that way. Teach every believer to be in service and on mission and to multiply themselves.
2. Make leader enlistment an ongoing process rather than an annual action
Too often our leader enlistment is a frantic once-a-year action to fill empty slots and then is forgotten until the next year rolls around. My experience is that a growing church must be identifying and enlisting new leaders continuously. Let’s think specifically about adult and student groups. One of the best ways we develop new leaders is to give adults and students an opportunity to serve in their group. Enlist persons to serve as apprentices, care group leaders, fellowship leaders, prayer leaders, ministry leaders, outreach leaders, or any other ministry your group might need. I’ve found you have more success in enlisting these in-group leaders if you give them permission to resign at any time and try another ministry that fits them better. This means ongoing enlistment. It’s more work, but you’ll multiply leaders more rapidly. Make leader enlistment an ongoing process rather than an annual action.
3. Identify prospective leaders and guide them toward service for Christ and His church
While this speaks generally to all church leaders, it speaks specifically to leaders of adult groups. Where do new leaders come from? Most come from adult groups. Who knows best which people have potential to be leaders? Adult group leaders should know their group members best, because they have the most interaction with those members. Let’s pray that God will raise up leaders in our groups.
How do you identify prospective leaders in your group? You give persons an opportunity to serve.
- Organize your group to create opportunities for service such as care group leaders and other group leaders mentioned above.
- Take persons with you as you engage in ministry and outreach. Give them an opportunity to see you minister and to minister themselves with support from you.
- Enlist an apprentice. This may be the most effective means of developing a new leader. Enlist someone to walk alongside you in ministry, to learn how to minister step-by-step, and to ultimately be prepared to take your place.
Identify prospective leaders and guide them toward service for Christ and His church.
Effective leaders develop new leaders. They help persons discover their giftedness, grow in Christ, and find a place of service. What are you doing to develop new leaders who can start new groups?
Bob Wood is the State Church Strengthening Missionary for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He seeks to help churches be their best at making disciples of Jesus.