5 Actions Visionary Leaders Need to Take to Engage High Capacity Leaders

I was on a call a few months ago with a friend I track with regularly.

Darryn leads a growing church that has some pretty high capacity leaders around the table.

On the call he said “I need to have a vision big enough to make high capacity leaders afraid.”

That stopped me dead in my tracks.

I loved it.

Think about it. Is there a higher or more urgent calling than accomplishing the mission of the church?

And yet so many churches limp along satisfied with incremental progress and minimal commitment. Starbucks sometimes seems to have a more urgent mission than many churches do. That just shouldn’t be true.

Here’s what I think is true:

High capacity visions attract high capacity people.

High commitment environments attract highly committed people.

The lower your bar is, the lower your chance is to accomplish anything significant.

Big leaders are not stirred by small dreams.

Here are five things you can do that can help engage high capacity leaders:

1. Become passionate about an inexhaustible vision. One of the things I love about leading a church is that the mission is never ‘done’. Sure, it’s important to celebrate milestones along the way. But as long as there are unchurched people (we have about 200,000 within a 30 minute radius of our church) and as long as people need to grow in their faith (that’s never ‘done’ either), then we have work to do. High capacity leaders love visions that are much bigger than themselves. Reaching 200,000 people will keep almost any leader energized.

2. Ask big. If you are recruiting small group leaders, asking a leader to serve every week pulls in a more committed leader than asking someone to serve 1 in 5 weekends. Asking someone to join an inner circle and engage intellectually, spiritually and even financially calls out a different kind of leader than the call to simply handout programs and smile on a Sunday. High capacity people are drawn to high levels of challenge.

3. Be innovative. As the church moves into the future, I think experimentation and innovation are going to be hallmarks for churches that are effective in reaching the next generation. Being willing to do things in different ways will attract the best minds, hearts and intellects to the mission. If you launch ventures like, say, online campuses or multisite, you will engage people who would never come to the table under more traditional forms of ministry.

4. Continually point toward why you’re doing what you’re doing.High capacity leaders want to accomplish something bigger than themselves. There is no mission bigger than the mission of the church. Remind them regularly of giving their lives to a higher cause.

5. Value input. Leaders love to be heard. You do. I do. High capacity leaders don’t always need to be right, and they don’t even need to always get their way. But knowing that their input is valued is huge. Listen as you lead.

If you’re having trouble engaging high capacity leaders, your problem might not be that you’re asking too much. It might be that you’re asking too little.

What are you learning about attracting high capacity leaders?

Do you have a vision big enough to scare people?

> Read more from Carey.

Want to know more about the kind of vision described above? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

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Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree with your 3 must-haves. I would add that the rectors have to call on every member who attends, at least once a year. The existence of a "calling commitee" is just an excuse to avoid making the effort. This is part of #3. If a rector does not like to call on parishioners, then she/he should not be a rector, but should find a different ministry. Carter Kerns, former senior warden, Diocese of Eastern Oregon and lifelong Episcopalian Tel# 541-379-3124
— Carter Kerns
comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
— Jon Moore
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks

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