“People respond not primarily to what you do, but to how you’re being … toward them.”
The goal of every leader is to develop people. But if you’ve spent any time in a leadership role, you know it’s not easy. That’s why there are thousands of books, seminars, and blog posts written on the topic.
If we want to cultivate the kind of authentic life change in the people we lead, there’s one thing that matters more than anything else – authentic leadership. Authentic church leadership produces authentic results – members and volunteers that consistently convey a genuine love for their work and a commitment to your vision to help you reach your better ‘how’ through ministry.
So how can we as church leaders express our genuine motives and cultivate life change? Here are a few key ideas:
- Process – your HOW – must be considered first. Process should be mapped out with a core team, which includes the people with the authority to make it happen and hold people accountable. Document the process and ask this question: If all we had were people, pencils, and paper to execute the process, would it work? If the answer is ‘yes, then you have a solid process.
- Then determine your WHY. Church leadership must articulate why their vision and new strategy matter to them, the church, and the staff. If no one knows why they matters, the strategy will fail.
- Check yourself. The first sign that you might be in danger of falling into the trap of inauthentic leadership is believing you’re not susceptible to it. The greatest obstacle to engaging a broad base of people in your church in authentic community could be that you’ve lost touch as a leader with the people you’re leading.
- Start with your staff. Your staff knows the truth about your church more than any other subgroup in your church. A church whose stated values don’t line up with the values expressed in the church offices Monday through Friday will leave staff leadership feeling cynical and limited in their ability to ignite ministry activity. Authentic community starts with the staff.
- Embrace authenticity in every area of ministry, not just your preaching. Many pastors think authenticity only comes from the pulpit. However, the weekend message is only a springboard to authenticity. Creating authentic experiences doesn’t happen in an hour on Sunday morning; it comes from adopting a mindset of authenticity in everything we do.
- Find systems – your WHAT – that support and sustain. From supporting the efficiency of a process to making sure gaps are closed, systems exist to help us do process better. This is where technology begins to enter the conversation.
- The right technology accelerates and scales your processes for growth. Everyone needs to get this – not just the ‘tech-savvy people. This is one of the primary goals to consider when evaluating technology. ‘Techies’ don’t always have the full view into the vision and processes technology must support, yet they are often the ones making the decisions about which technology is best for your church. Prepare for misalignment when you let this happen.
And once you develop and implement a leadership strategy and process, you’ll need to apply those same guiding principles to filling your leadership pipeline.
Because – if you’re like many church leaders – you may often feel like your church has more ministry to do than people or time to do it. And if you’re a good leader who values healthy ministry, you will constantly face this challenge; it comes with the territory.
While so many church leaders say they value the idea of developing more leaders, few have processes in place to implement and measure the idea.
Tony Morgan suggests, “However many hours you are paid for or volunteer, you should take 20 percent of those hours to invest in other leaders.”
But how do you implement the 20-percent rule for developing leaders in your ministry?
Here are three simple ways church leaders can implement Tony’s 20-percent rule:
- Make it a priority. When you’re faced with those overwhelming times of ministry, consider that the feeling is an indicator that it’s time to do one of two things: simplify or delegate. Tony points out that you don’t just wake up one day with a healthy leadership team. You have to prioritize it and then build new systems to make it happen.
- Equip, then ask. Growing your ministry and growing leaders work hand-in-hand. Potential leaders need to go through an intentional discipleship process before they are ever approached about taking on leadership responsibilities.
- Develop a pipeline for multiplying leaders. Leaders don’t materialize out of thin air. Determine what this process looks like for your specific church and what characteristics you are seeking in potential leaders. Churches experience exponential growth when they disciple in their community and build a leadership pipeline.
When you align your HOW (processes), WHY (vision) and WHAT (systems) with your leadership pipeline, you can directly – and positively – impact how those systems will produce the results you desire.
Dedicating a portion of your time toward authentic leadership and multiplying leaders is about more than getting rid of an overwhelming feeling. Ultimately, it’s about impacting more lives as you and your leaders begin to lead and care for those that are touched by your ministry.