What you say about leadership development, even in casual conversations, will inevitably impact the culture you are forming. Because how you speak of leadership development will influence perceptions about developing leaders, here are eight things church leaders should never say (if you think any of them, some rethinking is in order):
- It is not my job.
It is your job. While many church leaders are content to do ministry instead of training others for ministry, the role of a pastor/teacher is to equip others for ministry, not to do all the ministry themselves.
- It is not your job.
Leadership development must not be centralized to one group or to the “professional ministers.” The kingdom continues to expand as all of God’s people are challenged to invest in and develop others.
- It is for “the special ones.”
When speaking about leadership development, leaders must be careful not to give the perception that development is for “the special ones”—those who are considering vocational ministry.
- It just happens.
It doesn’t just happen, not on a broad scale. It is intentional, as one leader personally invests in another, passing on knowledge and providing coaching along the way. When something is said to “just happen,” it often doesn’t.
- It is distinct from discipleship.
Leadership development divorced from discipleship separates development from the Great Commission. As people are being discipled, they must be challenged to influence others. And as leaders are being developed, they must be continually discipled.
- It is for the church.
Leaders who are created in the church must be created for more than the church. They must be developed and deployed into all spheres of life. If we believe, as William Temple stated, “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members,” then all of humanity benefits from the leaders created and formed in the church.
- It is about skills.
We need Christian leaders who are sanctified and not just skilled. We must develop leaders who are consistently led and fed by Him before they attempt to lead and feed others.
- It is a class.
While you may offer courses or assignments to help develop leaders, leadership development must not be reduced to learning information. Experiences in ministry, leadership opportunities, and coaching conversations with seasoned leaders are essential.