In the book The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich and his coauthors articulate that as much as 70% of leadership is transferable from one context to another (the other 30% is specific to that context or industry). This means that the vast majority of what makes someone an effective leader in one context is transferable to another context.
This stat has big implications for church leaders. Why so? Why does this matter?
If you are a church leader who recruits and develops leaders for ministry in the context of your local church, this is a staggering statistic because it points to the reality that you are developing people for more than just their role at church. Viewing training at your church as “only training people for a volunteer role at your church” is too small a vision. If you develop a leader to lead a small group, to welcome guests with hospitality, or to invest in kids or students, you are not only training them for those important roles; you are simultaneously developing them for other places of influence, for the future, and for the world. Church leaders, because leadership is transferable, when you develop leaders …
1. People are being developed for other places of influence.
Men and women of character are needed in all spheres of life and the Lord sends His people into all spheres of influence. If 70% of leadership is transferrable from context to context, leaders developed in the church are developed for more than just the church. They are also developed for the other environments in their lives – their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, and their places of work.
2. People are being developed for the future.
When someone is pulled into local church ministry to do more than “fill a spot,” but to grow and develop, a future leader is created. Not just for today, but also for tomorrow. The church leaders I spend time with have one thing in common – we all started when someone invited us into an opportunity to serve, and through that opportunity we were developed. As people are invited into ministry roles, they are developed for the future.
3. People are being developed for the world.
People spend far more time outside of our church events and church gatherings than they do inside of them, so we are wise to think about developing them for more than the time they spend at church. The church does not exist for itself but for the world surrounding her, and when leaders are developed in the church, the world is served and blessed. If church leaders agree with William Temple that, “the Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members,” then church leaders can view their leadership development as an opportunity to prepare people to serve the world.