Friday, February 11, 2011

How Shall a Church Grow Its Own Leaders?

Ask any gathering of church staff what their #1 concern is, and the answer invariably sounds something like this:

How do I get more leaders to help in our church?

I've written about it before, but it's a question that keeps coming up. Interestingly enough, it's a question with a lot of history behind it, too.

The question is not just for today's fast-paced, multiple-ministry churches. It was also being asked back in the 1920s-30s. Gaines S. Dobbins, professor of religious education at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote the following in his book "Building Better Churches":

Varied places of leadership in the church call for a variety of leaders. In the main, types of leadership may be classified in four divisions:
  • Promotional - a church has nothing to sell, yet it has that which it would commend to the people, a message and a service of supreme value. Someone must take the lead in promoting publicity, attendance, special activities, service, and good will.
  • Administrative - a church needs men and women whose aptitudes and special training fit them to take the leadership in carrying out plans which have been made and approved. Such people know how to organize, systematize, routinize, delegate responsibility, prevent failure through wise counsel, check up on results, and utilize experience in making one effort contribute to the success of the next effort.
  • Educational - leaders do not succeed by magic - they must be given continuous training and supervision. Churches need a combination of directors, teachers, sponsors, assistants, trainers, and counselors to fulfil the complex education program of a modern church.
  • Inspirational - these leaders do not form an exclusive group, but emerge in all the other groups and from the congregation as a whole, furnishing the very breath of life to the total church body. Their spirt, zeal, devotion, loyalty, and character provide and sustain much of the motivation of the church.
Dobbins also suggests four ideas about discovering and developing leaders from within the church:
  • Leaders are made as well as born
  • Leaders emerge in response to need
  • Leaders grow under the stimulation of study
  • Leaders are inspired by confidence and appreciation
Some of the words and phrases may be a little dated, but the truths behind them are rock solid and pure gold.

If you are a leader in ChurchWorld, how are you producing other leaders?

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