By Kevin McDonald
Every Sunday our church is full of missionaries whom God is calling out to do amazing things for His Kingdom. The sad reality, however, is that most pastors and churches don’t recognize this simple fact. Every weekend when I get up to preach, I see a congregation full of men and women whom God is calling to get out of the boat and into service for His Kingdom. God is calling us as church leaders to continually to equip His people for works of service and to raise up new leaders in our churches. Here are three ways to develop leaders in your congregration:
When I began as the lead pastor at my current assignment, we were winning many people to Christ. As a result, we began a small group of about 50 in our home. Most were new Christians. I sat down with this group and told them that my goal was to make sure that each of them developed and became a future leader in the church. We are continuing this process of developing these people, but to accomplish this, I had to make an intentional effort to develop them.
Leadership development doesn’t just happen. It takes a serious effort on our part. I have also sought to train our current leaders to be intentional about developing leaders as well.
Many pastors want to do everything themselves. Obviously, this will lead to burnout and exhaustion. I’ve learned over the years is to delegate as much as I can. When we delegate work to people, it allows them to grow and mature. One of the biggest areas where I have seen this in my current church is in our counseling ministry. I love to counsel people. I enjoy doing marriage counseling and just simply one-on-one counseling, but when we recognized that we have a gifted counselor in our church, we delegated our counseling ministry to her. Now every week she counsels 8 to 12 people on a volunteer basis. It’s been amazing to see the results.
I once heard a wise man say, “Don’t just delegate tasks but delegate responsibility.” When we give people freedom to spread their wings and serve, leadership development will take place. The best training sometimes is on-the-job training. I have personally seen so many leaders develop just by us giving them an opportunity.
Jesus says in Luke 10:2 that “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (NIV). Jesus tells us plainly that the harvest is not the problem. The lack of workers is the problem. Every day in our church at 10:02, we stop and pray for more workers in the harvest. As we have prayed this prayer, God has been faithful in answering. We have seen so many leaders develop just by our obedience to pray the Luke 10:2 prayer.
We saw the need early on to bring an executive pastor on board. Our budget wouldn’t accommodate this, so I began to pray the Luke 10:2 prayer. Within a few days, I was having a conversation with a retired Exxon Mobile Executive in our church about helping us on staff in this position. He is so incredibly gifted in many areas. After some conversation, I offered him the position to become our chief operating officer (basically an executive pastor). To my amazement, he accepted. Today, he serves in this position and volunteers over 40 hours per week handling administrative oversight, organization, and so much more in our church. God answered our prayer!
When we pray, God moves!
Kevin McDonald is a lead pastor Gateway Church of the Nazarene, Murrieta, Calif. He has planted 15 new churches and travels the country speaking and teaching on church planting and church renewal.