As a leader of your church, you plan for a lot. You plan for church-wide giving opportunities. You plan the annual budget. You plan for special sermon series. It’s the new year, so you just finished planning for Christmas and are probably already on to Easter.
But in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running a church, do you remember to invest in your leadership culture?
Leaders think a lot about reaching the lost and making disciples. But they often forget about cultivating other leaders. A healthy church culture begins with healthy leaders. As the Israelite priests were anointed with oil that ran down the head and beard (Exodus 29:7), healthy leadership flows down from the top to create a healthy church culture.
Related: Anointing and Accountability
So what does your leadership development plan look like? It should contain three parts: recruiting, equipping and caring. When you take the time to identify, train and disciple new leaders, you can be sure your whole church will benefit.
Are you always on the lookout for new leaders? The best ones aren’t necessarily the people who answer a stage announcement or a job posting. They’re the ones you identify yourself as having potential to grow into leadership with the right training.
Watch for volunteers who have a particular skill set or passion for a specific area of ministry. Then empower them to step into even more responsibility over time.
Speaking of empowering, even the most promising leaders need it. So take leadership training seriously. Spend the time and energy to teach them not just how to do a specific job, but how to lead well. Provide them with very clear direction and goals, and have a process in place with checklists and assessments you can use as you walk alongside them.
You can do this a few possible ways. If your budget is limited, offer to mentor your up-and-coming leaders or to set them up with someone else who can mentor them. Or gift them with a book or two that really helped you in your own leadership journey. And if you have the money, consider paying for them to attend a conference in their ministry field. Costs vary widely, but you’re sure to find something in your region of the country within your budget.
If you can infuse the right culture and values into potential leaders, they’ll carry that over into every life they touch. That, friends, is the start of a church driven by servant leaders.
Once you have great leaders in place, it’s not enough to switch to cruise control. Like your favorite car, they need constant maintenance and TLC to keep them running in tip-top shape! But sometimes you can miss the caring part because you’re just trying to get the job done.
So remember their birthdays and thank them with a generous gift at Christmas. Praise them often and shower them with encouragement and appreciation. (Because you know as well as they do that leadership, though fulfilling, can be draining if you’re not careful.) When you show leaders that you truly value them, you’ll create unity among your staff and earn their loyalty to your mission.
And don’t forget that a huge part of caring is discipleship. True, they might not be coming in right off the street needing a Savior, but they still need you to walk alongside them spiritually. So ask them how their prayer life has been and if they need prayer for anything. Ask them about their family and their job. Get to know them not just as a partner in the church, but as a friend in life. Model a servant’s heart toward them, and they’ll do the same for the person in the pews they’re serving.
Ready to influence your church leadership culture for the better? Take these tips and put them into practice today!