Leadership cultivation is vital to the long-term health and growth of any church. Let’s define it: leadership development is having and executing some process for cultivating and growing gifts of leadership for the equipping of the Body for ministry.

Most churches value the ” involvement ” of the Body. However, relatively few churches have a process for involving people in ways that match them well with a ministry. We should desire more than meeting of our church’s needs through people. A better approach is to equip and release the Body for ministry according to their gifting and passion because it’s God’s desire. As we do, the needs of the church will be met. The problem with involvement fairs and things like that is they are an extremely blunt instrument for ” equipping ” the Body. In fact, no equipping is taking place. We are not ” equipping ” the Body. We are ” signing up ” the Body.

Equipping can happen in several ways. Here are three we use at New Vintage Church:

  1. One-on-one. Here, we spend time with people we recognize have a passion for a particular area of ministry. The leader of that ministry (whether staff or not) spends time mentoring/equipping the individual.
  2. Leadership Pathway. Once a month or every six weeks, we offer a Saturday morning breakfast or alternative experience where we do nothing but talk leadership with those interested in attending. It’s really helpful in surfacing people who possess the Romans 12:8 gift of leadership.┬áSometimes we read books, often we listen to a presenter, often we simply discuss. We aim it all at equipping people to lead ministries in ways consistent with our church’s mission, values and strategy.
  3. On the Job. Some types of ministry don’t need to be talked about as much as they need to be tried. For things like facilities, hospitality, etc. We might offer a 10-20-minute crash-course and turn people loose. I wouldn’t recommend this in many areas of ministry churches frequently do so: communion meditations, ” leading singing,” leading a small group, etc.

Your process doesn’t have to match ours. But, have some process. Leadership cultivation is one of the most important things we can do for the long-term health of our churches. From among those fields will come a harvest of future ministry leaders, deacons, elders, and ministers. We will also have fulfilled our biblical calling of equipping the Body (Eph. 4) rather┬áthan signing up the Body for things they may not desire and are not equipped for.

We’re just getting started at New Vintage Church. However, we view it as an integral part of our future.

Do you agree leadership cultivation is vitally important to the church? How does your congregation do it? Alternatively, why doesn’t your congregation do it?