3 Simple Ways to Cultivate Leadership in Your Church

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. Sometimes 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 than 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?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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6 thoughts on “3 Simple Ways to Cultivate Leadership in Your Church

  1. Leadership cultivation is a great idea! In my experience organizations that grow leaders are much healthier than those that don’t emphasize it.

    Jesus poured himself into his disciples and things seemed to work out pretty well for Him.

    I love what you’re doing.