“Leadership Pipeline” remains a popular buzzword in business and ministry, and for good reason. We do need to be developing leaders at all levels of our organizations. Active, growing, thriving organization cultivate leaders in order to fill new positions, replace leaders due to attrition and for succession planning.
Churches in particular have a need for leadership development if they are to be successful in continuing the model given to us in scripture by the first century church. It is the body of Christ, the Church, the congregation, that is to do the work of the ministry. Pastors and staff lead ministries, but we are all part of the body and to be doing the good works that God designed us to do. This is the reason that spiritual gifts are given and natural talents are bestowed upon each of us. Is a body just a head? No, the body is made up of many parts, each working in their own way in unity with one another.
So what does this have to do with leadership development?
Too many times we see churches invest energy in systems for leadership training but neglect processes for leadership deployment.
The problems with this method are not generally seen right away. A church can have an active leadership development process which seems to work for a while, but then a surplus ends up being created. It could take years depending on the size of the church, but at some point supply exceeds demand.
Of course, this isn’t exactly true. More leaders are always nended, but if the deployment is mismanaged, an assumption arises that the demand isn’t there.
Proper training and proper deployment are two sides to the healthy leadership pipeline process.
What do we do with talented, gifted people once they have been trained and queued in your Leadership Pipeline?
1) Identify all the ministries of the church.
I mean everything: worship team, Sunday morning worship service behind-the-scenes folks, children’s ministry, student ministry, Sunday School teachers, first impressions and on and on and on. Your church could have 50 or even 100 or more ministries when you really start counting everything you do. You should have a physical (digital) list.
2) Define every role.
Once you know everywhere that you need people to serve then you need to define what earch particular job within each ministry. Yes, we’re talking job descriptions. If you don’t know what the job is how can you effectively fill the position with the right person? As a part of that job description process you need to include the spiritual gifts that would best fit (this will be important later).
3) Advertise the need.
Once you have a complete list of all the jobs that need to be filled in the church and descriptions of the right people for those jobs then you need to make it known. Ideally, this would be a part of your website, but at the very least it should be available in some form to anyone desiring to serve and going through your leadership development process and/or membership classes.
4) Intentionally connect the right people with the right positions.
This finally brings us back to the beginning. Now, when you have leaders finishing a course of study to lead/participate in ministries in your church they can get plugged in. Just seeing a list of service opportunities may spark something in someone that they didn’t even know was there. But the best deployment practices integrate the unique giftedness of the trained leader with the unique need of a particular ministry. Fredrich Buechner said, “vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets with world’s deep need.” Apply this philosophy in your Leadership Pipeline deployment.
So don’t let that bottleneck catch you off guard. Don’t build a Leadership Pipeline to nowhere. Get started. Inventory your ministries and be ready to find the right fit for everyone.
Need help designing and building the right Leadership Pipeline process for your church? In all points of the process, The Malphurs Group is here to serve you. Contact us today to speak with a consultant.