Ministry leadership is the heart of successful church growth. Pastoral, departmental and ministry leadership is paramount. However, some pastors pray that God will send them good leaders – i.e. “a seasoned saint from another church to plug into a needed position.” This rarely happens. Ninety percent of your leaders will come up from within your church; you will see them saved and you will train them.
This is the best way to develop leaders for many reasons. Homegrown leaders know your mission, passions and values. They respect you and love you as pastor. You also know them well and will not be surprised by their views six months from now. You have seen them under pressure. You know their strengths and weaknesses. For these reasons and more, your focus for developing leaders should be on those in your congregation rather than finding people from outside.
What should you look for? First, do they possess the skills for the needed position? Are they gifted in this ministry? Second, do they have any experience in this area? It would be unwise to appoint a home Bible study director that has no HBS experience. Third, do they possess leadership skills? Leadership traits can be learned, but some people are naturally gifted for leadership. Leaders lead people. They need basic people skills and a pleasant personality. Fourth, can they be passionate about this area of ministry? Passion and vision are traits that motivate others to work hard and be their best. Fifth, are they strong in their faith? Are they faithful to church, tithing and ministry involvement? Do they love the truth and are bold in their testimony? And, sixth, do they have integrity? Can you trust them? Are they loyal to you and the church?
So the next time you need a leader for a particular position in the church, first look inward at your current members. The best place to find leaders would be an ongoing leadership training program that is developing individuals for leadership over an extended period. Chapter four of Total Church Growth (order from PPH) focuses strongly on the need for leadership development. I would urge you to read and apply the principles in this chapter to your church.