A growing organization needs a constant influx of leaders. In part to deal with assimilation of new people, and in part because some leaders will occasionally leave, often for benign reasons. Some will need a break from time to time, or move away, or grow too old or sick for the tasks as defined. But also, some of the new people will have leadership skills and abilities, and if you aren’t creating ways to include them quickly, you will lose them to someplace that will, or worse, they will sit and do nothing.
“If you don’t give a leader something to do that expresses their giftedness, they will usually sit on their hands and do nothing.” Bill Hybels
So it’s important to think early about the kinds of roles within your church that need some level of leadership, and how much autonomy that position needs, and how soon you can grow someone into that role.
Leadership pathways need to be created. The beginning is to identify the organization structure. Look at everything the church does do an audit. Create lines of Authority, who respond reports to w hom. In the beginning the leader will do helper tasks within established vet and leader. As they show themselves faithful they will become an assistant leader, under the model of watch me do it I watch you do it you do it you teach. So you watch what they do and you give them part of the job while you watch. As they show themselves competent there comes a time where they do the entire job with with observation and then the entire job without observation but they report back. This is how we train leaders. Once they are faithful in a small role, we allow we look for ways to move them into larger roles. Need to make sure that they understand this is the process of becoming a leader within the organization. For you to do this without telling them that this is the pathway will make them frustrated that its not moving fast enough and they will leave, taking these new skills to another place.
When a new person comes into the organization help them understand what your structure is. Some churches want new people to wait until they can go to a new member class. But if the person is still new and then transition, they may not have the time to fit your schedule yet. They are still operating on the new member schedule. For you to insist that they take an extra time that is already committed somewhere else before they can join up with your organization, they may be 3 or 6 or 12 months before they do anything. When you do this approach, you stifle the grow of the organization. Instead, you need a continuous flow, a way for someone to visit once join the next week strike that. Join in the work at a low level even before they have formally joined the organization.
This is a dating time, before the marriage occurs. They want to make sure that they will be a good fit. Too many churches require someone to come and sit for a while, then to become a member, then to go through a one to two month new members process, before they can start contributing to the work of the organization. Again if you have someone who is anxious to express their giftedness, you will lose them.
I say this from my experience and a military church and Europe. I moved there in January when the church was fully functioning. In May and June, the military started their summer rotation, moving on to the next military base. It bothered me that we lost a third of the membership and a half of the leadership in one or two months, but I was assured that God would provide, and in August new people started arriving. As they joined they said I was a deacon or I was a teacher or I was a choir member in my last church. What can I do here how soon can I teach? Within a couple of months they were organization was fully staffed again and and ready for the school year. This happened every year that I was there.
I remember I joined within a month and was quickly using my skills as a teacher and singles leader. The day I joined was the day that Chuck joined. He had been attending for a year but had not contributed because there was no place for him to serve until I came and begin leading the singles group. That church needed to create a space for leaders like myself and Chuck to enter into the organization. They did it well.
The city where I live now I have not found a church to do that. Perhaps that is why most of those here in my denomination are declining and ready to die, the fear of someone new coming in from a different background and reorganizing the church to a new paradigm. But there needs to be a middle ground. That’s why I use the teach/watch/do/teach model of growing leaders.