My friend Che Chowan from Church on the Rock in Ocho Rios, Jamaica (yep, that’s me and him in the pic, taken at a recent seminar I did in Florida) sent in this question from the Ask Nelson button on the right —->
Do you personally disciple a group in your church for leadership
development, outside of your staff? If so, what does that look like?”
Short Answer: I used to, now I focus almost exclusively on staff development.
Long Answer: I believe you need to be developing leaders at all levels of your church. Here’s how the flow works (in an ideal world. Unfortunately, that’s not the world I live in, but this is what we try to do):
• I develop myself
(If I’m not growing, its doubtful anyone else will be)
• I develop the staff and teach them to develop themselves and others
The staff then takes responsibility to develop the following (with my help):
• High Capacity Volunteers
• Regular Volunteers
Right now I focus primarily on the staff although I do leadership development with High Capacity Volunteers at key gatherings (such as Growth Group Leaders Training) but month to month this is done by our staff, mainly through reading and discussing books together or going to events like The Leadership Summit.
We try to do a little bit of Leadership Training each week with our regular volunteers before they begin their weekly volunteering or through scheduled emails that highlight certain leadership skills.
If you are leading a church of 250 people or less then you may have do leadership development with all the levels above. Beyond 250, you have to share the leadership development process.
One last note: I think of leadership development as ‘helping people be better people’ (core leadership principles, time management, etc.) and I think of ministry development as ‘helping people do their ministry job at church better.’ You need both but this question was about developing leaders. Make sure each gets the time and focus needed – don’t try to do them both at the same time.
Thanks for the question Che!
If you have a question, send it my way. I’ll do my best to answer it.
P.S For more on a proven system to develop yourself as a leader, check out my “Developing A One Year Personal Growth Plan.” Growing churches are led by growing leaders.
Last Saturday, while Kelley and I were in Los Angeles, I was able to meet one of my Church Growth Heroes – Charles (Chip) Arn of Church Growth, Inc. He and his wife Ann were gracious enough to share dinner with me and Kelley at Kate Mantinlini’s in Beverly Hills (yep, we were living it up!).
Win Arn, Charles’ father, was one of the founders of the Church Growth Movement in America and he has greatly influenced my thinking about church. I’ve read everything from Win and Charles that I can find and I always discover something helpful.
Here’s some of my favorite books:
- The Masters Plan for Making Disciple by Win and Charles Arn
- How to Start a New Service by Charles Arn
- How to Grow a Church by Donald A. McGavran and Win Arn
(you’ll have to find it used, its out of print)
Part of our conversation was how ‘church growth’ is a watered down phrase and is often derided term in many circles today.
Chip responded that one of the reasons Donald McGavran (the founder of the Church Growth Movement) and his father, Win, went with the term ‘church growth’ in their initial writings (over 40 years ago) was that ‘evangelism’ had become such a watered down term in many circles.
So what term should we use? I still prefer to use ‘church growth’ and ‘evangelism’ but I’m always open to the term that best communicates to today’s leaders (as long as it retains the heart of reaching and disciplining people in the most biblical and effective way possible).
Chip, thanks for the time over dinner!
P.S. For today only, in honor of Chip Arn, I’m going to give away a copy of my “Starting A Second Service” resource – use the Ask Nelson button on the right to request your free copy (I’ll send you the details by reply email). This offer is only good on April 29, 2008. After that, you can pick it up here
This weekend Kelley and I had a little get away in Los Angeles. On Friday we drove down to Orange County to meet friends, visit Saddleback Church (where I was on staff for a couple of years) and check out our old neighborhood.
On this trip, I was reminded of a thought that’s been bouncing around in my head for several months. I’m not sure that its original with me but here it is:
Leaders have a small rearview mirror.
By this I mean that leaders spend only minor time looking back and major time looking forward.
Looking back has advantages:
* To learn the lessons so you don’t repeat them again
* To get better
* To be grateful for how God has worked in your life
and many other benefits. But overall, a leader should spend minimal time in the past. I’ll try to expand on this in the future, but I welcome your feedback.
The bottom line from last Friday: Kelley and I had a blast revisting our old neighborhood, visiting old friends and rehearsing old memories. We are grateful for the time we spent in SoCal. But our focus is really on the present and the future. As we drove back to LA, we prayed and thanked God for what He is doing in our lives now and spent some time dreaming about what the future might hold. New York City is our present and our future.
A rearview mirror is a great tool but if you want to get somewhere you’ve got to keep your eyes chiefly on the road ahead.
“There are risks and costs to a plan of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” — John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
What action do you need to take this week (maybe something you’ve been putting off until conditions are perfect) that will benefit you, your church and your community?
“Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.” – Acts 16:5
When I read this passage in Acts it struck my with the power of its’ clarity. These congregations that Paul and Timothy visited grew BOTH stronger in faith AND larger in size. Those are the questions I need to regularly ask about The Journey Church.
- 1) Are the people who attend The Journey stronger in faith than they were 6 months ago?
- 2) Is The Journey larger in size than it was 6 months ago?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then something (maybe everything) needs to change.
Jay Curlee in Corpus Crisiti, who works with my friend Bil Cornelius, got me thinking about systems today (its not that hard to do – ha! I talk, speak and write a lot about church systems as most of you know). Here’s what he asked:
“Progress demands change. It demands a leader who seeks to push through the chaos of change as they drive to the next level. What process should you be challenging right now?”
There are at least three times when you need to courageously challenge the systems of your church, they are:
* After a ‘season of growth’
* During a ‘season of stagnation’
During each of these times we to challenge the systems in our church or else atrophy will set in.
It’s easy to challenge the system during ‘stagnation’ and ‘testing’ but the hardest time to challenge the system is following a ‘season of growth.’
But ‘a season of growth’ is the most important time to challenge, re-evaluate and revision because if you don’t you’ll enter a season of stagnation by default.
Challenging the systems doesn’t mean that you change the Eight Systems of A Church but it does mean you innovate from within, re-evaluate the staffing of each system and imporve the systems so they can take you to the next level.
For a great resource on ‘challenging the systems’ from a non-church but yet critical leadership perspective, see The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner
P.S. I just finished a new special report with my latest thinking on Church Systems, its tentatively titled “Healthy Church, Healthy Systems.” I’ll be giving it away right here on the blog in a couple of weeks (I know, sorry for the tease, but I’m very excited about it!). In the meantime, you can listen to one of my most popular podcasts on Church Systems by clicking here.
If you’ve listened to my Developing A One Year Personal Growth Plan resource then you know I’m a big fan of pulling away. Pulling away for a time of relaxation, recovery and renewal. There are several key times to pull away, including:
- Every week (your sabbath)
- Every year (your vacation)
- After a busy ministry season
This last one is what I’m doing. We’ve been running hard without much of a break since well before Easter so Kelley and I are pulling away for a five day weekend. We are heading out to Los Angeles and the grandparents are keeping Alexandar (who is almost two years old btw).
I’m flying from JFK to LAX at 7:30pm today on Virgin Atlantic. It’s a brand new airline in the area that promises to overcome some of the many challenges facing fliers like me and you (larger seats, better service, less stress, electrical outlets in the seats and wireless internet access coming soon). So far, I have to say I’m very impressed with the treatment I’ve received! I’ll let you know how I feel after the 6 hour flight.
Big Question: When are you scheduled to pull away? By yourself? With only your spouse? With only your family? You gotta pull away sometimes (if I recall, even Jesus modeled it!).
Gotta run, I’m going to go pull an “Aladdin Factor” and see if I can get upgraded to First Class . . . you don’t know if you don’t ask!
Thank you to the 62+ people who were part of today’s Fusion Webinar. I had a blast being with you. We received over 370 questions! I’ll try to answer as many as I can on the blog in the near future (hopefully some of them will be the same question!).
For those on the call today, here’s a link to the Connection Card Script we mentioned (just right click the link and choose save as, its a Word Document)
Finally, if you missed the Listeners Guide, you can get it here too.
Over 40 states were on the webinar plus four candaian provinces and three international locations.
If you’d like to do another one let me know in the comments box.
P.S. Here’s the feedback survey, we’d love to get your input on the overall experience:
I listen to my own sermons. It’s painful, but I do it. I do it because it helps me become a better speaker (late at night it also helps my insomnia).
Church Leader insights is about about to release a Sermon Series Kerrick Thomas (our Executive Pastor) and I did at The Journey Church entitled “Fully Engaged: The Power of a Committed Life,” and last week I was listening to the messages.
As I listened to the message “Fully Engaged in My Church,” I was reminded what I dream about. In this message we challenged the people at The Journey to be fully engaged in our church by taking five actions:
- To take responsibility daily for my spiritual growth.
- To practice contentment in all areas of my life.
- To serve one hour a week in my church.
- To invite one friend a month to church with me.
- To bring the full tithe to God each week.
That’s what I dream about. A church filled with people constantly becoming more and more engaged in our church because they are living out these five commitments. We can’t make people become more committed, but we can dream, and we can work, and we can challenge them in clear and specific way to take steps each week to become more fully engaged.
“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” – Colossians 1:28-29
I stole this headline from my friend Bob Franquiz (Advanced Coaching Almuni and all around great guy – but don’t tell him I said so). Bob was our featured speaker at a recent Journey All-Staff meeting and he spoke about the important of baptism. He said:
Baptism is what separates fans of Jesus from followers of Jesus!
I stole that line yesterday (Sunday, April 20) and used it at our afternoon Baptism. 28 people took the step! We baptized for almost an hour with two impromptu baptisms (where someone decided at the last minute to step up and be baptized – one went in fully clothed!).
I love being a pastor of a local church!
P.S. If you would like a free baptism video from The Journey just email me under the About CLI tab above or use the Ask Nelson A Question link on the right under my pic and make your request. Be sure to include your mailing address.
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