God’s hope for the world is the local church. The local church is His Plan A, and there is no Plan B. God’s agents of implementation are the people of the local church. New believers, volunteers, lay leaders, church staff members, and pastors are all called to fulfill the Great Commission. Christians are not just called to be disciples but are tasked to make disciples. We must never forget that God didn’t just save us from something. He saved us for something.
Paul lays the groundwork for church leaders in Ephesians 4:11-13: “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”
These verses remind church leaders that our work is the development of God’s people under our care. Nothing is more sacred or more strategic in His kingdom than this responsibility to equip others to serve in ministry. God did not intend for His church to be a community with a gifted pastor and staff members but to be a community of gifted people.
An inextricable connection exists between discipleship and leadership development. They are two sides of the same coin. One side is character, and the other side is competency. The Great Commission calls us to develop, not just do. We must make disciples, not just be disciples. We must build an army, not just an audience.
The majority of church leaders express conviction regarding the importance of leadership development, but few actually do it. Four main barriers stop them.
- They don’t know how.
- They don’t have time.
- They don’t have a framework.
- They don’t have the resources.
There is a solution: developing a leadership pipeline. A pipeline is a system and structure that churches of any size can put in place, a culture of developing leaders at every level. A leadership pipeline isn’t a silver bullet or a quick fix or a magical growth strategy. It’s something that churches of various sizes and politics implement to help both the leaders and the congregants for the sake of the ministry.
The team at Lifeway Leadership has developed a number of resources to help you begin developing a leadership pipeline at your church.
- Download a free copy of Developing Your Leadership Pipeline, an ebook from Lifeway Leadership.
- Download Pipeline, the free Lifeway Leadership app, featuring blogs, podcasts, training videos, and more.
- Sign up for a free webinar at live.lifewayleadership.com to help you develop each role in your ministry. Upcoming webinars include Leaders with Jenni Catron (May 17), Ministry Directors with Brian Dodridge (July 21), and Senior Leaders with Eric Geiger (Sept. 20).
Todd Adkins is the Director of Leadership at Lifeway Christian Resources.