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From Greg: Invest in the development of your leaders

Dear pastors and ministry leaders:

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

October is Clergy Appreciation Month, and though I appreciate our pastors every month of the year, this month I want to send out a special Thank you! to them all. I love these men and women, and I deeply appreciate their labor of love in the Lord.

Let’s prepare for 2017

Now that we’ve entered the 4th quarter of 2016 (can you believe it?), it’s time to prepare for 2017. I’m sure you’ll soon be holding budget meetings with your finance committee, and planning/vision meetings with your leadership team. As you do, please consider how, in 2017, you’ll invest in the development of your congregation’s leaders—both existing and new ones. Because this investment is so important to the health of your church, this issue of Equipper has been expanded to make room for multiple insights, suggestions and resources related to this vital topic.

Jesus with His Disciples by Rembrandt (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Jesus meets with his “leadership team” (public domain via Wikimedia)

Key questions and some recommendations

In your planning meetings, I recommend that you ask yourselves some key diagnostic questions: Do our leaders have specific, well-defined responsibilities? Are we empowering them to follow through? Are we training them, or sending them for training?

I recommend that you prepare ministry (job) descriptions for each of your ministry leaders (see Heber Ticas’ article for a sample), then review those descriptions with those leaders to help them form clear, measurable goals as the basis for a development plan that will provide direction for their ministry in 2017.

With these development plans in place, stay focused and on task in 2017 by holding regular meetings with each ministry leader. For a time, you might meet weekly (particularly with first-time leaders), then less often as they show good progress. I recommend that you structure these meetings using the five-step outline that we use in CAD’s coaching services. The outline is summarized by the acronym C.O.A.C.H.

  • Connect: How have you been? Or as GiANT WORLDWIDE puts it, “How’s your peace?” (related to your person, place, and the people around you).
  • Outcome: What result do you hope to take away from this meeting? (As the supervisor, what result do you hope to accomplish?)
  • Awareness: What are we learning in this ministry? How is it impacting people? Are people being pointed to Jesus? Are the goals we have set for this ministry being accomplished?
  • Course: What adjustments need to be made? Do goals need to be re-calibrated, or new ones established? Are the resources adequate to meet the stated goals?
  • Highlight: What will you take away from this meeting? (End by praying for one another.)

Focus on developing new leaders

In 2017, I urge you to keep uppermost in your planning and practices the identifying, recruiting and developing of new leaders. I hope you’ll be inspired by the examples of some of our established leaders who have written articles for this issue. To add to what they share, here are two “best practices” for your consideration:

  • Whenever possible, take another person along with you in your day-to-day ministry work. Because ministry is “more caught than taught,” working in pairs will make a big difference.
  • Account for the training/equipping of new leaders as you prepare your congregation’s 2017 budget—doing so will pay huge dividends. Ask your regional pastor about training events in your region and beyond, and keep an eye on GCI Weekly Update for announcements.

Be an equipper

As you know, the apostle Paul (in Ephesians 4:11-13) shows that the primary responsibility of pastoral leaders is to equip other members of the body of Christ for their participation in the ongoing ministry of Jesus. This call to ministry equipping includes identifying and developing new second-tier leaders. It’s the assessment of the CAD team that there is a near-epidemic lack of this activity in our congregations. I ask for your help in remedying that deficit by committing as a leadership team to implementing in 2017 what we address in this issue of Equipper. What if all our pastors and ministry leaders would do so? What would our churches look like a year from now? Three years? Five years? I cannot wait to see!

May the Lord inspire and guide us all as we invest in the development of our congregational leaders!

– Greg Williams

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