“How can we get more leaders like these in our churches?”
Last week, four candidates were being examined by Zeeland Classis in order to become Commissioned Pastors. Jose Duran is a church planter, Ken Kleinheksel and Steve Martin provide congregational care, and Craig Hoekstra specializes in men’s ministry. In addition to being asked questions by the meeting chairperson, Elders and Pastors also posed questions from the floor.
The candidates “nailed” all the questions and were rapidly approved for commissioning. Audience members expressed appreciation to the candidates, while complimenting them for the quality of their responses. The chair, Rev. Ron VerWys, thanked Church Leadership Center for their training.
Toward the end of the meeting, a Pastor asked the question, “How can we get more leaders like these in our churches?” He and I talked about that question following the meeting. Here are a few possible responses.
Ask veteran leaders for their suggestions.
Elders, Deacons, small group leaders, team and committee leaders have come to know whom they can count on and who are the emerging leaders in a congregation. The names that are suggested may be viewed as future leaders, individuals in whom to invest time and resources. One church specifically asks outgoing Elders and Deacons to recommend persons for nomination as future office bearers.
Set up mentoring relationships.
Growth in ministry leadership, like spiritual formation, is not an instantaneous process. Rather it is developmental and contextual. Growth happens when senior leaders and emerging leaders or apprentices spend time with one another, especially if they pray, reflect on scripture, and are involved in life and ministry together. Asking one another mentoring questions, such as the following may guide their conversation.
- What has been going on in your life since we last talked?
- How have you experienced God in your life since our last meeting?
- What has God been teaching you and how are you responding to God’s promptings?
- What has been fostering or hindering your spiritual growth lately?
- Are there any other topics about which you would like to talk?
- What actions will you be taking to nurture your walk with God and others between now and our next meeting?
Plan monthly or regularly scheduled “Leadership Community” meetings.
These are regularly planned sessions for current leaders, as well as anyone else who may be interested. The events include food, worship, presentation by the lead pastor or senior staff about an aspect of the vision and mission of the church, training in a ministry skill area, and time for ministry teams to meet and discuss their work as it relates to achieving the mission and vision of the church.
Ensure that leadership development is a priority for the church staff and all senior leaders.
This may involve putting money in the church budget for leadership development events, having staff members report regularly about the ways they are enlisting and supporting leaders, and attending training events together.
Church Leadership Center provides courses, personalized training plans, mentoring relationships, Elder and Deacon training, church multiplication training, and other opportunities for partnering with churches for leadership development. A new group of courses begins in mid-April:
- Church History
- Resourcing the Church Plant
- Pastoral Care and Counseling
- RCA Sacraments and Liturgy
- RCA Government and Standards
Contact us for more information. It is possible for your church to benefit from the development of “leaders like these.”
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