March 5, 2013 Jason Vernon

It Doesn’t Just Happen: 9 Strategies for Creating a Leadership Development Culture

I’m at the Chick-fil-A headquarters today with Mac Lake and several ministry leaders talking about leadership development. Most churches do not have a clear leadership development strategy. Unfortunately, leadership development doesn’t just happen. People do not randomly advance up the leadership pipeline, it requires intentionality.

Mac shared 9 principles that will help leaders create a culture of leadership development.

  1. Build culture not leaders. The reason most churches have a leadership deficiency today is because they fail to build a culture of development yesterday.
  2. Model leadership development from the executive level. The values of the leader become the values of the organization. Leadership development flows down not up.
  3. State clear expectations for every staff leader. Your team should know that they are expected to develop leaders.
  4. Eliminate excuses. If you think you don’t have time to develop leaders then delegate some of your responsibilities. Being busy is a golden opportunity for leadership development. If you don’t know how to develop leaders then learn. If you think you have enough leaders then realize that this is a selfish mindset that will always hinder growth. If you think no one is ready to be developed remember that Jesus searched for people who were willing.
  5. Align the language and levels of your leadership pipeline. This helps everyone see their next steps, clarifies your system for development, creates a pathway for growth and diagnoses where and why the pipeline is clogged.
  6. Build a structure that enhances relational leadership development. Your leadership development will have greater impact when your leaders realize that you are emotionally invested in them.
  7. Develop for vision not for need. Only filling needs is short-sighted leadership. This mindset leads to a revolving door of leaders.
  8. Align your system to synergize time, energy and resources. Stop operating in ministry silos.
  9. Define your leadership development strategy and implement it into your system. Stop just talking about leadership development. Be intentional and take action because it “doesn’t just happen.”
Read Take the Lid Off Your Church for more insight on developing leaders.


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Jason Vernon

Jason Vernon

Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.
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