Church starters must continually develop as leaders or they will become the barriers for growth in their churches. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Purpose driven leaders learn how to lead larger by continuing to grow and develop their leadership skills.
The first leadership shift takes place in what a pastor does on a daily basis.
Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, once said, “The secret of concentration is elimination.” A true leader learns the art of elimination. At a staff retreat, this became painfully clear when our worship pastor challenged me to stop trying to do everything I thought was part of my job description. On a whiteboard, we listed everything I was responsible for at The Springs. The list was twenty-seven items long. On another board, we made a list of what I needed to be doing, those certain things I am gifted and called to do. The list was only four items: teach, vision cast, lead the church, and pray for God’s direction. I still remember him standing up in that conference room and saying, “This is easy. You have to stop doing these twenty- three other things.” It was not easy. There were good things on that list, things a pastor was supposed to do. Weddings are no longer on my “to-do list.” Counseling is not in my job description. Funerals are not performed by me anymore. These were difficult choices, but the staff was right. I had to let go to grow with The Springs.
This leadership shift has to happen as a church grows beyond 200 people. Rick Warren says that “as a church grows, two things have to happen: the pastor has to give up the ministries and the people have to give up the pastor.” You can grow a church to 200-300 with ministry skills, but you grow beyond 200-300 with leadership skills. Giving up the ministry means you’ll need to learn to delegate and even allow others to fail.
Where do you learn these skills? Avail yourself of training and conferences. At least one conference a year is essential for the growing leader. Remember, the skills used to grow a church to 200 will keep it from growing beyond 200. Be willing to change and shift; an effective leader has to be reinvented every several years. Lead larger, as if your church was twice the size it is. There is more training available today on the subject of leadership than in any other generation. Michael Hyatt suggests a systematic approach to delegation in his recent post. Check out What Tasks Should You Delegate First?