The concept of creating and sending leaders can seem intimidating and overwhelming. We can get wrapped up in strict definitions that tie our hands and keep us from forming and shaping others. Put simply, we are called to develop the people around us. That’s what we mean by creating and sending leaders. Sometimes that means that you will be developing someone to do a specific leadership responsibility, perhaps in a role in which you currently serve. Other times you are simply developing people to be the best they can be in the place God has put them.
Engaging in the core practice of creating and sending leaders is an experience that is rich but not without its challenges. Sometimes it is quicker and easier than expected, while other times there are unexpected complications. But in the end, our labor is well worth it and we can celebrate the new life it brings!
As you continue to think about and cultivate this core value within your particular context, here are 5 steps to laying a strong foundation:
- Pray that the vision and spirit of this value would take root in you. If you lead a small group or cultivate leaders in a particular ministry context, let them know that reproducing and multiplying is part of a healthy community. Ask that God would prepare you. Keep your eyes and heart opened as to how He wants to use you to equip and send others.
- Speak the vision and spirit of this value early and often. That doesn’t mean you should always feel the need to have lengthy conversations every time you gather…but think about ways you can plant seeds and connect the dots for people in a natural way as you go along. As you pray, thank God for the good things happening in your ministry context and ask for His wisdom as to how this community can be fruitful and multiply. Saying just a few simple words out loud can go a long way!
- Share stories about how others are creating and sending leaders. This is an encouragement to people and helps model the practice.
- Periodically plan to have a deeper conversation in your ministry context about creating and sending leaders. For instance, if you are a small group leader, put on your calendar specific times when you will process this together as a group. If you find yourself in another ministry context, make sure that you are engaging in meaningful conversation about developing the people around you. What could this look like for you all? Listen to their feedback and ideas and try something. Don’t wait for it to come up. Make sure to bring it up!
- You learn to create and send leaders by creating and sending leaders. The temptation is to keep searching for more information or to talk about it over and over again. When we do this we are avoiding real-life experience but that’s how we actually learn! It is in the doing that we gain greater insight and develop our own best practices. If you are a small group leader, you learn to birth new small groups by…birthing new small groups! If you are raising up a new teacher, they will learn how to teach by teaching. You learn how to share the gospel by sharing the gospel. Although there needs to be prayer, discernment, and planning, things are never perfect. You will learn by doing. God will teach you from your own personal experience. Trust Him as you engage in this core practice!
We’d love to hear how you are creating and sending leaders. What’s working well? What are some challenges? Share your story or questions in the comments below!