Leadership Development in the Church?

Take the Plunge

About the Author
Kelli Wommack directs SERVE Ministries and Leadership Development at Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA. They’ve started Led to Lead to encourage and strengthen church leaders in the greater Columbus area.


Leadership Development can sound so corporate, so theoretical, so…like something else to add to our already full plates of ministry. That’s what many churches think.

And so it was with our church. We are a dynamic, growing church that has the by-product of a tired, overworked staff with a growing span of care of volunteers. We thought we were doing it right by simply recruiting and placing volunteers in ministry. Occasionally, we would promote a “leader-type” to leader, but only of a function…not necessarily as a leader empowered to lead and develop other leaders. Why did we maintain a level of care for over 25, 50 or sometimes a hundred volunteers instead of empowering other leaders to lead? I recently came up with a few reasons:

  1. THE NEED TO RESPOND – “It is our responsibility as staff to care for our area of ministry and our volunteers. How can I ask a volunteer to do this?” Many staff members feel like it is their responsibility to care for all areas of ministry and all volunteers. We often feel obligated because we are paid to do it all. We just don’t want to overburden our volunteers. We want them to have very little responsibility. NEW THOUGHT: When we invest in the leadership development of our volunteers, we are giving them something of great value. We are training them for leadership and life. And more than anything, we are giving them the opportunity to be part of Kingdom work that has eternal value.
  1. THE NEED TO RELATE – “I like to know everyone individually that is working on my team.” Many of us like to have a relationship with each person who is serving alongside of us in ministry. Though psychologist Robin Dunbar says our brains have the capacity for relationships with 150 people at a time, he also acknowledges that our innermost circle of connection is more like 3-5 people with a maximum of 10-15. NEW THOUGHT: Truly meaningful relationships cannot happen when we try to connect with over ten people at a time. When we focus on developing five to seven leaders and investing our time and energy with that group, we can maintain a level of intimacy that promotes soul care.
  2. THE NEED TO RULE – “It is just easier if I do it myself.” Leadership development is an investment of time, energy, money and resources. It is not easy. It is often messy. Our egos and territories can sometimes keep us from sharing leadership with others. We delegate tasks at times, but never fully empower others to lead. NEW THOUGHT: Developing our volunteer leaders frees us as staff from overworking. Even though our volunteer base is made up of people who work full-time elsewhere, they want to invest their free time wisely – into things that really matter. We have an investment opportunity that will bring lasting results as they grow as leaders and then in turn develop others.

These are valuable, and sometimes difficult, lessons we have learned over the years. We are preparing to share those lessons, and more like it, at our first church leadership conference.

Christ Community Church is hosting a Led to Lead church leadership conference on March 20-22, 2014 in Columbus, GA. Lead Pastor, Keith Cowart, will be the keynote speaker and the Christ Community staff will be offering up to 18 different breakout sessions. The purpose of the conference is to encourage and strengthen church leaders in the greater Columbus area. Leadership in the church is so much more than merely scheduling and executing events or managing and directing people. God wants to use church leaders to influence and shape the culture of a faith community in ways that maximize its ability to live out its values and realize its mission. To that end, Led to Lead will offer main sessions and workshops that will not only inspire, but offer concrete examples of that kind of leadership in action. Because the content will be driven by principle rather than doctrine, it will have value for churches of all denominations. Because it grows out of the experience of a church plant that began in a living room, but now draws more than 1,000 in weekly attendance, the content will be relevant for churches of any size. For more information, contact Kelli Wommack at 706-565-7240.

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