Embrace a Leadership Development Process

February 17, 2012

By Dave DeVries J.
Oswald Sanders describes the process of qualifying as spiritual leaders:

Spiritual leaders are not made by election or appointment, by men or any combination of men, nor by conferences or synods. Only God can make them. Simply holding a position of importance does not constitute one a leader, nor do taking courses in leadership or resolving to become a leader. The only method is that of qualifying to be a leader. Religious position can be conferred by bishops and boards, but not spiritual authority, which is the prime essential of Christian leadership. That comes often unsought to those who in earlier life have proved themselves worthy of it by spirituality, discipline, ability, and diligence, men who have heeded the command: “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.” and instead have sought first the kingdom of God {and His righteousness}. Spiritual leadership is a thing of the Spirit and is conferred by God alone. When His searching eye alights on a man who has qualified, He anoints him with His Spirit and separates him to his distinctive ministry… (Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, pp 18-19)

In every generation God’s people are given the opportunity to respond to His invitation to be a distinct people used to demonstrate and proclaim hope in the midst of their generations’ present crisis. In each generation, God calls out individuals who will take up the reins of leadership.

On my sabbatical in 2000, I sensed the need to intentionally develop spiritually qualified board members. It seemed that every year as we sought nominations for board members, I was pulling teeth to get anyone to serve. In the fall of 2000, I invited six men to join me in a monthly four hour training session. We shared a meal together and prayed for one another. We also discussed an assigned book and I taught a lesson on spiritual leadership. This process bonded us together and was invaluable in preparing two of these men to serve as deacons and one to serve as an elder the following year. I realized that I had to be involved first hand in the leadership formation process at our church.

And yet, I can’t be the only one concerned about leadership development. As we continue to grow as a church, all leaders must embrace the responsibility for leadership multiplication. Just as all disciples of Jesus ought to be disciple-makers, so all leaders ought to be mentoring leaders.

Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This process of leadership multiplication won’t just happen in your church. Spiritual leaders are developed over a lifetime and they need the input of godly leaders on the one hand, while continuing to invest in the mentoring of the next generation of church leadership.

An intentional process of leadership development that strengthens the local church’s leadership base must be initiated with non-leaders who are faithful followers of Jesus. And this process must continue through identifiable phases that equip emerging leaders with ongoing ministry assignments and responsibilities.

Learning to lead won’t happen in the classroom, but in the context of ministry. Commit yourself to the process of both developing as a leader, and developing others to lead!

Source: Missional Challenge

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