As a church leader, you can’t try to run a church, ministry or mission alone for long – you’ll burn out. One of your most important tasks as a leader is to find and develop other leaders -- the men and women who will lead your small groups, disciple others and carry the mission of the church forward beyond your own personal limitations.
Identifying Future Church Leaders
You’ve probably heard the saying, “leadership is influence.” We use this phrase to remind each other that we all have a responsibility to lead ourselves and those around us as best we can.
Unfortunately, although every person is a leader in this sense of the word, far fewer people have been given the right mixture of leadership gifting and character that allow them to take up more formal leadership positions in ministry.
In fact, finding the right leaders can be downright difficult. So how can we search better?
The biggest obstacle many pastors face is that they don’t have time to look for and develop new leaders – they’re too busy running everything themselves!
You must carve out time for finding potential new leaders and then invest time in building a relationship with them. Only by getting to know them better can you assess their leadership potential.
Who has potential within your church? How can you make time to get to know them better?
Look for Character First
Raw leadership talent is important, but it isn’t everything. A talented leader without the right character can do more damage to your ministry than a less-skilled leader with a true heart for Jesus.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, Samuel is looking for a leader, specifically the future king of the Israelites. God gives him some advice about what to look for:
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Examine the hearts of the people around you. Who has the character and faith to set a great example in leadership?
Use the People God Has Given You
When we talk about identifying and developing future leaders, we often assume this means young people – and it often does. It is important the church makes room for young leaders, but don’t discount other generations either.
This is especially true when you have a ministry with very few young people. Instead of choosing someone unsuitable, cast your net a bit wider. God can use anyone, at any age. Moses was about 80 years old when he led the Israelites out of Egypt!
Is there anyone you have unintentionally looked over because they don’t fit your initial expectations?