In the past month our church have started 2 leadership development teams, one for a group of adult leaders within the church and 1 for a group of older youth who we believe have potential to lead both now and in the future. There a important reasons why developing leaders is so important in our context…
In poorer neighbourhoods, there is simply a crisis of not having enough leaders. Less people go to college and less people have the skills that many of us develop through our life experiences. Giving up, lack of commitment, not knowing how to cope when things go wrong….just a few examples of how a lack of leadership skills can breakdown community in our poorer neighborhoods
The urban church it seems hasn’t been great at addressing these issues. In my neighbourhood in San Antonio there are numerous small churches, some are dying and some are struggling. Young people have not been trained in leadership, they don’t know how to take on this mantle and in most cases are not being given the chance anyway.
Many urban ministries are also run by high capacity leaders, people who can take a lot on themselves, and leadership development doesn’t come naturally for these leaders. Its not a priority.
Consequently, any emerging leaders become isolated and disconnected. The ministry dies when the leader moves on….it becomes impossible to keep the momentum going when that one leader has gone.
I was challenged recently to find our ‘bus person’. in the nicest possible way, if I was to go out and got hit by a bus tomorrow, who would replace me as a leader. Thinking ahead means developing the those around us who have potential to lead. They might make mistakes, in fact they probably will, but it’s our job to walk them through this process and love them as they grow. Another leader from a much bigger church than our own recently told me that he spent 25% of his time with his core leaders. You have to wise and select the right people of course, not everybody is meant for leadership. Get the wrong people involved at this level and it can be a disaster.