Question: How to Get Leaders Started?

Below is a question and answer posted during the 2014 UNITE Conference at Open Door Church in Raleigh North Carolina. This question was posed to Matt Rogers, Pastor of NACPF Network's The Church at Cherrydale.

Do u start all leaders at step one of leader development regardless of previous discipleship, or do u evaluate them and customize the starting point?

There is certainly a high degree in which leadership development is case specific. All leaders come to the table with different backgrounds, histories, and discipleship stories. Some know more about the gospel and some know more about their personal gifting. At this point into pastoral ministry, however, I have been burnt far more often when making assumptions about the maturity of a potential leader. It can be deadly to presume that a man knows the gospel, how to make disciples, or how to live on mission simply because of his pedigree. My approach has been to create one pathway for all potential leaders in our church as ask those that may have a higher level of previous training to see it as an act of humility, service, and reminder to participate in the same program as all of the rest of the leaders. This way I can insure that the leader has the theological building blocks in place that I would want there. In addition it allows me to insure that he has the unique DNA and ministry philosophy that we would desire to replicate. If the leader clearly has these marks early in the process then I may unleash him to disciple a younger leader in the group. That way he is still a part of the training system but is seeing it as an act of discipleship as well. I can then watch him disciple and lead others in an informal fashion and discern his maturity as he works with one or two other people. This way, if he lacks the maturity or ability to lead well, I can pull him back in before I give him a larger mantel of leadership in the church. With leadership appointment, my operating theory is always "better safe than sorry". - Matt Rogers

Dear Timothy, EquippingRush Witt