This week we are covering Leadership Pipeline, a concept and framework for churches to develop leaders at every level of ministry. Over the course of the week we will share a blog post and a podcast each day. We are also offering a free e-booklet called Developing Your Leadership Pipeline which can be downloaded here. If what you read and hear interests you be sure to register for our upcoming webinar, “Leadership Pipeline: The Role of the Volunteer.” Here is part five.
If you are looking for leadership content, then you will find abundance. Yet many churches are still looking because a transfer of information does not lead to transformation. Leadership development is not a program or an event. Leadership development is a process that occurs in the context of a relationship.
I use the word competency because training that leads to competency is mastery, not knowledge transfer. When one shows competency, they display proficiency in or mastery of a specific skill or subject. Competencies cannot be mastered in a day. Transformation occurs over the course of time. Three things must converge to see true leadership transformation: knowledge, experience, and coaching.
The process to obtain a driver’s license illustrates this convergence. First, you must pass a written test to receive a permit. Next, you learn from experience behind the wheel. Most states require that permit holders spend a specific amount of time in the driver’s seat with an experienced driver. Third, that experienced driver provides the coaching piece to help you learn along the way. Once the knowledge, experience, and coaching elements are complete, a permit holder may become a licensed driver. Even after passing a driver’s test, some continue to receive coaching because they go too fast or break the rules.
Many churches hand the ministry keys to individuals before they were prepped and ready. We do not hand car keys to someone who has never driven a vehicle because lives on the road are at stake. What a sobering thought to consider how often this handoff happens in a church when eternity is at stake.
Knowledge alone does not lead to competency. Experience without knowledge and coaching can be harmful. Coaching without knowledge or experience leaves nothing to say, no questions to ask, and no experience to debrief. However, when knowledge, coaching, and experience converge, we find a transformational sweet spot where leadership development flourishes.
Over two years, I have brought together senior pastors, executive pastors, leadership experts, consultants, and my team to develop a leadership pipeline for the church. The pipeline provides a framework of universal leadership competencies vetted by ministry leaders.
I know what you’re thinking: universal core competencies for churches? Research shows that 70 percent of leadership is transferable from position to position, even across different organizations. The leadership pipeline contains core competencies and learning objectives for every level of leadership in the church.
The most selfish thing you can do as a leader is fail to reproduce yourself. We must begin to think not only about the succession of our senior pastor and key leaders but about every level of leadership, including our own. If a bus hit you tomorrow, who would take over your role? Will your current structure, systems, people, and processes run without you? You should, and must, identify the key leaders who are most equipped to replace you. Implementing leadership pipeline in your church helps you to ensure those people are ready and able to do so.
On October 13 of this year LifeWay Leadership, the team I lead, will host Pipeline a conference for church leaders to train you how develop leaders at every level of your church. We would be thrilled if you and your team would join us. You can find out more information HERE.