by Dr. Jeremy Roberts
If you want to lead a dynamic, growing ministry, you must develop leading and dynamic leaders. “Leadership development” is a phrase that sounds great in a blog post, in a meeting, or in a seminary classroom, but how do you actually (practically) develop leaders? Here are seven strategies to make it happen:
1. Give written job descriptions to every leader/volunteer
This may sound too strict or formal to you, but trust me . . . it’s not. I’ve never seen a volunteer who was offended for knowing what expectations the pastor or staff member had of them. It removes confusion and adds clarity.
You can click here to see some of the job descriptions for volunteers at the church I serve as pastor.
2. Conduct video teaching and training
There are various ways to do this. You could use teachable.com. You could simply make a video on your phone, upload it to YouTube, and email the link. You could make a private Facebook Group just for the volunteers in your church and upload videos, then tag people in the video description whom you want to make sure watches the video.
When you actually create the videos, keep in mind you can just do this on your phone. The point of doing this via video is that you can send it to everyone, and they can be trained in their own timing.
3. Send weekly emails to your team
If you send a weekly email . . . even a really brief one (just one or two paragraphs), you can keep your team on track.
4. Host an award night
We built this into the budget for our church this year. At a volunteer award night, roll out the red carpet (maybe even literally have a red carpet). Have people dress up like an awards show. Have a photographer to take pictures of people on the red carpet.
Feed them a nice meal, make some fun videos, and give out awards that are both funny and serious. The point of the night is two-fold: (1) To honor and love on your volunteers; and (2) To infuse vision and culture into the DNA of the key leaders in your congregation.
5. Have a “volunteer of the week”
On a weekly basis, love on the volunteers of your church by emphasizing one key volunteer (or in the case of a couple, both of them). Put them in your bulletin, video announcements, or social media channels. Thank them both publicly and privately for all they do to serve in your church.
6. Host leadership summits
A leadership summit is when you gather all of your leaders together to pump them up, cast vision, and reinforce values. This is a key time to trickle vision into the hearts of your core leaders. This is a good time to have a guest speaker come in from the outside with a fresh perspective and develop your team.
Then, offer breakout sessions for each ministry and do individual leadership development time. Hosting these once or twice a year should be the best timing.
7. Have hangout time with volunteers and strategically leverage these gatherings
There is a reason why fellowship is mentioned in the formation of the early church in Acts 2. God, apparently, found it important. Give your leaders space to hang out with one another. Have required gatherings every month or quarterly. Ultimately, you want to invest in your core community.
Do you have any additional ideas for how to develop leaders? Let us know in the comment section below.
Dr. Jeremy Roberts is married with two children and serves as the Lead Pastor of Church of the Highlands, in Chattanooga, TN. He is an Adjunct Professor at Liberty University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and had enjoys writing lots of books and blog posts; and hosts a weekly leadership podcast.