Tuesday, August 31, 2004

New Leadership

McManus on leadership -
"One last significant shaper of ethos is the identification and selection of new leadership. I believe that resume-style selection of leadership has detrimentally affected the development of an apostolic ethos in the church. The church overwhelming hires from the outside. Even mega-churches tend to hire from the outside. Every church seems to have a leadership crisis, whether they are two hundred people or twenty thousand. It seems abysmal that in a church of ten thousand, you wouldn’t be overwhelmed with emerging leadership, and yet, these churches tend to hire proven leaders from other congregations. We seem to be better at growing congregations than at developing leaders.
In an organization, leaders must be brought from the outside. In a movement, leaders emerge from within. A genuine movement is a leadership culture. It values the identification, development and empowering of new leaders. A central component of a movement’s success is not the selection of accredited leaders but of proven leadership. Leadership is not about how much education a person has attained but how much they have actually accomplished in a ministry context. In many congregations the only role that members can aspire to is to be a good follower. In the first-century church, there were no other churches to take leaders from. Everybody had to be homegrown.

A few things to reflect on from this writing:

1. You have got this problem. Everyone has a problem with finding leaders. It's the age old issue, especially in youth ministry. And most of the time, we get glorified babysitters.

2. Getting people may not be the big problem. In fact, the more difficult problem is having your new leaders 'get it'. Imparting your sense of culture, values and thinking to your leaders is a much bigger deal than just getting them to show up. It's easy to get people in the door. It's a much more difficult task to get them to sign up for a vision, for them to think a little differently about what you are doing, to get them to stop living based on rules or boundaries, to get them to own the right kinds of ideas and change the way they behave based on those new ideas.

3. It may be easier to grow your leaders. It may seem far easier to grow a leader with your sense of values, vision and thinking. The next part of the process is you bringing them into leader context. Your culture must be willing to risk a little for the development of those emerging leaders.

4. With youth ministry, we've got a great advantage and potential for growing leaders. On our leader retreat this past weekend, fully 50% of them were students that had come through the student ministry and came back to serve and lead. They get it because they have been through it, know what it looks and smells like, and it made a difference in their lives. They never knew the ministry could be done any differently.
The other advantage that we have is that we can grow leaders from people that already have a hunger to grow. If you have a student that is hungry to grow spiritually, they are fertile to grow in dynamic ways - emotionally, spiritually, leadership-wise, etc. When we bring in adult leaders, we will seldom get a person who has the same passion for growth. Having leaders get it can be largely determined by how passionate the leader is to grow. Isn't it interesting that people will follow other people who are passionate, and it might not matter where they are going?
Anyway, love to hear your comments about your experiences with building leaders.

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