It’s easily to believe you need a full bank account and unlimited resources to develop your leaders well—but you don’t. We see pastors believe this lie often and we want to show you what it really takes to develop your church leaders.

Myth #1: Leadership development is not a spiritual concept.

My friend Tony Morgan paints this picture:

When someone uses their gift of prayer, we wait expectantly on God to respond. When someone uses their gifts of mercy and serving, we’re quick to recognize the selfless act of compassion for others. When someone uses their gift of evangelism, we celebrate with them when someone hears the Gospel message and accepts Christ. But when someone uses their gifts of leadership and administration, some people are bound to oppose it.”

In some churches, there’s a bias against the gift of leadership because it’s not perceived to be as spiritual as some of the other gifts. But that’s a false pretense.

Leadership is a spiritual gift.

Paul includes leadership in his list of spiritual gifts in Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. Paul himself recognized the gift of leadership intrinsic in his own calling. And good leadership is modeled throughout the pages of the New Testament. From the formation of the early church to this very moment, God gives people the gift of leadership for use in the church.

People with the gift of leadership are going to look for a place to exercise that gift. If your church doesn’t provide a place for them to lead, they will go elsewhere.

Leadership development is part of the discipleship process.

If leadership is a spiritual gift, then leadership development is a way to think about discipleship.

If leadership is a spiritual gift, then leadership development is a way to think about discipleship. Click To Tweet

Jesus invested in the twelve, teaching them how to be better followers while turning them into better leaders. Those early disciples, trained and coached by Jesus, preached the gospel, started or led churches, and made disciples. The church spread quickly because of their leadership.

Developing leaders is a part of the pastoral charge.

Pastors are not simply called to do ministry, they are called to equip the people to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). Equipping people for ministry is an act of leadership development.

“It is to our shame that we have learned to lead ministries without developing other ministers,” write Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck in Designed to Lead.

Fail to equip people to do the work of the ministry, and you’ll have an unhealthy church.

#2 – Leaders are born, not made. 

One of the most common reasons we hear that churches don’t implement any leadership development plans is that there is a lack of leaders.

But it could also be true that churches don’t have enough leaders because they do not have any plans to create or develop them.

It’s the chicken and the egg.

The great coach Vince Lombardi said “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”

Perhaps the reason we avoid creating leadership pipelines and wait to implement leadership development plans is because there’s no immediate return on investment. Leadership development isn’t instant. There’s no way to have a quick win.

Growth mindset. Superstar.

You can develop leaders.

Start with what you have.

#3 – We’re too busy now, but we will get to that soon.

You need to do something dramatic to break the pattern.

The myth of the busy season. You’re as busy as you want to be or allow yourself to be. Most people have more control over their schedule than they think.

One great way to improve your time management is with a resource Church Fuel One members have access to called the Weekly Review. On Sunday night, I’ll map out what I accomplished last week and some goals I have to accomplish in the next. It keeps me on task and not getting caught up in the busywork, without actually getting anything done.

Take a Next Step

One thing we’ve noticed about leaders in the church is they typically crave training. Leaders love opportunities to get better and develop their skills. Leadership starts with you. In order to lead others well, you must first lead yourself. That’s why we’ve created a resource called the One-Page Personal Growth Plan and it’s yours for free. This simple PDF will help you create a plan for investing in and leading yourself well over the next 12 months.


YES! Send me the personal growth plan!


Before you can lead others, you must first lead yourself. This free resource can help.

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