There’s always talk about leadership development in ministry, right? Many churches have solid leadership development procedures, awesome discipleship courses, and pipeline strategies for future and emerging leaders. But, once they’re developed, what’s next? I know that might sound a bit crazy, but think about it. What is your church doing with those people that are being trained up, developed, and prepared to lead? Churches bring people in and prepare them to lead, but how often are we actually sending people out? As we’ve been on our church planting journey, we’ve become more and more aware of this gap.
The problem with most leadership development models
I recall talking to someone from another church, and he mentioned that they were undergoing through some pretty rigorous leadership development training, and I kind of got excited. My mind immediately jumped to all the places those newly developed leaders could be sent out.
He mentioned some of the people who were also taking the course, and I was not surprised—they were some pretty amazing and gifted folks. I asked him, “How many churches do you think they’ll plant from that group?” He looked at me and laughed, “You know our pastor isn’t about planting. He just wants to have everyone there to serve!” I was instantly saddened. How could someone go out of their way to train people up, get them ready to serve, and want to keep them under the same roof?
You can only have so many top leaders under the same roof before they start to bump heads.
Jesus wants us to go
Jesus didn’t call us to stay put for the sake of our comfort. He did tell us to go out to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
So be bold, be confident, and trust Christ that the Great Commission’s goal was to send us out, not keep us in. Don’t be afraid of being sent away from the church you know, where you’re comfortable and everyone is familiar. Follow God to new places, places where your presence will make an even greater impact.
I want to clarify that I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever serve your own church. What I am saying is that not every person is called to stay and serve the congregation that helped develop their leadership skills. God may be calling you to serve within your church—or he may want you to go out, plant a new church, or serve elsewhere. Trust God. Remember that he’s sovereign and knows the insecurities you might be struggling with.
Trusting God when you don’t know what’s coming
I don’t say this lightly. I say this because we are actually living this out. We planted Reformed Church of LA (RCLA) not more than a year ago—our launch date was March 25, 2018. And we will be planting RCLA Wilmington a year from now.
Our church started with 18 adults and 12 kids, we are now averaging 100 people every Sunday, and we will be sending people out (15 or 20 of them!) from our church to help plant this church. We’ve poured our lives into some of these families, and—just like that—they’ll be sent out.
That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Let’s be faithful to what God has called us to do
Maybe you’re the one that has been prepared to be sent. Or maybe you’re a leader in your church who has helped train others. Trust that when you are sending people out, those new leaders will be able to bless other communities, as you have blessed them. It’s not our church, it’s God’s church. You should be given the space to use your full potential for the building up of God’s kingdom, the edification of his body, and the sanctification of his church. And if that’s at another church, in another town, another state, or the next city over, so be it.
Encourage other people in your church to accomplish what God has called them to do. Believe me, God will bring others to your church who will also be trained, and, if everyone is doing their job right, they’ll train others. That’s how it works—at least it has for the last 2000 years. Trust God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Offer yourself to God to be used wherever he wants for the expansion of Christ’s kingdom and the building up of his church, so that the name of Jesus will be proclaimed just as passionately outside the walls of your church building.