For the week of February 07, 2005

By: Tom Bandy
In most Congregational Mission Assessments, the most common failure in the system story of a growing, out-of-the-box church is that they are not rigorous and intentional enough training leaders. Perhaps they are too hasty to develop programs for increasing numbers of people; or perhaps they assume too much about the gifts, skills, and mission sensitivity of volunteers. Lack of constant, intentional training leads to the eventual plateau in church growth because leaders burnout or get sidetracked into tasks unaligned with the purpose of the church.

Regular training for newcomers, new teams, and new leaders includes the following big pieces:

a) Embed DNA, and train people to use it as a constant reference or accountability vehicle;

b) Model the spiritual life, and train people to customize a spiritual discipline that fits into their lifestyles in such a way as to be readily practiced;

c) Teach whatever skills will be needed for whatever ministry people feel called to do;

d) Teach them how true teams operate and how they are different from committees, especially the requirements for shared passion, constant learning, and peer evaluation;

e) Coach them how to learn from failure … recover self-esteem, analyze mistakes, innovate new tactics, and take risks.

f) Remind them that they are “winners” … accepted, loved, forgiven, and redeemed by Christ no matter what.

The time and effort given to rigorous, intentional training will pay many dividends later in longer lasting, more creative, more joyous leaders in ministry.