Identify and Develop Leaders in the Church

A Form of Discipleship

When we talk about "leadership development," are we discussing a biblical concept? Or is it one we have imported from the business world? Pastors J.D. Greear, David Helm, and Andy Davis consider this question in order to highlight the Bible's clear teachings on developing young leaders in the local church. While God has not created everyone specifically for church leadership, He has created us all with influence.

J.D. Greear is the Lead Pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. David Helm is the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charles Simeon Trust and a pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. Andy Davis is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. 

Would you consider leadership development a biblical concept? If not, why? Has this discussion caused you to rethink any of your previously held views? If so, in what ways?
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2 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)

A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus

1You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,2and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

David singled out this verse to show that finding other people who are able to pass along the message of Christ is a responsibility inherent in a call to ministry. How do you work to pass on the gospel message to those in your care? What qualities would you expect from those who are "able to teach others"? How do you encourage them towards faithfulness in teaching those around them?
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John 14:12 (ESV)

12“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

J.D. commented on this verse to note that the "greater works" occur because the Holy Spirit has been released through many different people rather being restricted to Jesus alone. In other words, the greater works Jesus referenced are those that occur when many common people live in obedience to the will of God. Even more, we grow in our conformity to the image of Christ when we take on leadership roles because we emulate His works.

How do you empower the lay people of your church to boldly share the gospel? Do you have training programs in place to encourage this church-wide? If not, how could you begin implementing one in the days ahead?
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What teaching opportunities have you made available to potential leaders in your church? In light of this discussion, can you think of any new opportunities you could make available? If so, what are they?
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What kind of programming do you have in place to specifically develop those committed to pastoral ministry (internships, education, financing, etc.)? Are there any ways you could improve in this area? If so, how?
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J.D. mentioned that an important aspect of pastoral leadership is seeing yourself as the servant of your people. Rather than attempting to bear all the weight of church vision, pastors need to recognize that some of the best ministry ideas come from their congregations.  

How do you go about connecting on a personal level with the members of your congregation? Would you say you have a good grasp on the various gifts among your people? If not, how could you improve? What could you do to better facilitate the ministry ideas God gives to the people of your congregation?
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Leadership development is not merely a business concept. It is a form of discipleship. As we have been saved by grace through faith, we seek to make that known to others and to equip other believes in our midst to carry the good news to those who need to hear it. Ask God to supply you with direction in how He would have you steward the people He has placed under your leadership. Strive to instill in them a love for His Word and send them out to boldly proclaim the gospel wherever they can. 

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