The Most Important Word in Leadership Development

July 15, 2013 - Mac Lake - Leadership Development
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It seems everyone’s trying to figure out the leadership development challenge nowadays.  But when you ask, rarely do you find a church that feels they’ve discovered the secret sauce.  Because the need is so great they begin to act out of desperation and focus efforts on finding a program to develop their leaders.   Programs can useful tools, but ultimately we must remember that leaders produce leaders not programs.  When we become program dependent we may be undermining the most powerful leadership development influence of all…leaders developing leaders. 

I think there’s one word that could radically change your leadership development efforts.  One word that could impact your approach, free you from program dependence and actually begin to produce the results you’re looking for.  But unfortunately when people hear this word they begin to immediately throw up excuses, get skeptical and look for another way.  What I consider the most important word regarding leadership development doesn’t make the task easier but it does increase the odds of a successful development of new leaders.  In fact, I think all organizations should make this one word a required element in their leadership development strategy.

What’s this indispensable word?  With.  Yes, that’s it.  Think about it.

  • “Then he (Elisha) left, followed Elijah and served him.  (He was with him) 1 Kings 19:21
  • “He (Jesus) appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.  Mark 3:14
  • “Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus”  Acts 15:39
  • “Paul wanted Timothy to go with him.” Acts 16:3

What ever happened to With” in the leadership development process?  What are you doing this week?  Who is doing it “with” you?  What do you want them to learn from observing you?  What elements of your responsibilities can you give to them this week?

Give it a try and you may be amazed how much leadership development can actually happen during the “with”.

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Mac Lake

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2 responses to The Most Important Word in Leadership Development

  1. Not sure what you mean by growing leaders who produce leaders…..but ultimately, looking to the importance of Christ’s mission….only 1 in 100 church-going Christians in the west shares the Gospel with their “non-Christian” neighbors, co-workers, family members etc…. So in spite of all our “leadership development” resources, professional seminars, training and titles, maybe we should start being concerned with the value placed on a leadership process that leaves our churches with congregations who are 99% silent with the Gospel?

    Maybe it’s time to more accurately redefine “church leaders” as those who would carefully follow and become the example that Jesus was …personally taking on the joy and spiritual responsibility of being daily, self-deployed with the Gospel – among the lost! After all, if the King of Kings saw this as a matter of personal obedience and source of sustenance (Jn 4:1-32), what human with “church leader” title has a “more cushy” responsibility and calling? We human church leaders must also know what our King knew: As powerful as He was, people wouldn’t follow His command to “go make disciples” if He wasn’t living that out Himself.

    Unredeemed people in our communities and families don’t need more undeployed/ unfruitful church leaders – who just make more barren clones of themselves ….the lost need disciple-making disciples who in turn, obediently and infectiously make lots of reproductive disciples.

    The “front line” of Christ’s primary mission for the Church – redeeming mankind – is not actually accomplished among the already-redeemed who gather. So its interesting that “leadership development” (in its contemporary context of gatherings) isn’t given the focus, resources, time and effort in the New Testament… that it’s given today. Even though it might seem like “common sense” to do “leadership development” now, but Jesus himself said: “don’t let anyone even call you “leader”, “father”, or “teacher””. Do you suppose He knew that even well intentioned humans needed to immediately step away from such titles before they would at some point overtake and sideline people with such great disciple-making potential? And if that was His warning to people who might merely be “referred to as a leader”, what do you suppose His warning would be to those who “hope for” and “actively pursue” such distracting “leadership” positions”?….(“I will cut off every branch in me who does not produce fruit”. )?

  2. Thanks for the post, Mac.

    I was just reading 1 Kings 19:21 this morning. Great timing. 🙂 “With” in leadership development also helps us maintain accountability. It would be easy to go off “spreading the gospel” by ourselves only to find out that we are spewing our version of it, rather than the original script and vision from it. Friends on the journey help us stay on point and in HIS presence.

    Thanks again for sharing, Mac. Have a blessed day, brother.

    Brett

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