Monday, April 18, 2011

The Transition to Leadership

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We need leaders in Government, leaders in the public arena and leaders in medical research. The world would be poorer without great leaders heading up non-for-profits. The economy would be shot without some wise, ethical leaders making good, sound decisions in business.

What takes my fancy in this blog, is that we need strong, passionate leaders in the church. Here's a transition I've been thinking of lately:
Unsaved -> Saved -> Volunteerism -> Leadership. In some contexts it looks like this:
Unsaved -> Volunteerism -> Saved -> Leadership.
It's a transition I have witnessed over the years, and one I am passionate to continue to see, that is, people becoming leaders in the church.

Now, if the transition breaks at any point, we have a problem. If we are not seeing the unsaved become saved, we have an evangelistic problem. Without this particular transition the church does not grow disciples, and the growth of the kingdom of God is hindered. Without a transition from saved to volunteerism (or for some unsaved -> volunteerism -> saved) we see the church grow, but with its effectiveness crippled. Not enough workers for the harvest. There is evangelical fruit without ministry support from the newly saved. We must empower and encourage people to volunteer in our ministries - to help with youth ministry, or help with the teas and coffees, or offer their house for the running of a small group.

The last transition is very important (volunteer -> leader). I've seen people get excited about Jesus, and then help in the church as an expression of their love for God, but then never take the next step. Now, maybe not everyone is suited to become a leader, but I'm talking about great, capable people, who continue to help and help and help, but never consider they could become a leader - a person of influence. "Who I am to be a leader?" It is crucial we help transition people from volunteers to people of leadership capacity - people who can initiate, people who can innovate, who can build teams, who can facilitate programs, who can coordinate the administration, who can empower people around them.

Without transitioning ministry volunteers to leadership, we easily see senior leaders burn out. In Salvation Army circles its the Corps Officer who burns out; in Baptist circles its the Senior Pastor. Whatever the church context, a lack of transition from volunteering to leadership will cause growing strain on the organisation, and leaders have to do a lot with very little.

God, help us empower people to make the transition from volunteer to leader.

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