Your Greatest Investment

In Max De Pree’s book, Leadership Jazz, he says that a leader’s job is developing people rather than directing them. Truthfully, a leader must do some directing, but he or she must be highly focused on developing people.  

During a podcast interview, Jonathan Pokluda from Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, was asked what is important to know about leading Gen Z staff members. Pokluda indicated that young ministers from that age group are looking for someone who is going to study them to help them reach their ministry potential — someone who will develop them. 

Any follower of Jesus should already know that making disciples means we intentionally help others use their gifts and talents to serve Christ with their life. 

But how can busy ministry leaders — whether they be pastors or associational or denominational leaders — find the time to develop those under their care? Here are five suggestions: 

1. Pray for them. Most of us pray every day. Why not add a couple of younger leaders with whom you have influence or supervision responsibility to your daily prayer list? One of the greatest ways we can serve followers is to pray that they will live out God’s design for their life. We should pray for open doors of ministry, for an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and even for the experiences God will use to shape them as a leader.  

2. Take them along on a ministry assignment. Jesus took disciples with Him when He went to preach or do ministry. For busy leaders, it often feels easier to do the work without including someone else. But why not invite a younger staff member or volunteer to a lunch meeting you have scheduled with a potential church member or another ministry leader? This will give them an opportunity to broaden their ministry experience and relationships.  

3. Learn about them. As you spend time with a younger apprentice or protegee, why not give some time to observation and reflection? Pay attention to them and discover what they do well and where they tend to struggle. You will notice patterns emerge that can make you more aware of who they are as a person and how God has wired them for leadership. All leaders are a mixed bags of strengths to utilize and weaknesses to overcome. Imagine how powerful it will be for this potential leader to hear you identify some area of giftedness in their life that you have observed.  

4. Give them helpful leadership resources. While typing out this post, I received a text from my wife, Connie, about how to repair a storm door latch. She knows there is a task I need to do, and she is sending me a video resource on how to do it. You will discover resources that can be incredibly helpful for those you are striving to develop and — as long as you don’t overload them — they will likely take those resources seriously since they came from someone who obviously cares so much about them.  

5. Continue to relate to them even if they are no longer under your care. I talk to leaders weekly who relate back to something they heard from a person of significance in their life. They may even outpace you in leadership assignments, but they will never outgrow the love and care you have demonstrated through the relational investment. Keep in touch with those you help develop and continue to speak into their life. 

Who has God put in your path that you may be called to help develop for a leadership assignment? Once you discover who that person is, consider one of these five ways to invest in their future leadership abilities.  

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