How to Build Leadership Capacity


July 30, 2012

BifocalsOne of the challenges many pastors, planters and other leaders I’ve coached express is the need for more leaders to carry out the work that needs to be done.

One pastor I spoke with was struggling just to find someone to take over doing the weekly bulletin. Another leader saw many talented leaders around her but realized they were already maxed out with responsibilities. Both leaders felt like just maintaining the present reality stretched the leadership capacity of the church, never mind starting new ministries for additional growth.

The feelings that often follow these kinds of situations are that of being overworked, guilty for not being able to complete the work they feel called to, and downcast about the possibility of seeing their ministry grow and expand.  

In the short-term you may simply look for someone who has the capacity right now to take up a new responsibility. But if you only look for ‘ready-made leaders’ you will soon run out of options. As leaders with a long-term view of ministry, significant effort needs to be made toward raising up leaders who presently have no experience or skills for the job

The short-term view is about maintaining status quo, the long-term view is about developing capacity for growth.

Here are some coaching questions that will help you or the leader you’re coaching assess short-term and long-term capacity for raising leaders.

  • What percentage of your time is spent on ‘doing’ ministry yourself?
  • What percentage of your time is spent with other leaders – working along side them, training them, coaching them?
  • How would you like those percentages to change in your ideal ministry situation?
  • Of the things that take up your time, what are the things that you, and only you, can do?  What things would you delegate if you had the leaders to do them?
  • What are you already doing where you could include emerging leaders in a way that begins to empower them for leadership responsibilities?
  • Who in your ministry has capacity and potential even if they don’t presently have experience and skills?
  • What up-coming programs or ministry situations will give you an opportunity to see new leaders emerge?  How could you facilitate this emergence?
  • What are the blockages (personal or in your ministry) that keep you from raising up more leaders?
  • What is one step you could take this week to empower an emerging leader in your ministry?

If this is a challenge you are facing or have faced in the past, share with us one step you’ve taken to raise up future leaders.

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