Watch For These Pitfalls Before Putting a New Leader in the Game

Most people who study the church in America lament the fact that the church has a crisis in leadership… one of the problems I see is that we have redefined leadership, and now we are looking for the wrong thing. All too often we are looking for men who can entertain or teach, rather than men who can lead. I believe that the way we do church does not allow leaders to emerge. Some people may be serving in the church, but most members just sit and watch.

When we get people plugged in to serving, when they “get in the game“, we are able to observe their character and leadership abilities in action. This will help us better determine who has the leadership qualities we are looking for, and when they are ready to step up and lead. This can also help to prevent some of the negative ramifications of having someone in a leadership position who isn’t really equipped for it.

Three things to avoid when placing someone in leadership within your church:

Unprepared Leaders

Sometimes we allow those who have proven leadership abilities in the world to become leaders in the church without first assessing where they are in the stages of spiritual growth. When gifted but spiritually unready believers are put in organizational leadership positions in the church, they think in terms of giving, attendance, salvation statistics, and buildings but not in terms of making disciples When people aren’t mature disciples, they cannot value making mature disciples because they don’t understand what one looks like. God may want these people to be leaders in the church one day, but they must go through the maturing process first or they can end up destroying the church they love.

Fearful Leaders

We need leaders who are able to personally and lovingly confront people who are derailing the work of the church. Leaders who are able to identify relational problems in the church that need to be dealt with in a godly way. A courageous leader is willing to fight rather than give up or avoid conflict when things get hard.  He must have the courage to deal with broken relationships around him rather than just hoping the problem will go away.  Many times leaders think that all they need is a new methodology to reach people. But unless we are able to deal with relational problems in a godly way with courage, we cannot hope to reach the world regardless of the methodology we put in place.

Jim Putman, author of this blog, is writing a new book called The Death of Discipleship about the dynamics of pride and humility in the discipleship process. Download the free primer for this book here.

“Star Player” Leaders

No one person can strategize, vision cast, team build, systematize and administrate, be a peacemaker, assess, pastor, train, educate, and so on all by himself. Effective leaders are aware of their own strengths and bring people onto the team to fill in the holes, rather than trying to go it alone as the “All Star” player. Good organizational leaders understand the value of each component, though they may not be the best people to implement or maintain that component Humble people thrive in a team setting, a proud person will kill the team most every time.

True discipleship gives everyone a place to play. It gets people off the bench and onto the field. And when people are playing the game, it is easier to see who is emerging as a true leader. It lets the church get to know people and see what they can do. And because all of this is based on relationship, we know what their families are like, what kinds of marriages they have, and what their weaknesses are and we can build a team around them with people they already know and trust.

You can read more on this topic in Real Life Discipleship.

Written by Jim Putman

This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.

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