I have known Mac Lake for several years. I am convinced that God has raised Mac up to usher in a leadership development revolution in the church of North America. I am excited to bring this guest post from him about how to build your church leadership pipeline. 

It’s happened once again. You’ve lost a key leader and find yourself filling in and doing things you know you shouldn’t be doing. So, once again, you promise yourself that this year will be different. You’re going to conquer the challenge of leadership development and build a deep leadership bench- a pipeline for developing leaders - for your ministry. But what practical next step can you take to really build a church leadership pipeline?

Why is leadership development a reoccurring problem for so many? In short, it’s a lack of intentionality.  We know leadership development is important, but few leaders integrate it into their weekly routine. And even fewer develop an intentional plan that ensures an ongoing reproduction of leaders. It’s just too easy to be distracted by the urgent and allow the development of leaders to take a back seat to everything else. We feel stuck and we’re too busy to develop leaders, but we need more leaders to get all the work done.

In 2013 I begin working with Will Mancini at Auxano to provide a Church Leadership Pipeline Development process for churches. The process focuses on building a culture of leadership development and emphasizes four essential components of an intentional leadership development strategy:

STRUCTURE – How is your church structured? 

Just as our spinal structure can dramatically impacts our mobility, our church structure can impact the development of new leaders. Most churches structure for function rather than for development.  An intentional leadership development strategy focuses on both function and development.

SYSTEM – How do potential leaders move to new levels of leadership? 

It’s essential you have a defined system or map for moving leaders from one level to the next. The absence of such a system makes the leadership development pathway confusing and inconsistent. It unintentionally blocks the movement of leaders.

CONTENT – What skills are essential for every level of the leadership pipeline?

As leaders move to new levels of leadership it requires new skills. Too often we simply throw them into leadership responsibility without proper preparation. An intentional Leadership Pipeline Development plan has defined exactly what competencies are required for various levels of leadership, and how to get them there.

PEOPLE — Who is responsible for equipping new leaders?

If that responsibility falls solely on the shoulders of one person, you will never build a culture of leadership development. The focus must be on raising an abundant harvest of reproducing leaders in your church. That's when you will begin to fill your leadership pipeline.

In the next three years we will be working with individual churches in six month iterations. We are on track to work with out first 50 by the end of 2017. (See this list here.) During the six months you will design, build and implement a church leadership pipeline across all ministry departments.

  • Three, one-day workshops for your staff  designed around six competencies that you will practice together 
  • Each staff receives a 100+ page notebook with 20 guiding leadership development principles focused on cultural break-thru 
  • Coaching calls in-between workshops to ensure the completion of 4 major leadership pipeline milestones (the essentials listed above)
  • Digital tools, templates and illustrations from other churches  
  • Tools include templates to guide the building your own systems and create your own training content
  • An action step and planning guide for your internal leadership pipeline "champion"

If you're interested in participating in a six-month process for building an intentional Church Leadership Pipeline, fill out this form and I will connect with you personally.