When I’m looking for key leaders in the church, I start by asking two questions:
- Who is leading themselves well?
- Who is leading others well?
In order to lead others well, you have to be able to lead yourself and your own family.
Are you self-disciplined? If you are you able to obey the demanding buzz of your alarm clock and get out of bed in the morning... if you capable of keeping a calendar or schedule... if you are normally on time for things… if you are good at being in the right place - I want you to take the next step.
Do you lead yourself spiritually? If you have a consistent habit of reading your Bible and praying to God… if you are faithfully attending church… if you are involved in serving others regularly to some capacity… if you have decided to place yourself under the accountability of some kind of small group, church class, or accountability partner - I want you to take the next step.
Do you lead your family well? If you are a dedicated spouse (if married)... if you are an intentional parent (if a parent)... if you are actively involved in the welfare of your family… if you keep a watch over those under your care to make sure they attend church, do their homework, are maturing, or doing whatever it is they are supposed to do - I want you to take the next step.
This is the most important prerequisite to becoming a leader: leading yourself well.
If you lead yourself well, you are qualified to lead others well. My next step for you will be to lead a group of others.
Maybe you attend a small group or Sunday school class faithfully - I want you training to be a future small group leaders. Maybe you love being a Sunday morning greeter, and naturally connect with new faces - I want you to train or start a first-impressions team. Maybe you love doing community service or local outreach - I want you in the room next time we are doing an event. Maybe you give faithfully to the church and other charities, and have a naturally benevolent heart - I want you to consider being on a board. Maybe you have a rock-solid, God-honoring marriage - I want you to consider meeting with a couple who are struggling.
Some leaders will stop here. And that’s fine. Depending on your personality and gifting, leading the 5th grade boys class, or being on a committee, or running a booth at an event, or leading a small group is as much responsibility as you want. If you are satisfied with the capacity to lead a group of people, then praise God for your commitment and service.
But there’s another category of leaders I’m looking for. I’m in search of those who are leading themselves and a group of people well. If this is you, I want you to lead other leaders. I want you to become what we call at Hershey Free a "coach".
Perhaps you lead a home group of young couples, and you love it and are great at it. Please consider training someone to take your place, so that you can coach other home group leaders.
Perhaps you lead a group of high schoolers in the youth group, and you love it and are great at it. Please consider finding someone to take your place, so that you can coach other high school leaders.
If you have discovered the ability to lead a group of people well, I’ll bet you can teach someone else how to. The next step for you is to replace yourself. Find someone in that group who can lead themselves well, and then mentor them to lead your group (whatever that ministry may be) in your place. They could fill in occasionally, or be a co-leader with you for a season. Then I need you to “graduate” and begin coaching other leaders to do the same.