Volunteer leaders are an integral part of every church plant. After you have identified, recruited, and developed these leaders, there is still work to do! Nothing runs on autopilot. We must continue the work of nurturing them. I especially want to take time to make sure my leaders to know they are celebrated, prayed for, and appreciated.
In the hustle and bustle of ministry, here are five ways I’ve loved continuing to invest in my leaders.
- Monthly leadership meetings
The first Monday of every month I have anyone who leads in our church over to my home. It’s the most encouraging, life-giving day of my entire month!
We have dinner, worship together, split up to pray for one another, celebrate the wins they’ve experienced personally or in the church, and then I get the chance to invest in them in whatever way I want.
Sometimes we spend this time on a review of our leadership training, a look at the church calendar, a reminder of our mission and vision, training on some area of EDLD (Evangelism, Discipleship, Leadership Development, and Diversity) or playing a video from a conference that’s been encouraging me. Then we close in prayer for the church community.
This is my favorite way to invest in my leaders because it’s often where I am reassured of our unity in Jesus. It’s also a place where I can be vulnerable about the dynamics of pastoring and receive prayer as well.
- One-On-One Meetings
Getting a meal or coffee together is one of the other main ways I invest in our leaders. It’s through these meetings that leaders get our direct attention. They often begin to share some of the deeper issues they are struggling with personally or in leadership.
I invite the leader to celebrate what’s going on and then share where they feel stuck. Then I use a coaching method that allows for me to participate with the Holy Spirit in drawing out how God may want to grow, challenge, or change the thinking or strategy that they currently have in place.
- Give Away My favorite leadership book
When I was a college student the Chaplain at the university gave me In the name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I was beginning my leadership at the time and this book became a foundational reference for what leadership should look like. Now we give this book to every leader in our church.
After they read it, I follow up and ask questions like:
- -What did you learn?
- -What caused tension or struggle in you?
- -What do you see as applicable for ministry?
These questions allow for a dialogue that often brings more ownership of their own strengths, understanding of leadership, and even specific insight on how we can move forward in the church.
- Fun and Adventure
We can invest in leaders by just being with them! I think it’s important to spend specific time on fun and adventure with my leaders.
We do cycling, prayer walking, hiking, helping neighbors, making meals, walking around downtown, taking our kids to the park together, working on cars or doing house projects, building stuff, and even burning stuff.
I’m often reminded that the way I treat my leaders should be a reflection of how God thinks of me. If I think God only wants work out of me, I’m going to lose out on one of the best parts of our relationship. God just wants to be with me. He loves me just for who I am. I love investing in leaders in ways that they know that I love them just for who they are, too.
- Praying for them
The daily rhythm of prayer for your leaders can get mundane. In my best times of praying for my leaders, I’m asking God what he has to say to them. I ask for a word from the scriptures and I pray into that for them.
As an encouragement, I often email or text them about what I feel like God is saying or by sharing the scripture with them. I often get replies that it’s just what they needed for that day.
The most sustainable system I’ve come up with for praying for them is spreading them out throughout the week and adding reminders on my calendar. As I open my calendar up every day, it’s the first thing I do.
I would like to add that if all of these practices are in place without first having personal time with God in worship, prayer, scripture, and investment in my family, the well that I draw from for my leaders is often dry. They know it and I know it. I encourage you to continually get filled up with God’s presence so you can pour out love for your leaders.
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John Aureli was on staff at the Sugar Land Vineyard for 3 years as an associate pastor leading compassion ministries. John and his wife Arleta planted the Mission Vineyard in 2011. Their desire is to send out 17 churches by 2035. John is also involved in Vineyard church planting in Argentina. John and Arleta love spending time with their two kids and do their best to adventure to Maine or Padre Island National Seashore for vacation.