Leading a church can sometimes feel like wrestling five alligators. Add five more alligators and an anaconda, and that’s what it can feel like to plant a church!
A recent Lifeway Research survey found that pastors and church leaders faced these challenges:
- 84 percent say they’re on call 24 hours a day
- 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming
- 53 percent are often concerned about their family’s financial security
- 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle
- 21 percent say their church has unrealistic expectations of them
I have certainly experienced all of these realities in over 20 years of church leadership.
Our stress as Christian leaders is wonderfully reduced when we learn to help others do what they are called to do.
Yet, in the past two years I’ve discovered an amazing reality. Our stress as Christian leaders is wonderfully reduced when we learn to help others do what they are called to do. I call this empowerment. The work of the ministry becomes less taxing because we are empowering others around us to carry the weight of a growing church. As more and more leaders step up into their callings and play in the Kingdom, we can pull away even more to live from the overflow of God’s presence. This is what the early church leaders did in Acts 6.
“Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2-4
They prayed, appointed new leaders, and empowered them. Then they turned their attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word. They pursued more intimacy with Christ which led to more effective preaching and teaching. The church kept growing as the top leaders stayed focused on their personal time with God and the empowerment of leaders.
What are some practical steps to empower others?
Pray and ask God who to invest in
Seek God as Jesus did in Luke 6. He prayed all night asking God to guide His selection of leaders He should empower.
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them, He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” Luke 6:12-13
God will show you some leaders right in front of you that you can begin to empower. You are looking for leaders who are F.A.S.T. (Faithful, Available, Servant-hearted and Teachable).
Begin empowerment conversations
This is where basic coaching and empowerment skills come into play. You begin to ask your selected leaders deep heart questions about their passions and gifts. By listening deeply and asking insightful questions, You begin to sense who God made them to be and help them discover what they should do about it.
In this step, as you listen and ask great questions, you are helping the leader get clarity and direction on their next steps as a leader. You begin to draw out the gifts and callings in each of them. The next step is helping them to discover how to practically cooperate with His work in their lives.
Do it...and do it again
Empowerment is a leadership lifestyle. It can be learned, but it takes hard work and focus and practice.
As you begin to have these conversations, remember that it doesn’t help to project your agenda onto the lives of others. This is a cooperative journey where you and the leader discover God’s vision and direction for their lives.
Empowerment focuses on the person first and seeks to help them find their way forward. As you practice, keep in mind that great empowerment is all about love, caring more for the other person than your needs. Think about seeing the world through their eyes, and helping them make the right next steps for them.
Multiplication in leadership and church growth is fed by the process of empowerment. Living an empowerment lifestyle results in a lot less stress and is actually a lot more fun. I truly believe it is a better way to lead.
If you want to learn more about coaching, check out loganleadership.com. Our national coaching model comes from Bob Logan’s principles of coaching.
If you want even more training on empowering leaders, we offer our Empowering Leadership Course around the country and in the UK. Ask about hosting one for your region by emailing us at [email protected].