3 Essential Habits of Multiplying Leaders

Jenni Catron

One of my dear friends just gave birth to twins. As you can imagine this poor couple’s world has been annihilated. There is no adequate preparation for the constant care required for not one, but two tiny humans. Their whole world revolves around helping these babies grow, thrive and flourish. And while the attentive parents can see them growing before their eyes, regular doctors appointments confirm the babies are right on track.

When I plant a garden, I eagerly prepare the soil, water the seeds and regularly look for sprouts. As a student in school, homework and testing helped me gauge my understanding as I grew in knowledge of the subject matter. As an Executive Leader in two large multi-site churches, we defined metrics and eagerly monitored them to help us determine our growth progress. It seems we are wired to grow and we’re programmed to expect growth.

When Jesus left us with the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 16:19), he implied that the church should grow.

Growth is innate. It is to be expected.

But growth doesn’t always just happen, does it? Many of us have experienced situations where there wasn’t growth, perhaps we even experienced the death of a church or ministry that we were certain should have experienced life.

And while every situation is different and there may be numerous reasons why growth didn’t occur, I believe there is one question we as leaders should ask as we seek to lead multiplying churches.

What’s my responsibility as the leader?

Leadership expert and author, John Maxwell, is credited with saying “everything rises or falls on leadership.” If everything rises or falls on leadership, the first thing we need to consider as we seek to be multiplying churches is our responsibility as leaders to this endeavor.

How do I need to lead differently in order to experience a multiplying effect? Where am I holding up or hindering the flourishing of this ministry? Where have pride or insecurity gotten the best of me?

I believe that leadership is a sacred responsibility that requires our careful stewardship. We must be committed to leading ourselves well to lead others better and this requires three essential habits.

3 Habits Leaders of multiplying churches consistently display:

1) Continuous Reflection

Self-evaluation is essential for every leader. What fears or insecurities regularly trip you up? How might these concerns be holding you back from giving your best leadership to your staff and your congregation? Are you afraid to make a difficult or bold decision? Is fear causing you to play it safe when faith may be asking you to take a leap? Build processes into your life that create space for self-reflection.

2) Regular Inquiry

Seek counsel from trusted advisors. You must make it a priority to put voices around you who speak openly and honestly. Proverbs 19:20 reminds us, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

3) Relentless Learning

Commit to continuous learning. We never arrive. Philippians 1:6 reminds us we are being perfected until the day of Christ. In both our spiritual growth and our organizational leadership development, we need to be on a continuous quest for growth and learning. Read, study, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and find mentors, and interview pastors and leaders. Look for opportunities to learn in situations all around you.

A leader’s responsibility is to go first. Our job is to be a few steps ahead, clearing the path and pointing the way forward. As you seek to be a multiplying church on mission to accomplish the Great Commission, you must be willing to lead the way. Lead yourself well to lead others better!


Jenni is the author of several books including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership. Jenni blogs here and contributes to a number of other online publications as well. Outreach Magazine has recognized Jenni as one of the 30 emerging influencers reshaping church leadership.