In the American Church, we tend to think of leadership development as a classroom- and curriculum-based process, but Jesus had a better idea: Spend time with people. Jesus allowed His life to rub off on His chosen leaders and to pour His wisdom into them, and we can do the same. Sometimes it’s a matter of spotting the natural opportunities that come along while at other times it’s an intentionally planned conversation.
Here are some simple ways to make leadership development a part of your life:
- Schedule three to five informal meetings per week–coffee, lunch, etc.–with people you want to invest in on a consistent basis.
- Take potential leaders on trips with you. I’ve heard great leaders talk about the mentoring power of never traveling alone. My worship pastor calls it “windshield time.”
- If you’re a pastor, take a potential leader with you to do pastoral care: hospital visits, etc. Just the time in the car on the way is a great opportunity.
Buy and send books to leaders. I’ve received and given books that have shaped who I am.
- Check in with a phone call. Have a list of potential leaders you’re pouring into, and randomly call them once a month or so.
- Convene conversations. Gather leaders who aspire to be involved in the things you’ve spent your life doing and let them connect with each other.
- Listen. Pouring into leaders doesn’t mean doing all the talking. It often means lending an ear in a tough moment.
- Connect leaders to other leaders. It’s powerful when we say, “Here’s a friend of mine you need to connect with.”
I can’t begin to thank God enough for the leaders He has placed in my life as mentors, friends and coaches. I’m sometimes blown away by the graciousness of those who will pour into me.
A few years ago, we ran an article on Pastors.com by Pastor Rick Warren on how every pastor needs a mentor. I was surprised at the feedback when Pastors said they had a hard time finding someone who would make time available to another leader. Never get caught up in getting your own business done that you fail to pour into other leaders. It’s the Jesus way, the apostolic communion and the future hope of the church.
What are you doing to pour into other leaders?
Brandon Cox is a pastor planting Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor and community facilitator for Pastors.com and Rick Warren’s Pastor’s Toolbox newsletter. Cox authors a Top 100 blog for church leaders. You can catch him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn.
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