Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Perry Noble on Leadership Development

After work today I was able to check back in with the Purpose Driven Network Summit - for the ongoing live webcast. Tony Morgan and Carlos Whittaker were interviewing Perry Noble. Perry is the Senior Pastor and Tony is Chief Strategic Officer of New Spring Church in Anderson, SC.

The webcast is available as a recording which may be viewed online at ustream.tv. The fun part for me in watching it was that I actually got to ask a question that Perry spent some time answering! The question was: "How do you develop leaders at your church?" (This is a key strategic initiative for us at Calvary Baptist Church.) If you get a chance, please watch the video between 14:00 and 18:45 for his answer to this question and a related question - how do you motivate and share vision with leaders?

I'm not quite sure what answer I was expecting, but was rather surprised by what he said! If you don't know Perry, he's got a heart and passion the size of Texas for evangelism, and he's an incredible energetic and fired up preacher. His opening sentence in response to how to develop leaders was his philosophy...

"If you have to spend a lot of time developing your leaders, then you don't have leaders."
Ok, not quite the intentional plan for leadership development I was hoping for! :) He soon followed up by pointing out that he is a very self-motivated guy, so no one needs to put a book on his desk and tell him he needs to read it. He's going to go seek it out. If he doesn't see that hunger in staff members, if they're depending on him "to teach them everything about leadership they don't belong on staff or they belong in a position where they don't have to lead anything."

One thing he has been doing lately to develop leaders is to pour his life into some younger guys. Most recently God has been impressing on his heart "I need to spend more time pouring into my staff." Once a month or so he gets a group of folks on staff, that are not Senior Management Team level, and he buys 'em lunch and they can ask him anything they want about leadership (no theology, no movies, just leadership). They've sat there for two hours asking questions. What's cool is within a month or so he'll go into a second phase of that, reminding them what they asked about previously and seeing how/what they are doing on that aspect of leadership.

I'm going to need to ask more people this question about leadership development, especially in the context of volunteer leaders! Perry made some good points, but they seem to fit more for a larger church. I love how his closing comments in this section cut right to the chase --

"If I have someone on staff that I constantly need to motivate, they just gotta go.

Hell is too hot and life is too short for me to walk around and be everyone's cheerleader!"

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