Sunday, July 17, 2011

Empowering Leaders

In yesterday's post I discussed an insightful article by Will Mancini on the vehicles needed to cast and share vision. There I started to consider application of these principles to leadership development, and continue here with some more thoughts on empowering leaders and application to our church.

Mancini is a co-author with Aubrey Malphurs on a superb book called "Building Leaders" (sample chapter on empowerment here), a guide to building a leadership development process in the church. He shares on the great importance of empowering leaders in this book, with a summary on his web site. Take a close look at the list above. Do you see how vitally important leaders are for casting vision across all levels of the organization? Empowerment is not easy! It's painful and at first inefficient. More from Mancini:
#1 Empowerment increases the scope of unknown ministry outcomes.
#2 Empowerment requires a sacrifice of short-term ministry efficiency.
#3 Empowerment requires giving away authority that previously provided the basis of personal ministry success.
#4 Empowerment necessitates close support and authentic community with other leaders.
What's my takeaway for a mid-sized church with a strong leader, wonderful volunteers, yet is too big for the pastors to know everyone and drive everything and too small to have a large staff or a solid culture of leadership development and empowerment?
  1. It is essential to have a significantly higher level of interaction, support, and community with our small group leaders. (And not just as conduits to distribute information, but in recognition these are our most valuable set of leaders in the church.) 
  2. It would be of tremendous benefit to more intentionally foster a leadership development culture in our church, by increasing communication and discussion, encouragement, and empowerment. Again not just top-down, but leader to leader, taking time to dream, dialogue openly, and pray together.
  3. Our preaching of vision is strong, but can be made more effective by some advance planning so that the message is repeated and reinforced in other venues.
  4. We should continue to re-evaluate our communications and branding as well as our structures and titles involving volunteers.
  5. We have to be more willing to risk short-term pain and even failure to develop the culture of empowerment needed for us to have a significant kingdom impact.
Is your church empowering leaders? Can your ministry leaders and small group leaders articulate the church's vision? Is it their vision too? 

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