Where Are All The Leaders? (Part 4)

In 1997 Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple and they were in a shambles. They had some good product but they needed to turn it around quickly. After looking for ad agencies to help, Jobs ultimately chose their former agency who came up with the “Think Different” campaign. Among the ad copy were the words, “To the crazy ones. Here’s to the misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The people who see the world differently.” And the closing line said:

“The people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who actually do. Think Different.”

When it comes to leadership development in the church what we are doing right now is not working. Don’t get me wrong. We do good, God pleasing work in our preaching and teaching and catechesis. They are foundational and irreplaceable. We are persistent in doing our best at these things. Then when it comes to leadership development invite and encourage and cajole people to join, to help, to suggest, to lead. But we often come up with little results. It can be really discouraging. 

Yet we need to think differently. Yes, Keep doing the foundational and critical elements of preaching and teaching and catechesis, yet when it comes to our other strategies, think differently. Some of those strategies and some alternatives have been described in previous blogs. We need to make a mental shift and see the possibilities that God sees. in other words, think differently. Let me illustrate what I’m talking about.

Maybe eight years or so ago, I was on a mission trip to a majority muslim country. We were meeting three or four hundred Christians who were house church leaders who were courageous in the mist of persecution and seeing God do amazing things in bringing people to faith. One of our tasks while we were there was to interview people who would be commissioned to start a new work. It was to be in a new part of the country where there was little Christian witness. So we interviewed mostly day laborers who would selflessly pick up and move to a new location and start being “worker priests” who would share their faith on those days when they couldn’t find work. The way they shared their faith was humbling to hear. That in itself was so different from our own experience in the west.

Toward the end, one of the existing leaders came in to talk to the director. He wanted to also volunteer to go to this new place in the country. We asked him how many people he felt he needed to make this house church network become rooted in this new location. He said, “seven or eight.” Okay we replied. But then he said something that blew my mind. He said, “but I’d only take four.” So the director asked in response, “well, where would you get the other three or four leaders?” He quickly said, “from the converts.” Just like that. Matter of factly. We wrapped up the conversation and he left. 

I raised my voice to the director, “Did you hear what he said?! We don’t even think like that in the states!” No we don’t. We think for someone to be a leader they need to be a member for decades and pay their dues in blood sweat and tears, demonstrate their loyalty to the current leadership and show they won’t rock the boat. Then maybe we’ll let them take charge. Oh, unless they were a proven leader in a previous congregation, then when they come all enthusiastic and we (the current leaders) are tired, maybe we’ll give some responsibility to them.

Well, we need to think differently as well. First, God can use us to bring people closer to Jesus. We need to pray for that, invest in people and love them to Jesus. Then we need to add to the teaching of the Gospel a responsibility that fits their level of maturity, giftedness and motivation. Help them take responsibility for something that is just a touch more than they are ready for. That’s so that they will see the need to be humble and grow.

Stop with the internal rules and barriers to leadership. Get rid of the assumptions that they need to have years of a track record. Think differently. Instead of looking to the tried and true who have been tapped on the shoulder for years. Look newer and younger. To some you might sound crazy. So what? Think differently. It wasn’t really working before. Let’s trust God, think differently and do it differently.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. Here’s to the misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The people who see the world differently.” 

“The people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who actually do. Think Different.”

Change the world through the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Rev. Scott Gress is believes in Growing People for Ministry by focussing on leadership, discipleship and teamwork. Contact Scott if you are interested in him working with you or your church. A free 30 minutes sample session is available to explore how you might work best together. The Coaching Leader Podcast is also available on iTunes and his YouTube page. You can contact Scott through email scottgress@me.com or his blog page scottgress.com or at 561-542-4472


"Growing People for Ministry" Leadership + Discipleship + Teamwork

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Where Are All The Leaders? (Part 4)

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