develop a leadership culture in your church

From Followers to Leaders: How To Develop a Leadership Culture

We have all heard the Maxwell quote, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I’ve seen firsthand as a pastor how crucial strong leadership is for a thriving church. When people step up to take on leadership roles, it makes the whole church stronger. In this article, I want to explore with you why leadership matters so much and how we can encourage more of it. I’ll share some practical tips that have worked for me and my church when it comes to identifying and developing leaders. My goal is to help you think of ways to develop a leadership culture in your own church. By the end, you’ll understand how developing leaders can impact your congregation in positive ways.

This is such an important topic for the health of our churches! When we have good leaders in place, our ministries can flourish in exciting new ways. I’m looking forward to digging into this with you and hearing your thoughts and experiences as well. Let’s grow stronger churches by growing more leaders!

Understanding Leadership Culture

Let’s start by ensuring we are on the same page about what we mean by “leadership culture.” When I talk about cultivating a leadership culture in the church, what I mean is building an environment where we’re constantly encouraging and supporting people to grow their leadership abilities. It’s about creating a mindset and set of values that prioritize leadership development and empower individuals to step into leadership roles.

A leadership culture isn’t just about appointing people to certain volunteer positions. It’s bigger than that. A leadership culture is about empowering everyone to step up and lead in their own way, whether they have a fancy title or not. It’s about fostering an atmosphere where everyone feels equipped to use their gifts and passions to lead in their unique capacity.

I get excited when I see churches embrace this expansive view of leadership! When we make leadership development a core value across the board, our ministries grow stronger and our churches can have greater impact.

So, in summary, when I say “leadership culture,” I’m talking about intentionally shaping an environment that brings out the leader in everyone.

The Importance of a Leadership Culture in a Church

Why is focusing on leadership development so crucial in a church? The answer lies in the biblical principles of discipleship and the Great Commission.

Jesus commanded His followers to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything He had commanded. That’s a big task! It requires leaders who can effectively guide and mentor others in their spiritual journey. When we cultivate an environment that brings out the leader in people, we equip our church to carry out Christ’s call to go and make disciples.

Another huge benefit of building a leadership culture is that ministry doesn’t rest on just a few people’s shoulders. Leadership gets distributed among capable teams ready to share the load. When you empower leaders, you multiply the impact your church can have!

The early church expanded like wildfire because discipled leaders were equipped to teach and lead new believers. The same thing can happen today when we commit to developing the gifts and capacities of leaders throughout our churches.

Key Elements For Empowering Leaders

A leadership culture is built on several key elements that lay the foundation for empowering individuals to step into leadership roles. Let’s walk through a few of them:

First, it starts with identifying and developing potential leaders. This involves recognizing the gifts, talents, and potential within individuals and providing them with opportunities for growth and training.

Second, mentoring and discipleship are so important. We need our seasoned leaders to invest in emerging leaders by offering guidance, encouragement, and support.

Third is building a culture of trust and empowerment. As leaders, we need to delegate responsibilities to our team and give them the freedom to make decisions without micromanaging.

And finally, a leadership culture is characterized by a focus on continuous learning and growth. We must encourage leaders to keep growing by attending workshops, conferences, and training.

When we put efforts into those areas – identifying and developing leaders, mentoring them, trusting them, and encouraging ongoing growth – we lay the groundwork for raising up more leaders. We build a culture where leadership can thrive!

Benefits of Cultivating Leaders in Your Church

Focusing on leadership development has all sorts of benefits beyond just raising up more leaders. Let me share a few I’ve seen:

First, it creates a sense of ownership in your congregation. When people are encouraged to step up and lead, they become more invested in the mission. This boosts engagement throughout your church.

Second, it builds unity and collaboration. Equipping everyone to lead breaks down hierarchies and ministry silos. It promotes a culture of teamwork and cooperation.

Third, new leaders bring new perspectives. This allows for greater innovation and creativity. Fresh ideas lead to growth and the ability to reach more people.

Finally, building a leadership pipeline today ensures thriving churches for tomorrow. Developing a leadership culture positions your church to impact future generations.

When we make leadership a priority, our churches tap into more energy, creativity, teamwork, and vision. People bring their best when they’re empowered to lead in their gifts. That’s why cultivating leaders within the church pays off in so many ways.

How to Develop a Leadership Culture

Developing a culture of leadership in your church requires a deliberate and intentional strategy. Here are some tips that have helped me over the years:

The first step is to cast vision! Clearly communicate why developing leaders matters and how it can strengthen your church.

Next, identify potential leaders. The key word is “potential.” Everyone has the potential to lead in some capacity. Often times we see potential in people before they see it in themselves. Look for individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities, whether it be through their character, skills, or influence.

Once potential leaders are identified, invest in their development and growth. Offer training, mentoring, and coaching – equip them to grow as leaders. Provide them with resources and support to help them grow in their leadership journey.

Additionally, create “places to play.” In other words, give people opportunities to lead. Start by inviting people to lead in small ways. As they grow and develop, give them greater responsibility and more opportunities.

Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate and recognize the contributions of leaders within your church. I think this is an area many churches overlook. It is so easy to focus on the next Sunday or the next event that we fail to pause and celebrate wins along the way. Be intentional about publicly acknowledging the hard work of your team. Make it a priority to show appreciation for their efforts, and let them know that they are valued.

Get Started Today

In summary, building a strong leadership culture in our church takes time. There is no quick fix, but the long-term commitment is well worth it! By prioritizing leadership development, we can begin to see real transformation in our congregations over time.

Keep in mind this isn’t about just elevating a few superstars. It’s about empowering ALL people to lead in their gifting, no matter their role. We want to equip everyone because everyone can make an impact where they live, work, and play.

My final encouragement is to begin today and watch what happens!

Additional Resources

Here are a few of the resources that have helped me develop a leadership culture at my church:

Additionally, there are numerous online courses, webinars, and podcasts that focus on leadership development. Take advantage of these resources to equip yourself and your congregation with the necessary tools to cultivate a leadership culture.


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