How to Empower Leaders at Church
Strong leadership in your church is desirable. You want leaders. But how do you actually empower these leaders at your church? Whether you are grooming new leaders or looking to vitalize current ones, here is a simple tool that looks at how to empower the leaders in your church or at your sites to actually go out and do the things you’re looking for them to do.
Keep it utterly simple. Why? Because simple is transferable, and if it's transferable, it's reproducible. Read through the life of Jesus as he develops leaders and see if you don't come up with some of the same things.
At Community Christian Church, we want all of our people to see themselves as missionaries. Everyone is a missionary, everywhere. Whatever their context–the cul-de-sac, the neighborhood, the sports team they coach–it doesn't matter. They are a missionary. We've developed simple practices that help people walk through missional activities, and the same steps can be used for empowering leaders.
Download Building Leaders to Launch New Congregations to discover best practices for multiplying churches.
B – Begin with prayer: We will pray for the people or place to which we are sent.
Say you want to meet and reach people in your neighborhood. Start by praying for your neighbors and the neighborhood as a whole. Always begin with prayer.
L – Listen: We will listen to the people or place to which we are sent.
How about inviting the people in your neighborhood over to your house for a barbeque to just listen to their stories? Don't hit them with the gospel. Don't tell them about your church. Just listen to them and try to understand where people are coming from. Start building a relationship.
E – Eat: We will share meals with those to whom we are sent.
When you sit down and have a meal with people, you get to learn about each other really quick, right? So many memorable moments and conversations happen at the table. Having a meal is simple, but very impactful.
S – Serve: We will respond to the needs we discover among those to whom we are sent.
When you have listened to people and when you have eaten with them, you'll have a really clear understanding of their needs and how you can serve or lead them. Maybe there’s a single mom in your neighborhood and you know that she struggles to get the kids to practice on Thursdays. Serve her by volunteering to drive the kids to practice.
S – Story: We will share the story of Jesus and what He is doing in our lives with those to whom we are sent.
Last, and only then, do we recommend you share your story. Don't share your story before you've listened because you need to earn this right.
So how do we empower leaders? Leaders are developed and empowered when they are on the receiving end of these B.L.E.S.S. practices. These practices don't have to only be used in missional work. Pray for, listen to, eat with, and serve the people that are current leaders or that are being groomed into leadership. When they are being prayed for, when they feel valued and affirmed, when their own needs are being met, and when they are given space to talk, empowered leaders are easy to come by. They will be ready to step up–they will want to step up–to meet the community's need for leadership.
Patrick O’Connell is passionate about helping people start new things for the Kingdom. A man who didn’t grow up in church, he dabbled in atheism and was a committed agnostic for many years. He eventually found his way back to God. O'Connell helped plant a network of churches in Kansas City, and it was there that he began coaching and training church planters. He wants to leverage his knowledge, experiences and understanding of church planting and Kingdom to help people find and follow Jesus. Today he does this as Director of NewThing. Patrick has served in the U.S. Army, graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and received a Master in Missional Church Movements from Wheaton College. He’s married to Nancy, and they have three kids. He likes to run, read, and hang out with friends and family.