“It isn’t about the leader. It never was about the leader. It will never be about the leader. It will always and only be about Jesus and his people.” – Michael Fletcher

With only a few weeks notice, Pastor and leadership consultant, Michael Fletcher was about to find himself without a large number of key staff due to several military families in his church being transferred. Uncertain of how to rebuild, he stumbled onto the solution in the way God usually works, in seemingly unspectacular fashion. Years later, not only does Michael’s church have a robust leadership pipeline that mitigates the turnover of military families, but they are also leveraging their short time with these families to prepare them for leadership wherever God takes them next.

How did he do it?

Empowering Leadership, from Leadership Network NEXT/Harper Collins Christian Publishing Book Series, details Michael’s greatest insights on how to build better leaders faster by creating a leadership development culture in your church or organization—naturally, organically, continually.

The following is an excerpt from Empowering Leadership: How a Leadership Development Culture Builds Better Leaders Faster.

The short statement “All you need to reach your city is already in the house” rocked my world! Like many pastors, I had regular thoughts, prayers, whining sessions about not having what I needed: more leaders, more money, more people, and more of the right people.

But I was seeing it all wrong, because I was seeing people all wrong. God didn’t send people to build the church. He sent the church to build people. That’s the job, the real job: building people.

Jesus didn’t come to earth, clothe Himself in humanity, walk among us for thirty-three years, die on the cross, and ascend to heaven just to start a new organization or a new religion. He came for people—people ravaged by sin and deceived by darkness, people who were far away from God, people who didn’t think the way He thought, whose mind-sets were all wrong, people whose lifestyles were built on bankrupt philosophies. He came to redeem them, by trading places with them—the righteous for the unrighteous, the godly for the ungodly—thus restoring them to God.

It is amazing, crazy, scandalous! A perfect God trading a perfect Son for a people who hate Him, a people continually sinning against Him, a people not even seeking Him! It was an unfair trade: people who deserve punishment receiving a place in heaven (through no effort or merit of their own) and the one who deserves it giving it all away. There must be some mistake!

But then a God who is perfect never makes mistakes. He knew exactly what He was doing, and in doing it, He established the worth of people and, if you have come into relationship with Him through faith, your worth too. Let that sink in a moment. He traded Jesus for you, but not just you: for all those other people who come to know Him by faith as well.

The first trick is believing that ourselves. The second and sometimes more difficult trick is believing that about others! And that’s where I was stuck. I could get my head around the idea that God loved me, justified me by faith, redeemed me for Himself, and had a special plan for my life. Further, I was clear on His plan for me. I was called to build the church. Even if I did see people the way God saw people, I faced a perplexing dilemma. How could I build a great church with imperfect people?

As we read the New Testament, we find that God has called leaders—pastors, elders, deacons, parents, teachers, small group leaders, friends—to aid in the cooperative process of building people. The New Testament calls this discipleship. It is the impact of one life upon another, and it is a cooperative venture between believers. Leadership, followership, teaching, correction, accountability, friendship, sharing, participation, reconciliation, honoring, obedience—the
list goes on. These are all cooperative acts and part of the sanctification, people-building
process. Simply put, this is the work of the church: to build people (make disciples) and train
them individually and as a group (the local church) to extend His kingdom everywhere we find ourselves and even in places where we are not welcome.

This is so liberating. If we discover His vision for the particular church we lead and concentrate on helping people become like Him—think like Him, pray like Him, forgive like Him, obey like Him, serve like Him, love people like Him, give of ourselves like Him, yearn to advance the kingdom like Him—He will build the church.

The job is building people. 

Order your copy today and start empowering leaders in your church.

Michael led Manna Church from 350 to over 8500 members by focusing primarily on effective outreach and leadership development. Under his leadership, Manna Church has planted, or partnered to plant, over 75 churches worldwide and is engaged in a “multiply” strategy with a vision to plant an expression of Manna Church near every US military base in the world. Michael and his wife Laura, love endurance sports, both with over 25 marathon finishes. In addition, Michael enjoys triathlon (3 Ironman finishes) and Laura competes in ultra-marathons. They have 8 children, 19 grandchildren, and live in Fayetteville, NC.

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Greg Ligon

Author Greg Ligon

Greg Ligon has been with Leadership Network since 1997. He serves several Leadership Community Directors and oversees the organizations publishing partnerships. During his time at LN, he has also directed the Multi-Site Churches Leadership Community, Leadership Training Network and spearheaded strategic services for the organization. Greg is also one of the authors of The Multi-site Church Revolution and A Multi-site Church Road Trip. Prior to joining the LN team, Greg was responsible for creating and directing the United Methodist Campus Ministry at Southern Methodist University in Dallas for seven years. He also served as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Waco, Texas. Greg and his wife, Susan, have two sons, Daniel and Andrew.

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