Have you ever met a multiplying leader? They’re wired differently. You might be asking, “Well…uh…what is a multiplying leader, Pete?” That’s a great question.
Multiplying leaders are leaders who are passionately consumed with a singular focus: developing leaders who in turn develop leaders.
When you get to know one, you’ll know. Whatever question you ask them about, they always bring it back to developing a leader who will invest in another leader. I wish it was more common, but honestly, it can be rare to meet one of these leaders.
Imagine my surprise when I found two of them! And they’re married! Joseph and Lindsay Rangel of Peak City Church in Colorado Springs are multiplying leaders. What wasn’t a surprise was when I asked both of them what were the three biggest challenges they were facing headed into 2022.
The Three Challenges
Joseph and Lindsay began to tell me this story: If you ask a worship/production/creative team member, “What is worship? How do you measure it?”, most responses reveal an inability to land on a solid answer. Yet, the truth is, what we believe determines how we worship. When our beliefs are vague and undefined, it doesn’t translate into what we’re doing, into what we’re investing hours and weekends into. That leads to burnout and a lack of impact and influence on other developing leaders. Those leaders don’t know what they don’t know, and their teams, those they are mentoring, will follow suit.
His description of the first challenge reminds me of a growing trend I have personally experienced over the past five years. I’ve seen a lot of senior/lead pastors downplay the importance of learning theology as if they assume people would run from their buildings if they were asked to actually study. In a day and age where pastors are less and less formally educated, it’s easy to understand why. But, if you don’t think that trickles down to your team, let me share something with you.
I saw this trend with a church that I was serving as an executive pastor. One day I put out a short survey. Out of roughly 30 staff people, more than half said they did not believe that the Bible was authoritative and relevant for today. In fact, many of them knew very, very little about the Bible at all. I’m not joking. I’m also not judging. It’s not their fault. They were not evil or intentionally rebelling against the Bible and its teachings, and they weren’t being lazy. So I immediately offered an “Intro to the Bible” class to help introduce them to something I knew God would pursue them through. We had great discussions and it was beautiful to see their hearts.
Joseph and Lindsay are right. You can’t pass on what you don’t possess. So, their goal is to take the challenge and help their teams form their theology and they know it’s not a short game, it’s a long game, an investment. It’s been beautiful to watch as they both dive in with so much love for the leaders entrusted to them.
Hebrews 11 makes a promise. God’s Word is a multiplier. It doesn’t return void. It doesn’t say it will transform you into a scholar or a seminary graduate, but it will fill you and consume you if you surrender to it.
Imagine the impact of daily surrender upon your worship.
Becoming God-Confident Again
Joseph and Lindsay saw one of the lasting marks of the pandemic was the thumbprint it put on creatives and the creative realm. There were very polarizing moments through the pandemic. This side vs. that side. Social media was full of opinions and trolling. As a whole, Christians didn’t shine through those moments like we should have. As a result, many, not just creatives, have unwittingly grown passive in sharing their faith. The idea of saying “I am a Christian” or “I’m a Christ follower” began to feel divisive and potentially offensive. Again, no judgment. When you sit on the couch of life observing a yelling match going on, you can feel like a child in an abusive home environment. You become Switzerland.
Joseph and Lindsay felt called to respond with support and being less directive, because they saw that team members needed simple encouragement. Love and support are the right response when we see so many traumatized by what’s going on in our culture. Again, you see the acceptance of the long game. There is no short fix to heal trauma or shame.
A multiplying leader invests deeply into loving team members and supporting them. That investment, over time, will empower and equip those leaders to do the same for so many others. They had to go no further than the Word and encouraging their teams with the loving words of our Father. Our God is a hound from Heaven who pursues us and He loves to pursue us through His Word. God will work to make them God-confident again. God doesn’t shout or troll; He loves and pursues.
Imagine how much God’s pursuit and love will impact your worship.
Joseph and Lindsay found that team members were far more likely to have negative self-talk and more quickly believe that over what God says about them. This year brought a blurring of the place emotions should hold within us. So many were blind to the fact that their emotions were becoming hooks that were leading them around, oftentimes by the nose. Many of us can easily get there. Joseph and Lindsay saw that helping their team members understand that emotions can be signs that are telling us things, but they don’t have to own us and lead us around. To watch them do this is so life-giving. They are continually beacons and messengers to their team members of how God sees them and what He says about them.
So much in our world is trying to silence us. I’m reminded of when Jesus rode through Jerusalem on a donkey and people began to lavish praise on him. Some wanted to silence those people, but Jesus replied, “If you silence them, even the rocks will cry out.” Every time I read that section in Luke, I’m brought back to Amanda Cook reflecting on those phrases before leading the song “So Will I.” She explained that sometimes we take that statement and we see it as a threat or a missing out. That if we don’t sing and participate, then we’re missing out, someone else somewhere else will worship.
But, she asked this question: “What if it is not so much a threat, as it is a promise? What if it is that if we forget whose we are, if we forget how to worship the rocks, the rocks will tell us the truth?” Her point was that if we simply look, creation will remind us. It was one of the most impactful and beautiful lead-ins to worship. She let the audience know that, if they found themselves in a spirit of desolation, they could simply observe and take in the promises of God. Then, she turned to those who were there with a spirit of consolation and she encouraged them to break more into song because they were singing for those who could not, in order to point their dear brothers and sisters to the promises they need to hear.
Imagine your worship as you believe in a God who is erasing a hundred billion failures and speaking truth against the lies in our hearts.
An Investment in the Long Game
The last year has been a lesson in the long game. Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer. After 27 rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries and no end in sight promised, I had to embrace that I was in a long game. This game was about HOPE. I realized that Jesus had asked for his Father to remove the cup in front of him, but the silent answer was a No. But Hebrews tells us that in that moment Jesus looked forward to the joy awaiting him and he turned towards the cross and endured the shame. He took HOPE in the promise of his Father.
I know it is tempting as leaders coming out of the last year to just want the short game, just give us a quick win. I get it. But, often, multiplying through mentoring, encouraging, and loving your teams is a long game. The challenges Joseph and Lindsay identified can’t be solved in a snap. Multiplying leaders invest in the long games. A journey can be long, but it doesn’t mean God is not at work!
Imagine your leadership when you trust in the promises of God and wait on him!
Be still. He’s stirring. His work does not return void.
Pete Heiniger is currently Content Curator at Leadership Network and has served as an executive at Faithlife, a VP at Outreach, and as the Executive Pastor of Discovery Church in Colorado.