Turning Team Members Into Team Leaders

Published by Leadership Network | Jun 17, 2019 | 3 min read

Most team leaders today focus almost entirely on leading their ministry team and “getting the tasks done.” Great leadership development churches have added an “AND” to that focus. Yes, team leaders are trying to get something done but also are committed to raising up new team leaders as well.

Just as when Jesus ministered to the masses, he embraced the “AND.” He ministered, and he raised up 12 disciples who would be able to be spiritual leaders as well.

In order to raise up team leaders from his or her team, the current team leader would need to embrace three key principles.

#1: Discovering Potential Spiritual Leaders

If I’m going to select somebody to become a leader, what am I looking for?  

Here’s what I’d look for:

  1. Spiritual Velocity: The first characteristic that I would be looking for is what I would call spiritual velocity. Now in some churches, it’s how long you have been a believer or how long you have been coming but I actually think spiritual velocity is really important. How much do they love God, how passionate are they for Him and to live the life He wants, how much are they growing?
  2. Faithfulness: Faithfulness can look differently, but it includes things such as do you show up on time? When you say you’re going to do something, do you do it? And do you do it well? When you’re part of a team, are you passionate about what the team is doing and about the team’s mission? I’m looking for people that have faithfulness and you can count on them.
  3. Character: Character can mean a lot of different things to different people. Often I think about it as “do I have any concerns about how they operate, treat people, handle themselves?”
  4. Parking Lot Test: If you see someone in the parking lot can you hardly wait to go, “Brent, let’s go talk to him,” or is it like, “Let’s pretend we didn’t see him so we won’t have to talk to him.” You’re looking for someone that encompasses a little bit of emotional intelligence; they can gather people, they’re warm, and they’re friendly.

#2: Developing Potential Spiritual Leaders

The most robust models of leadership development are the apprenticing models — meaning on-the-job training. Great developers of leaders have figured out what the top 4–5 things leaders need to be able to do to lead the team. They then “apprentice” them with on-the-job training in each of these 4–5 areas.

In each of these areas, the up-and-coming leader would gain experience through the following process:

  1. Phase 1 – I do, you watch, we talk.
  2. Phase 2 – I do, you help, we talk.
  3. Phase 3 – You do, I watch, we talk.

#3: Deploying Spiritual Leaders

When an existing leader is releasing a new leader to lead on their own, there needs to be a coaching relationship. It’s not, “good luck and I hope it goes well.” It’s the idea of “how do I have a relationship where I’m going to continually help him or her to be great at what he does?” So that’s the whole area of coaching. 

I love the coaching questions developed at Community Christian Church in ChicagoThey use these with all their leaders:

  1. How are you doing?
  2. What’s going well?
  3. What’s your biggest challenge?
  4. So what are you going to do about it?
  5. How can I help?
  6. How can I pray for you?

Great leadership development churches turn team members into team leaders, and are great at discovering, developing, and deploying spiritual leaders.


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