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Step One of Leadership Development


What‘s stopping your church from fulfilling the Great Commission? What is stopping your church from sharing Christ with your community, building small groups or Sunday School classes, from staffing children’s ministries?

You might say, “I don’t have enough people. I’m boiled down to just a faithful few and we’re doing all we can. And we can’t do any more than we currently do.”

But here’s another reason. And I will use myself.

The reason we were falling short...The reason we were not fulfilling the Great Commission is that we were just doing church and not intentionally developing leaders.


This is Mark Jones and I help pastors create leaders.

Now is the time to get intentional and begin to create a system that will develop future leaders.

In the last episode, I presented a biblical foundation for Leadership Development. I shared with you three Scripture passages:

  • Matthew 28:19-20
  • Ephesians 4:11-12
  • And 2 Timothy 2:2

I discussed that God has commissioned you to Make Disciples, ;that God has gifted you to Equip the Saints for Ministry, and God has entrusted you with the responsibility to train Multiple Generations of Leaders.

If you have not listened to this episode I recommend that you do so.

Today we will build upon this simple foundation and begin to construct a simple Leadership Development System.

Today is that first step.

Here are a few ground rules for ME as we go forward.

  1. Anything I share with you on this podcast must be simple and actionable.
  2. The system we create must be attainable by both small churches and large churches.
  3. I want to keep these episodes short and give you something you can easily do before the next episode drops. So I will give you a bit of homework.

With that said, let’s get to work.

Step One - The What

Here is our first step in creating a Leadership Development process.

You need to determine the What and the Why of this system.

Let me explain.

You are going to start creating a Leadership Development system by looking at the end of that process, the finish line. I want you to determine the finished product before you determine the system to get there.

To do that, you need to know What you are developing and Why you are developing it.

Here’s an example.

Remember in the last episode I shared with you that my elders were concerned. They felt strongly that we needed some new elders and some new Sunday School teachers.

That then is my What.

What do I need to develop, what kind of leader do I need to develop? I need Elders and Teachers.

Truly my church needs more than that. I could use some new deacons and deaconesses. I could use some new workers in our Children’s Ministry. I could really use someone to develop an outreach team. On and on I could go.

That might be your case as well. You might need all types of leaders. But no church and no pastor can develop all of these at once. So we need to make a choice based on an immediate need. And this immediate need, if developed, will lead to the development of other leaders.

Here is what I mean.

Let’s you and I answer the first question:

What Leaders Do You Need to Develop?

Take a minute to brainstorm and then write down every leader you need to develop.

I’m going to write down Elder, Sunday School Teacher, and I’m going to write down all the others I mentioned – Deacons, Deaconesses, Outreach Team, Children’s Ministry workers.

You do the same – Write down every leadership position you need. Answer the first questions -What Leaders Do You Need to Develop?

So you have before you a list of the leaders you need to develop. 

Out of that list, you need to pick just one. I know you want to develop all but that’s not practical. Choose one.

How do you choose the one? For me, I’m going to listen to my elders. They pointed to the need for new elders and Sunday School teachers. But that’s two, not one.

Then I’m going to think about this – If I develop one of those will that process lead to the development of another. For me the answer is yes.

Here’s what I mean. For the most part, our adult Sunday School classes are led by our elders. If I develop elders I am also developing Sunday School teachers.

I can pull back and look at this another way.

If I develop men I can then begin to identify those who would function well as elders and those who may function better as deacons.

That idea takes in the direction of discipleship. I’ll have more to say about how to use discipleship to develop leadership in a future episode.

But going back to the idea of first developing men, I am now setting up the possibility of identifying both elders and deacons and then from that pool of men and developing the leaders.


So look at your list. Ask yourself a few questions.

  1. What leader do I need to develop that fills the most immediate need?
  2. What leader, if developed, will also lead to the development other leaders?

Now that you have determined What Leader to develop it’s time to determine the Why.

Step Two - The Why

Answer this question – Why does this church need a _________________ fill in the blank or Why does this church need this leader?

Why does my church need elders?

I don’t want to get all Simon Sinek on you. Simon Sinek is a leadership expert who has written a few books on Why. His best seller is Start with Why.  If you have 15 minutes I would encourage you to watch his Ted Talk on this subject. I’ll give you a link in the show notes.

Simon Sinek Tead Talk:

I’m going to use the Why question this way. – I’m going to use Why as a filter or a second check.

When you answer the question, Why do I need this leader? In your answer, you should be able to link the need to your church's mission.

I believe God has already given every church its mission statement. He gave it to us in Matthew 28:19-20. Where I pastor we have simplified that commission with this Mission Statement – Our mission is to Share Christ and Build Believers.

When I answer the question Why do I need Elders? It needs to support the mission statement. Our elders definitely play an important role in Building Believers.

So when you answer the Question – Why do I need this leader? – Make sure the need of the leader supports your church’s mission.

If you can’t come up with a good reason why or it does not support the mission then maybe you need to pick a different leader to focus on.

  • Step One – Determine What Leader you will develop first.
  • Step Two – Ask yourself Why do we need this leader?
  • And now Step Three – Write a Job Description for this position.

Step Three - Job Description

This job description is more for you than for them. This step is essential because this description will determine the core of your program.

Writing this Job Description will be your homework. I warned you that I would give you some homework.

Here’s a bit of advice on the Job Description. Keep it short.  Keep that job description to one page typed. And when I say one page I mean just the front, not front and back.

Years ago I wrote a job description for our Sunday School Director position. It was three pages long. No one could grasp what I wanted and it scared away every potential volunteer.

Keep it to one page. This one page will discipline you to really think about what is important for this leader to know and to do – the essentials of this position.

By the way – When you are finished with this job description – email it to me. I would love to see what you have created. You can email it to

So today we started at the end of the Leadership Development System.

  • to determine the What – What leader do you need to develop?
  • To answer the question, Why is does the church need this leader?
  • And we finished with some homework – creating a one-page job description for this position.


Thanks for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders.

I hope that what I have shared will help you develop the future leaders of your church. Don’t forget to email me with a copy of your job description.

The next episode will be an interview with Matt Lombardi and Rachel Baird of is a website that helps you find freelance ministry professionals. I know you will find this interview helpful because Matt has created a website where you can go and hire team members that will fill your church’s immediate ministry needs.

Don’t forget the upcoming Mastermind. I offer two masterminds per year – one in the Spring and one in the Fall.

We all need some advice now and then. With this mastermind, you can sit down with a few fellow pastors and ask them for feedback. They’ll listen to you and then share with you their experience.

Everyone gets to share what they are working on and get feedback from fellow pastors. A mastermind is a great learning experience.

So go to for more information. I would love for you to be a part of this experience.

Please share this episode with others!