TRAINING LEADERS - BUILDING A HEALTHY MINISTRY
Question: What can I do to train leaders, helping to ensure health of the ministry?
Answer: Training new leaders is an ongoing process, especially in this ministry. Leadership turnover is a constant reality due to the “sliding door” principle (leaders fulfilling their commitment, leaving the ministry, and moving into another area of ministry involvement in the church).
Actually, leaders leaving to minister in other areas of the church is a very common, and needed reality! It is a sign of health for single adults to move out of the ministry and into the larger life of the church. Integration into the total life of the church is one of the goals of single adult ministry. These adults need to mix with other individuals who are younger, older, married etc. There will be little understanding of single adults and their life, talents and benefit they can be to the church without them serving in other areas of the church!
Some basic training ideas for the single adult ministry leadership team include:
1. Meet individually with key leaders on a regular basis. This can be done over lunch, coffee, etc to express a personal interest in them, solve problems, brainstorm, pray for them, etc. I suggest meeting with two different leaders each month.
2. Meet with the leadership team on a regular basis. The “four I - words” can be a good guideline to follow in planning for these meetings.
a. Information - what needs to be conveyed by the director and each leader?
b. Involvement - what needs to be discussed?
c. Instruction - what needs to be taught for personal and ministry growth?
d. Inspiration - what needs to be shared for motivation?
3. Give reading assignments. Choose a leadership or ministry development book and ask the team to read a chapter and be prepared to discuss it at the next meeting.
4. Teach and discuss leadership principles. There are many good books which teach spiritual, organizational and ministry leadership principles.
5. Model transparency. The pastor/director needs to live a transparent and genuine life in front of the leadership team, as well as admit mistakes and weaknesses to the team.
6. Hold a leadership class once or twice a year for the purposes of:
a. Inviting and discovering potential leaders
b. Inviting and training existing leaders and potential leaders
c. Building unity in the leadership team
d. Imparting vision to existing and potential leaders
e. Improving leadership skills
f. Praying together
g. Spiritual growth of the leaders
7. Plan and host a leadership retreat. At least once a year plan and host a leadership retreat for the same purposes as the leadership class listed above, but also to have fun together! The retreat costs for each person should be subsidized by the ministry. Treat the leadership team as an elite, special group.
8. Pray consistently and persistently. The leadership team needs to be taught the dire importance of prayer, and their lives need to model an example of prayer for the rest of the group (2 Chronicles 7:14). The larger the ministry, the more prayer is needed. Without prayer, the ministry will become mechanical (going through the motions) and will lack effectiveness.
9. Honor a leader when he/she resigns. Interview the person in front of the group. Ask what they enjoyed about serving, what they learned from serving, and why they would encourage others to serve, etc.
10. Give a gift to the leader. Give a restaurant gift certificate to the person to take a friend to dinner. This shows you value the leaders who serve with you!