categories: development, leadership, mentoring, relationships, team
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September 28th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

25 comments (+ Add)

Developing a Leadership Culture

One of the most important things we can do in our ministries is develop a strong culture of leadership. Too many pastors hope to find great leaders. In most cases, great leaders are built, not found.

Rather than searching for a developed leader, I like to search for a developing one. Those with more future potential than past success are often the hungriest and most willing to learn.

Average leaders look for great leaders. Truly great leaders find and develop other great leaders. This week, we’ll talk about developing a leadership culture.

What are you learning?

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  1. Sep 28, 2009 at 5:33 am

    I have always gravitated toward the people in the churches I served in who already have strong spiritual gifts of leadership. In fact I have been criticized for hoarding leaders in my areas of responsibility.
    I was thinking and praying about this very issue this morning before getting out of bed in fact, so this post is timely.
    Dave Gibbons says that he opens his home and spends time with emerging leaders at New Song. What I’ve decided to do is show up where young leaders are serving. I spend time with them and when asked (which happens now and then) share ideas and advice on how to help them improve their leadership gift.
    Those are my thoughts this morning.

  2. Sep 28, 2009 at 6:37 am

    I just wrote a post on this. I have a group of men thatI want to see God do something with and I am in my first three something to months here. I have done something with them in trying to lead them in them in becoming better leaders. I am leading them in fasting for real change, that would be trying to change the culture, not a cosmetic change. We are all fasting together each Wednesday with a specific purposes in mind. I am trying to get leaders to develop by leading them in change. I am also starting a 4 week series on fasting within the church. I want to see the leadership develop here.

  3. 3Debby
    Sep 28, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I’m learning leadership is more about showing than speaking; there’s always more to learn; and you can’t lead others without caring about others.

  4. Sep 28, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Just talked with some women in my life group about…Women and Leadership last week. Most have never really seen themselves as “leaders” based on “Christian culture/ no women preacher/pastors/leaders”… Except…Kids ministry,coffee, things like that. Nothing wrong with women serving where they are “called”( If it is children’s ministry).

    Most of the chicks openly admitted they serve in those designated ministries because it is “accepted”…they really don’t listen and see if they are called somewhere else. I would put myself in that group as well…but seeing such a powerful message through the “leadership” of Christine Cane really impacted so many. I would love to see more “STRONG” women develop in God’s family.

  5. Sep 28, 2009 at 7:31 am

    When I look for leaders, my prayer is that Jesus help me IDENTIFY leaders. In the same way that he’d walk right up to strangers, having identified them as people worth recruiting. I know my recruits may not be “ready” and I may not even be sure where I’m taking them–if Jesus helped me identify them, Jesus has something good in store for us both.

  6. Sep 28, 2009 at 7:43 am

    What am I learning? Hmmm…how inadequate I sometimes feel in my leadership. I am learning anew what different ideas people have about leadership in the church, particularly mine (role, position, power, etc). Where I thought I was doing exactly what needed to be done, someone else of a military background thought differently. Hoping you can help out this week Craig. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  7. Sep 28, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Leadership the ultimate calling!

    Are you are looking for leaders? They are mostly the ones with knifes in our backs and are very close to their families. God has raised a mighty army (battle ready) that is lying dormant in the wait. The wait for what, “you ask?”
    The Apostolic Leadership of the Saints.
    There is no more Discipleship in the church. (Like old) Mostly, because no one has the time to deal with other person’s mess. We need to go back to the basic. We must turn off the technology and turn on the Bible. We’re to business trying to entertain people into leadership that they cannot hear God for themselves. A true leader is against the world system (Saints) because God’s Words is the final authority.
    Be Transform by the Renewing of our minds, not Technology’s false hope. I’m not bashing technology because I’m in the multimedia field. But God has shown me that we’re teaching with our own testimony not God’s Word (which brings men unto salvation).
    We must encourage other to Read and Study their bibles daily. (This is God Holy Words of information and instruction) Leadership comes from the Word of God.
    God transformed me from a life without a father into a grace knowledge of knowing God as my true Father. I trust and believe that our testimony is for edifying God’s kingdom.
    We must, now, ask ourselves are we really doing God’s Will?

    Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
    Living Sacrifices
    1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    We must bring the Fire of the Word of God to our Churches in order to lead other into leadership which is the ultimate Calling. Our Faithfulness and joy will bring light to a dark world.

  8. Sep 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

    The biggest breakthrough I’ve experienced as a young developing leader is the fact that I don’t have to know it all before I can become highly effective.

    I’ve learned this through the transparency of high capacity leaders I’ve chosen to listen to.

  9. Sep 28, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I’m really looking forward to your posts this week. We are in the middle of a major shift with our staff and leadership issues are a major part of that. You’re right, the quick fix is to just go out and find a leader and that might be what’s needed, but thanks for the challenge today to look around and see who can be developed. God knows we need hungry leaders.

  10. Sep 28, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I am really learning that being a great leader is understanding that God’s direction for your ministry or church may be entirely different than what you had in mind. I am also learning when that may be the case, that even when it may scare you out of your mind, you MUST follow God’s leadership. When your people see you make decisions like this, they become better leaders. Here is an example

  11. Sep 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    In my experience with coaching pastors, most pastors haven’t had a lot of experience in developing themselves as leaders, much less developing people into leaders. This is not unlike most people in management positions in the marketplace, however people in secular leadership often have more exposure to leadership seminars (time management, executive coaching, communication skills, etc.). Great leadership starts with self leadership.

  12. Sep 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve realized that we (the church) often recruit people for volunteer leadership positions in ministry but never teach them any leadership principles or skills. Sure, we teach them how to do their particular area of ministry and then expect them to lead. I’ve worked to change that here at Mainstreet by taking my volunteer leaders through a monthly leadership training class - using simple tools like the book Developing the Leader Within You and the workbook The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, both by John Maxwell. So far, they really appreciate the opportunity to get better at what they do and in turn we’re trying not to expect volunteers to be “leaders” they day they sign up.

  13. Sep 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I’m learning right now to seek out the value in each person, and to learn how to add value to their journey before I ask them to participate in mine. It’s actually a lot of fun.

  14. Sep 28, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    It all starts and continues in, in, in.

  15. Sep 28, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    “Average leaders look for great leaders. Truly great leaders find and develop other great leaders.”

    Love the thought of developing a truly great leadership culture. This is truly a long-term strategy not a short-term. There are many organizations today that are trying to buy or find a quick fix. Championship Teams are not born overnight, nor is a leadership culture.

    Great job and setting the bar high, leading by example and opening your doors so we can come in and learn.

  16. 16Ginger B
    Sep 29, 2009 at 8:14 am

    One reason I really love working at is that Craig believes in the leadership abilities of all staff members, and continually tells us that. That doesn’t mean every person has to see the word “leader” in a title for them to be recognized. Instead, we in the Church are all called to lead so many people around us in various ways. It’s empowering and I love it!

  17. Sep 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hey Craig,

    I’d be interested in what your thoughts are on leaders who don’t have a lot of spiritual discipline.

    Is teaching discipline (bible reading, prayer, fasting, journaling) easy or tough?

    Do you look for leaders who have this foundation and then build in leadership qualities, or do you look for leadership qualities and then build spiritual foundation? Is there a difference?

    Do you have a process for releasing leaders?

    Just some questions and processes I’m working through too.
    Looking forward to this week.


  18. Sep 29, 2009 at 11:24 am

    One thing that I am learning is patience. I am 23 and am looking to be mentored into a leader. I know that I do not have things figured out and I am looking to be lead by a great leader so in turn can lead others.
    Where I need patience is finding someone to mentor me along. After striking out a couple of times with leaders I respect I am trying to remain faithful and patient in knowing that God is leading me to someone who can “show me the ropes”

    It does get frustrating for guys my age. I feel like we are kind of left on our own and expected to figure it out and then by age 35 we will start to develop into a leader. I know of a couple of guys, including myself, who have a servants heart and the gift of leadership and want to be shaped by someone, it just seems like leaders are get caught up in their own leadership and don’t look to lead other young leaders.

  19. Sep 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Jason, for my Lifegroup ministry, to release leaders I simply allow them to take control one week!

    Some of them I tag-team with…but one particular leader I was working on releasing I just completely allowed to have the reigns one Bible study!

    And now this leader is leading his own Lifegroup…which is running completely along with our vision. Different groups, different places, different times…yet one group :)

    So, again, it may be different for the ministry God has given me, but I’d pray about seeing if He wants you to allow one or a few leaders to step-way-up in leadership one week! Give em’ a taste of it!

  20. 21Rick W
    Sep 29, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I am stuck that God wired you for leadership BEFORE you were a passionate Christ-follower, as President of your fraternity.

  21. Sep 30, 2009 at 10:52 am


    I can identify. I’m only 27 and I was lucky enough to get a taste of mentorship in college, but didn’t get real leadership mentoring until this last year or so.

    I’ll definitely be praying that God send someone your way. I will say this too. LifeChurch has leveraged technology well, and while I prefer face to face mentoring they do have some cool resources that you might be able to leverage to get yourself in an online mentorship.

    Press on Bro. God is Good…

  22. Sep 30, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Hmmm? Leadership?

    Just wondering how you reconcile
    the use of the word “leader”
    with what Jesus said in Mt 23:10.

    The word “leader”seems like
    a “high place.” Yes?

    Jesus always took and recommended
    the “low place.” Yes?

    Jesus humbled Himself,
    made himself of no reputation
    and took on the form of a servant.
    Php 2:7

    Jesus in Mat 23:10 told His disciples “NOT” to call
    themselves master/“leaders”
    for you have one master/”leader” the Christ.

    King James Version -
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for one is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible -
    Nor be called leaders,
    for one is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English -
    you must not let people
    call you leaders,
    you have only one leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version -
    nor should you be called leader,
    your one and only leader
    is the Messiah.

    The Amplified-
    you must not be called
    masters (leaders)
    for you have one master (leader)
    the Christ.

    Jesus told His disciples “not”
    to be called “leaders”
    and none did.

    Ro 1:1 Paul,
    a servant of Jesus Christ…

    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus,
    the servants of Jesus Christ…

    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you,
    a servant of Christ…

    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God…

    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God…

    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant…

    His disciples “all” called themselves “servants,”
    none called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

    If someone
    calls them self a “leader”
    or thinks they are a “leader;”

    Are they a “disciple of Christ?”

    And other sheep I have,
    which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring,
    and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be one fold,
    and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.

    If Not Now, When?

    Be blessed and be a blessing.

  23. Oct 1, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve been learning for the past few months the power of a clear and compelling vision.

  24. Oct 2, 2009 at 11:01 am

    [...] Groeschel on Developing a leadership culture. This is hard and does not happen by accident in any church, but it is so [...]