Leaders Influence People. Great leaders don’t just influence people to follow them; they create more leaders who influence others. When you are leading people, you can affect their ultimate path. They follow your leadership and accomplish goals or reach destinations they wouldn’t have achieved on their own. When those goals or destinations are reached, you can say that you’ve done a good job as a leader. The problem is that everyone has a limit to how many people they can lead effectively. However, when you stop creating followers under your leadership and start creating or developing leaders, the number of people you can influence will grow exponentially.
Every church leader wants to see his or her congregation grow. Spreading the Gospel to all people is what we are called to do. Jesus said to “go and make disciples”. If all a church leader does is make disciples, it won’t be long before he finds the limit of how many disciples he can care for on his own. At that point, there are only a couple of options. A leader can either hire someone to share the load or he can learn to make disciple-makers instead of just making disciples. Churches don’t grow because the Senior Pastor is a great preacher or the worship experience is phenomenal. Churches grow because they are actively making disciple-makers.
There are a lot of things that I would rather take care of on my own. I know the process and the outcome that I want. I know the details of the projects and I know that I can get them done exactly how I want. Getting things done is not leadership, however, so I build teams to help me accomplish my goals. I lead those teams but still have my hands in every detail. Some might call it micromanagement, but that’s how I can be sure that everything is done correctly. I may be leading multiple teams at that point, but this does not make me a great leader. However, as I see leadership potential in some team members, I approach them about leading a team. As they begin to take over the responsibilities of leading, I am able to step back from overseeing the details and start to lead the leaders. This is what makes me become a great leader. To grow the teams and make them even stronger, I now help the new leaders learn how to develop other leaders within their own teams.
This same concept can be applied to church growth through a small group model. A church starts with nothing more than a pastor and twelve people. That church might grow a little as those people invite others to join them, but the pastor is going to reach a point when he cannot care for anyone else by himself. If the pastor begins developing those twelve people into disciple makers, they can then each begin leading their own groups of twelve. Suddenly, the church has grown from a small group of twelve to a church of 156. As each of those 156 people develops into disciple makers, the church grows again to 2,028 people. You can see how leading and developing other leaders can affect growth patterns significantly.
If you are stuck or have plateaued in the growth of your church or organization, step back and look at those you are leading. Are they leaders or are they followers? If they are leaders, look deeper to see if they are leading more leaders or if they only have their own group of followers. Chances are, you will find the place where your leaders are content with their own little group of followers. However, by igniting their passion for the vision, and leading them well by example, they will begin to create more leaders within their teams of followers.