Shift #2: Laying a new road
Check out part 1 and part 2 in this series on a new paradigm for leadership development.
Once when you begin to shift your time towards possibility people the next step is to recognize that developing a culture of leadership development:
Takes a shift from filling holes to laying a new road.
I drive the same way to our church every day, except when I don’t. That sounds like a strange thing to say but let me explain. The road that I take from my house to the church is beautiful. It meanders past horse farms and under archways of majestic trees. If it wasn’t for the fact that you have to keep your eyes on the speedometer as much as you do on the road it would be an absolutely idyllic journey (the Chicago Tribune recently rated it as the worst speed trap zone in the region). However, I live in Northern Illinois and each year as winter (which lasts for 6 months) turns to spring (which usually lasts for two and half days) the road becomes nearly impassible due to potholes. Every year for about six weeks, I have to take a different, longer route because the condition of that road just gets so bad, until the work crews come along and fill the potholes.
The problem with filling pot holes however is that the same places open up year after year and get bigger each time. The hole gets filled but the real problem never gets dealt with. A lot of churches spend their time filling potholes. Especially in churches with a large number of programs or ministries we can sometimes find ourselves looking for the next warm body to throw into the hole, to fill the gap. It might even be that your church has a nominating committee whose full time responsibility it is to fill holes. But do we ever ask why the hole opened up? Do we ever ask whether we still should be doing that ministry? Do we ever consider whether the person that we are trying to fill the hole with is really best suited there? Do we ever wonder if there is a better way to find leaders?
When you determine that leadership development is going to be an important part of the ministry of your church, you are essentially making the commitment to quit filling potholes and instead to lay a whole new road. Just remember that new construction does take time, but when the road is ready it’s a lot more fun to drive on!
Reflect: How are vacant leadership positions handled in your church?