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Can you be fussy in getting leaders for your children’s work?  I think you can.  If you just get a volunteer then they won’t put the effort in to really transform lives.  You can be fussy.  Look out for leaders, then train them right by allowing them to grow. When you are working in children’s ministry, every adult is a leader because every adult is a minister when they work with the children.

Spot a leader

A leader is someone who for some reason attracts people around them.  And then other people tend to listen to them.  But this isn’t always the case.  Moses was appointed by God, yet needed Aaron to speak for him.  Saul made a very bad leader even though he looked like he might be good.

So what makes a good God chosen leader?  Remember, that God looks at the heart!  Jesus took time out to ask God who he should choose form all the disciples.  Decisions come by prayer, not necessarily by looking at the skilful choices.  To choose leaders you need the gift of discernment.  Not got it?  Find someone who has.  It should be a spiritual gift of discernment, not someone who just happens to work in HR someplace.

Spot people by their gift, not by their skill alone…

Leaders grow where their gifting aligns with where you are asking them to lead

Make sure the leadership task you give them is aligned with their gifting. If it is not yet their skill then there is a place that they need training.  You can train a skill, you can’t train a gift.  Gifts were given for the building up of the church.  It says nothing about skills.  If someone operates in their gifts area they will fly, and become ambassadors of the work. They will put every effort into what they do and try to do the best possible every single time.  If it is just a skill they have then as soon as they have achieved the most they can grow in that skill they will look for something else.  People who use skills only as ministry also tend to seek commendation and status.  People who have gifting seem to be a bit more humble and seek only God’s favour.

Grow a leader in good soil

Give them a place where it’s going to be good for them.  It must align with their gift.  But after that it should be challenging to make them think, but not so much that failure will crush them.  Give them a responsibility such that if it goes wrong and they don’t put the effort in it matters, but be willing to help them through it.  Don’t blame them when it goes wrong, rather help them pick up the pieces.  Don’t pick up the pieces for them though and tell them to back off, sort it out together.  And if the mistake leads to people being upset, encourage the injured parties to take the right attitude of love, and then to come and speak gently.  If the new leader’s heart is right, they won’t need bawling out.  They also will need those other people to help them grow.  Sometimes they may even need your protection.  Love grows, and patience.  Hitting them doesn’t.  And growth can be painful, so nurture them.

Let new leaders make mistakes and learn to rely on God

If they don’t need to pray and rely on God to get them through it, then it isn’t scary enough.  It’s when we face scary things that we rely on God for that then we have a testimony.  They are also the stories we want to tell.

Release new leaders to lead after mentoring

It’s still true to say that the way you train someone is as follows: I do it, you watch. We do it together.  You do it, I’ll watch.  I’ll go train someone else, you get on with it.  Don’t be jealous of them if they do a job better than you.  Also, give them a wide space to develop their ministry.  If you have done all the above well for them, then they should be allowed to grow in God.

Help them to learn how to grow themselves

Use the pastoral cycle to help develop leaders’ skill on top of their gifting.  Help them to think through the action reflection cycle, but instead of just thinking what they could do different or better, ask them what God is wanting to teach them through it.  If development is based on enhancing a gift from God, then develop the character and the spirituality as well as the competency.  But competency will then come through practice, and if their character is right, then they will have a desire to improve and will ask for feedback.  This makes for a better relationship.

Be a great leader yourself and model it

make sure that you are modelling what good leadership is in the first place, but work hard at developing their leadership skills so that they surpass yours. A good leader should have at their heart seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly, and trusting God.  Can you model that?