Most of us have learned the hard way that if we want to do something important, we need to have a good understanding of the basic principles of whatever we are attempting to do. Developing healthy ministry leaders is such an important endeavor that it clearly requires practitioners to discover the foundational beliefs related to developing said leaders.
We cannot get too basic when we are considering leadership development fundamentals. Remember, Vince Lombardi began his most accomplished football seasons by explaining to professional level players what a football was.
The key foundational beliefs we must grasp are the roles that God, the leader, and others working with the leader play in developing a leader. I credit my favorite leadership author, J. Robert Clinton, the long time Fuller Seminary professor, with helping me grasp this important concept in his book, The Making of a Leader, Second Edition.
Let’s focus on God’s role in developing leaders.
God is the primary developer of healthy ministry leaders. He creates, calls, develops and positions ministry leaders to accomplish the Ephesians 2:10* works He's created for His leaders. God’s work in a leader’s life covers their entire lifetime. It also involves allowing the leader to experience challenging and difficult events that are essential in their development. Through the sanctification process, God grows the leader’s faith and understanding of who God is and who the leader is. That growth provides the faith needed to sustain a healthy ministry leader.
If we consider ourselves a leader or someone who is called to work with leaders in their development, nothing is more important than acknowledging and then believing these truths about God’s role and our roles. The belief that God is the primary leader developer must be the “True North” that a leader uses to discern the jobs they take, the places they live and development activities they engage in and need to learn from. Those of us who work with developing leaders must use this same “True North” to align everything that is done to help a leader.
Please don’t let the obvious nature of this belief cause you to not give it deep consideration. Missing the concept that we are invited guests in God’s leader development process makes a big difference in how we consider our actions and the actions of others. It will change our prayer focus and it will help us seek out and focus on the most impactful things in the development of a leader. It will make us better stewards of this critical process.
So what do you believe God’s role is in developing His leaders? If you agree with the thoughts above, then what has God been doing in your life to prepare you for the roles He desires for you? Are the people that are working with you helping you discover God’s work in your life? What would that kind of alignment and help look like? What actions do you need to take to align with God’s work as He is developing you?
*For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10