Partner With Us

Partner With Us

by Tim Baker

After 10 years in youth ministry and just over 20 years as a senior pastor, I am amazed at how often I still have learning to do.

One of those areas of personal growth is the significant matter of developing leaders. Have I done it? Yes, I believe I have. Have I done it well? Perhaps. Could I do better? Absolutely. Which is why it was an easy “yes” for me when I was invited to take part in a cohort of sister churches across the country taking part in a leadership development training program.

I enlisted a team of 10 leaders from my church, mostly volunteers, to meet monthly and go through the Leadership Pipeline training with Mac Lake. Mac is a veteran church planter and pastor who has experienced great effectiveness in developing leaders for growing churches.

Over the past five months we have had monthly team meetings at my church, where we have wrestled with important questions, like What is our definition of leadership development? What is our strategy for identifying potential leaders? How do we properly vet them? How can we align our ministries so that every team in our church develops leaders in the same ways? How could we best use regular ministry team meetings as a key method of leadership development? How are we developing all leaders, including young and old, men and women? What skills does a leader need to have to be effective in ministry, and how are we training people in those skill areas?

One of the aha moments for our team came when we charted each ministry of our church and put those charts side by side. What we found is that our ministries’ methods and structures were all over the map.

The trainer encouraged us to align our ministries using similar vocabulary for each ministry role, so, for example, women’s ministry would develop leaders in the same way as kids’ ministry, youth ministry, worship ministry, etc. This simple act of alignment and shared vocabulary helped the entire team see how all of the ministries were accomplishing the church’s purpose together.

This fall we will kick off our ministry year with our Saturday Leadership Summit, where each year we gather the wide circle of our church’s leaders for training, motivation, and renewed energy in developing leaders. We need great leaders to accomplish great things, and this training has strengthened our focus and given us great energy for this important task.

Tim Baker is pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Salem, Ore.