Making Space For Leaders

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What is one challenge that comes up a lot when you develop leaders?

  • Making space for them.
  • Part of this is about actual opportunities for them to do things (for example preaching).
  • Another is peer pressure and rivalries amongst the team.
  • This was there with Jesus’ disciples – there was rivalry about who was the greatest.
  • People can also come in with some history – this was the case when Barnabas brought Paul to Jerusalem.

How do you still give people opportunities even when there are issues to iron out in their character?

  • Acknowledge that it’s there and challenge it.
  • Even though Jesus saw this in his disciples, it didn’t stop him making decision to give people different opportunities to other people (such as taking the three up the mountain).
  • As soon as you give someone an opportunity you have to manage the expectations and disappointments of others.

How do you help people process it when others are given opportunities?

  • Spend time with them.
  • Don’t let situations like this block you from giving opportunities.
  • Often senior leaders in churches can be worried about creating this kind of problem – but it will always happen as you bring people through.
  • It is a very time demanding thing. Some people need an arm round them. Other times people need an explanation.
  • You need to deal with it. A lot of leaders ignore it but this can get you into a lot of trouble.

How do you deal with asking people to relinquish something to make space for others?

  • When people have roles, these roles can become their identity.
  • It can cause people to ask whether they are not doing well enough.
  • You need a church that is growing to create more opportunities.
  • Invite people to have a go at other things.
  • It takes time. People need some time to process it.

Should we bring new people through from the start in a church plant or do we need stability first?

  • The first group of people who are there in a church plant are often there because they see an opportunity.
  • It is easy to over-promise and under-deliver at this stage.
  • Don’t suggest to too many people that they will be on the leadership team for years.
  • At the same time, it is a good moment to bring people through.

Is it better to bring people through into established spaces or do you ask them to carve out their own space.

  • It’s both.
  • By pioneering new sites (rather than going in with ready-formed congregations) this creates new space.
  • It is good to help people carve out the space rather than just leaving them to it.

How do you help the leaders that you raise up create space for others?

  • Most people grow best through the hard times.
  • But after people grow through hardship they want to make it easier for others.
  • They are trying to protect people from the very thing that made them grow.
  • It is the pain that actually helps you grow.
  • It’s a constant process of working at this generationally.

Do you have any final words on this subject?