I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is a one-year subscription to
Far too often in our world and even in our churches, leadership is seen more as a position of power than a position of responsibility. Development within a leadership pipeline requires an investment of intentional time and effort. You can’t simply equip and empower someone through email. True leadership development happens when your people are engaged by the mission, equipped to do it, and accept the responsibility to carry it out. This type of development begins with training done in-person or online, but ultimately the transfer of responsibility should occur up close, both shoulder-to-shoulder and eye-to-eye.
Jesus modeled not only how this development occurs but also how responsibility is transferred, as He rarely did the work of the ministry by Himself. Sure, He spent time alone, but when He ministered to people, His disciples were always nearby. Early on, they watched Jesus, but soon He asked them to serve with Him. Jesus then flipped the script and asked them to serve while He observed and helped. And even after He ascended into heaven, Jesus promised He would continue to help them by sending the Holy Spirit.
You see, Jesus wasn’t shirking His responsibility for the mission when He commissioned His disciples, He was sharing it. Developing the disciples the way He did ensured that His ministry would be carried forward. Ephesians 4:11-12 gives us a further example and reminds us that our one job as church leaders is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” Yet, we often feel we must take on all of the burden of ministry or we are shirking our responsibility. We fail to realize our impact in this world can multiply exponentially if we shift our focus from what we do to who we develop.
Most of us need some kind of starting point or a process to help us work through this unless we were lucky enough to have someone model this effectively in our own leadership journey. Once you have people effectively engaged by the mission, the following process is an example of how to ensure that they are equipped to do it, and accept the responsibility to carry it out.
The transference of responsibility framework allows the developer to gradually relinquish authority and fully prepare and equip a new leader to step into the role. This process can also be a great development tool that shows leaders exactly how they can multiply themselves through others as well. Leadership development is truly about both poetry and plumbing. We usually do a pretty good job of casting a vision that engages people to the mission, but often what we really need is a good framework that is simple, scalable, and repeatable. We trust that you have found this framework helpful and would encourage you to check out additional Leadership Pipeline resources on
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