Welcome to our final blog on the Church Engagement Model! Once again, let’s recap the previous five blogs before we begin. In the Church Engagement Model Part 1, we discussed the importance of meaningful and valuable member engagement to move members from Consumers (What’s in it for me?) to Contributors (How can I serve to multiply the Kingdom?). We introduced the Church Engagement Model and the five jobs every church does. We also pointed out how having an intentional measurable plan in place proves to be more successful. In Part 2 Church Engagement Model—Best Attract Strategies, we explored the first job of the Church Engagement Model—ATTRACT, and then we identified two key initiatives for ATTRACT: Positive Brand Awareness and SEO Metrics measured for current members. In the Best Get Strategies—Part 3, we discussed the importance of obtaining crucial data from those people interested in learning more about you. You move a person from ATTRACT to GET once you’ve actually gotten their name and contact information, and you can only get that precious data if you show that person it is in their best interest to stay connected! In Part 4—Best Retain Strategies, we presented ways to track and move people from one-time interactions to three or more recurring interactions. In Part 5—Best Grow Strategies, we learned ways to engage people and inspire faith growth in many different ways.
For our final blog, we will explore the final transition, in which someone who has grown in faith now desires to help expand the Kingdom of God by multiplying other leaders. Churches that succeed in MULTIPLY are actively developing leaders who are multiplying the mission of the church. These leaders are disciples who multiply future disciples. This has to be my favorite stage of the Church Engagement Model. It’s where we see Kingdom expansion truly taking place! The Unite Leadership Collective has come alongside several congregations to help them develop a plan to fully utilize the congregation for multiplication. Everything you need to build God’s Kingdom is already in your house, and at this stage, you get to witness the fruits of expansion! For more extensive training on creating your leadership development systems, we recommend attending our Leadership Development Accelerator cohorts where you can walk alongside other congregations who are developing their own Discipleship Pathway.
Multiply: Motivation: I want to contribute…
There are a few key questions for self-evaluation to know whether or not your church is succeeding at the job of MULTIPLY.
Do staff members see their primary jobs as leadership development?
Does the church have a well-defined leadership development pathway?
What are the most important characteristics and competencies for leaders to possess at each level to be 80% capable of leading in any department?
Are staff vacancies filled by people who were raised from within the community to create that upward draft?
A Development Culture
The first way to succeed in the job of MULTIPLY is to promote a culture of leadership development. Your leadership team needs to embrace the idea that the staff’s primary role is developing people, not completing tasks or projects. Missions Statements should also reflect people development as one of its key priorities. This is a major paradigm shift. Your congregation will expect the staff to be servants, and this is certainly true. But this means they must be “servant leaders” who achieve ministry outcomes through the empowerment and development of others.
Let’s take the example of selecting a Youth Director. The typical approach is to hire someone
who is dynamic and understands the best practices for teaching and leading youth groups. These are important skills. But if your ministry is growing, these workers will find themselves under a self-imposed “leadership lid.” They could be severely burned out if they are doing this on their own. Rather than being the person who “does” youth ministry, they need to be the person who “develops” youth ministry leaders by replicating themselves. This gives your ministry an unlimited scale and invests the church into the work of multiplication by intentionally raising new leaders. A great way to formally adopt this approach is to change the job title from Youth Director to Director of Youth Ministry Development.
This same philosophy applies to other ministry director roles, including pastors/preachers, small group leaders, hospitality crew, and administration. The potential to develop leaders should be a key selection in hiring criteria. It should also be reflected in performance reviews and the staff's personal goals. To summarize, MULTIPLY culture should be reflected in:
Job titles / Job descriptions
A Defined Structure
Your church needs to develop a standardized leadership development pathway to implement in every area of ministry. All paid staff members, volunteer leaders, and team members should then be able to articulate each step in the pathway, as well as the general scope of responsibility involved. This pathway should lead up to the highest levels of paid leadership, including your church’s senior leadership team.
A standard pathway looks something like this, with more or fewer levels depending on the size of the church:
Serving: People who serve on a team or participate in a group.
Leading: People who lead and develop teams or groups.
Coaching: People who lead and develop other leaders.
Directing: People who lead a wide area of ministry (youth, small groups, worship, hospitality, etc). The transition from coach to director is the point at which people become professional paid staff. All previous roles are generally unpaid.
Again, depending on the size of the church, you may add additional roles including people who lead over an entire campus or people who lead multiple campuses.
A final note on the benefit of a defined leadership structure. When the members of your congregation come to know this structure, it becomes more and more possible for them to personally envision themselves growing along this pathway. This is because you have effectively made the process transparent and achievable. You may be surprised how many people in your congregation dream of doing professional church work but feel intimidated about pursuing it. With the leadership pathway in place, you now have a new tool to help them explore this option for their lives.
Defined Character and Competencies for Leaders
With endless possibilities of leadership competencies to choose from, churches that succeed at MULTIPLY have done the hard work of defining what great leaders look like. This is done by defining the characteristics and competencies that should be the same regardless of what department a person leads. For example, we believe ALL leaders should be competent and have “ICNU” (I see in you) conversations to invite others into serving and leading roles. This is a skill (or competency) that can be taught, and it is reinforced by building on the personal character of esteeming others.
So now ask yourself the question. If a leader moves from one department to another, perhaps from worship to small groups, can you see how the skill of ICNU is directly transferable? Both types of leaders need to be fantastic at seeing people’s unique gifts and then inviting them into service. This remains true even though the scope and work of each department are different.
Your senior leadership team should come to an agreement on the top characteristics and competencies and make sure there is a process for teaching them to new leaders. These competencies will reflect the values of your local ministry. But generally speaking, we can say 80 percent of leadership attributes should look the same across all departments, and only around 20 percent are specific to the individual department. If there is a sudden loss of leadership in the Worship Team, it should be at least feasible for a Campus Director to temporarily fill that position, providing continuity of leadership, as he/she raises up the next Worship Director. Obviously, this person might not know how to play an instrument or sing, but he/she still knows how to lead a team and raise up future leaders. That’s what great leaders do.
Now for the other 20 percent, much can be learned on the job, but well-equipped directors may sometimes need formal degrees or even advanced degrees that give them a breadth of theological or technical knowledge in their specific areas. For this reason, many churches serious about leadership development form partnerships with local universities and seminaries that allow people to pursue formal degrees while also working and apprenticing in the local church.
To summarize, 80% of leadership character and competencies should be standardized across departments. The remaining 20% is departmentally specific and will be learned in context and sometimes with formal education.
Hiring from Within Is the Norm
So far we have looked at culture, structure, character, and competencies. The final topic for this post is establishing a norm of hiring from within. When there are vacancies, the traditional response from the local church is to look to the wider church network to fill the role. Here’s the problem. When your primary solution is to hire externally, you are not doing “Kingdom multiplication.” Rather, you are practicing “Kingdom redistribution.” Even worse, you are transferring your problems to another church which, in turn, loses a valuable leader.
Churches that excel at MULTIPLY go the opposite route. They establish an intentional
strategy of hiring from within. Typically, at least 85% of new staff should be hired from within the local church community, as products of the leadership development pathway. Because they have been raised internally, they’ve already bought into your church’s mission, vision, culture, and values. These leaders tend to be more loyal, and they are able to better serve their church because they are part of its congregation.
This goal may seem far-fetched, but when your team knows that their primary job is not performing tasks, but developing people, winning in this area becomes much easier. Leaders should know that they have a responsibility to apprentice new leaders who will replicate and multiply what they can do. When it’s time for a leader to be promoted or sent out to start a new ministry, this movement should be predicated on the success of training up their replacement. Senior and executive leaders should enforce this pattern without exceptions. As this practice becomes the norm, your leadership development system naturally creates an “upwards draft” of new leaders. New leaders are constantly being pulled up into service by the movement of people in higher leadership roles.
With all these benefits of raising leaders internally, why not make the rule 100 percent instead of 85 percent? An organization can also benefit from some recruiting of outside leadership. Outside leaders often infuse an organization with a diversity of perspectives. This can bring new creative ideas for problems that might otherwise go unnoticed and unchallenged. The key word here is “some” external recruiting, not “all” or even “most,”
Just the Beginning
If we truly believe that everything we need to do God’s work is already in our house, then it shouldn’t be hard to make the commitment to develop great leaders from among us. These are just a few of the many strategies great churches implement to become successful at the MULTIPLY. There is much more to be learned, but we wanted to give a sample of some of the best practices. Our hope is that this journey through the Church Engagement Model inspires you to take your first steps, especially on the mission of multiplication.
We Are Here to Help
Attract, Get, Retain, Grow and Multiply. It might seem overwhelming, but you are not alone. Many have journeyed before you, and many are ready to embark on this journey beside you. If you are struggling with any other stage in the Church Engagement Model, please reach out to the Unite Leadership Collective. We are eager to come alongside you and your congregation to help you intentionally succeed at any of these important jobs. Again, I recommend joining our upcoming Leadership Development Accelerator, which launches in August of 2022. It’s not too late to jump onboard. Contact us, and we can explore how to bring the Accelerator to you!