Finding and Developing Leaders

August 03, 2016

by Dave Zietlow Leaders in many faith organizations are typically appointed for a period of time, often three years. This frequently happens once a year and often as a process of seeking people to fill open leadership roles. At Assurance UMC, we seek to grow leaders through an intentional process of identifying, encouraging, equipping, and apprenticing leaders through a year round process. This process combines aspects of leadership succession planning and the apprenticeship process to build a culture of relational discipleship. Pastor Chris Westmoreland, AUMC's Lead Pastor this past year, believes that "the combination of lay leadership succession planning and apprenticeship has grown leaders and significantly smoothed out the lay leaders nominations process. We are blessed to have leaders identified and developed as leaders for our extensive ministry and administrative teams."  Hope Maske, the Church Council Chair is a product of this on-going and intentional process: "As one of the church leaders, I am constantly in awe of the amazing lay leadership at Assurance. Through my mentor's apprenticeship, I grew spiritually, learned about my passions, and answered calls to co-lead and then lead teams, growing my successors through the same process along the way." One of the key leadership development initiatives is in deepening discipleship to develop current and future leaders through intentional identification of apprentices; create candidate pools in order to ensure adequate numbers of equipped candidates; and provide training/equipping opportunities. This LEAD process: ‘L’  Learn Leadership Skills; ‘E’ Encourage SHAPE; ‘A’ Apprentice Others; and ‘D’ Disciple Through Grow & GO. The process is tied to the church’s singular mission to follow Jesus to “Grow and Go”. Assurance is Growing Disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ so that we can Go serve Christ in the world. In “Growing and Going”, we emphasize the 3 S’s: SpiritServe, and Share. We grow our Spirit in worship, prayer, and small group connections. We grow by Serving others inside and outside the walls of the church. And we Share our gifts and the good News that God loves us all. These are some key results from this LEAD process: Identification of Apprentices - We continue to find future leaders to work alongside current leaders through intentional invitation. We explore member gifts through SHAPE, participation in small group and ministry work, and a heart for leadership. Candidate Pools – We create pools of candidates for leadership positions that have been pre-identified as candidates last year and throughout this year, many of whom have received encouragement and development opportunities during the following year. We believe in co-chairs for our administrative teams for continuity of leadership. We believe ministries we are called to start should have three leaders at their inception: one who is the visionary leader, one who is the logistics and equipping leader, and one who is the inviter/nurturer of volunteers and partners to come alongside. Leadership Training & Development Opportunities - We continue to develop manuals and training events for our leadership. We believe a leader at Assurance should serve where God has equipped them and have a heart for Grow and Go. This is what we hope will be accomplished by our year around lay leadership team:
  • Fill the key leadership roles with our church community
  • Discuss and recommend that a new leadership structure be adopted that is more conducive to successful missional and vital UMC congregations
  • Support the future leadership needs of a multi-site church
  • Recommend Leadership Celebration and Development Days
  • Affirm GROW & GO characteristics of Spirit, Serve, And Share as a part of leadership
We seek to build the leadership of the faith community intentionally all year long. There are so many examples of successful apprenticeship and succession planning successes. Hope provides one such example:
  • Moved from leading a ministry to apprenticing as a small group leaders to leading the small group
  • Identified a co-leader for the small group and apprenticed her into a leader
  • Moved on to SPRC, apprenticed as a SPRC co-leader, moved to SPRC leader and helped with lay leadership identify a co-leader whom Hope apprenticed
  • Selected to be co-chair of Church Council and apprenticed to become the Church Council Chair, then apprenticed the new co-leader identifed
At Assurance UMC, we seek to grow leaders through an intentional process of identifying, encouraging, equipping, and apprenticing leaders through a year round process. This process combines aspects of leadership succession planning and the apprenticeship process to build a culture of relational discipleship. If you are interested in more information, please feel free to contact Dave Zietlow. Director - Leadership Development AUMC (dave@assuranceumc.org) or visit his leadership website at www.dpzleadership.com.
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.