Developing Leaders Follows the Example of Christ
By Pam Ekey
Recruiting and developing leaders is vital to the success of the congregation, said Rev. Mike Schreiner, lead pastor of Morning Star Church in O’Fallon. Not only that, the process of developing leaders is following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Schreiner is the founding pastor of Morning Star, which has grown from 40 persons in 1999 to more than 2,000 in worship today. He presented a workshop on “Leading Leaders Who Lead Others” during the Annual Conference.
Schreiner said in every place he has served he has learned the importance of developing leaders. “Leaders are important. In each appointment I have served, I couldn’t do everything on my own. I couldn’t be at all places at all times,” he said.
He pointed to the example of Jesus, who identified, recruited and mentored 12 leaders, who became the first apostles. After they had traveled with Jesus for a while and learned from him, Jesus sent them out into the villages to teach and heal. Later they came back to Jesus to reflect and learn more before they were ultimately sent out to become the first leaders of the Christian movement.
“Christian leadership is an extension of our discipleship,” he said. “Christian leaders need to be nurtured and mentored, so they can grow into their role.” He stressed servant leadership that is modeled after Christ. Leading from the bottom up is about empowering others, he explained.
He said developing Christian leaders is a multiplication process. He encouraged pastors to identify five to seven potential leaders and “pour into them” or mentor them for a year. Those new leaders will be asked in turn to identify five to seven leaders for mentoring in the second year. In the third year, the original group of leaders, plus the newly trained leaders, are again asked to identify and train five to seven new leaders. Each year the process is repeated. In just a few years, the process of identifying new leaders will go beyond the walls of the church and into the community.
Schreiner recommended two books by Peter Scazzero. They are Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Leader. He also suggested Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.
Every step of the process is centered on Christ. “There’s no universal plan that works for every church. You have to adapt the plan to fit your context,” he said. First pray for guidance. Determine a vision for the church. Establish a timeline, identify needed resources and plan for the first group. Then identify and recruit the initial group of potential leaders. Give clear expectations about what the training or mentoring process is supposed to accomplish. “We fulfill our godly mission when we develop godly people,” he said.