While there’s no denying that some leadership traits seem inborn and God given, there is much we can do to train new leaders for the task of tomorrow's church. The new leader is more about developing other leaders than about acquiring new followers.
Two factors make this the most important change we can make. One is that we are in a leadership crisis in our local churches. Without a new wave of leaders, we cannot adapt to this rapidly changing culture. Sometimes, we know what needs to be done to bring about remaking the church, but we simply do not have the leadership to implement the changes. This can be seen in points highlighted in the recent United Methodist Church Vital Congregations report:
We need more small groups but don’t have the leaders to start them.
We need more programs for children and youth but lack the leaders for the basic ministries of Sunday School and youth programs.
We need to share our faith in worship, grocery stores, ball fields, locker rooms, restaurants and bars, yet most of our laity are uncomfortable and ill prepared to do so.
The second factor is the leadership model Jesus provided. He worked with the kind of ordinary people we see everyday. Yet he brought out in them the passion and belief to change the world. He focused on the transformation of those around him, and trained them how to navigate the world in which they lived. Jesus attracted followers, but that was not the focus of his work. The focus was on his disciples, his inner circle. According to plan, through them the world itself was transformed. Every leader today must see as his/her primary task to identify and unleash the leadership abilities in others.