Leadership Pipeline: In one? Should You Have One?

In your educational experience, it’s likely you’ve participated in a group project – specifically, the much debated and mainly loathed kind where you don’t get to choose who’s in your group. Most group participants seem to have one thing in mind: How can I get the best grade while contributing the least amount of effort?

Although I won’t admit that I might’ve been that guy in some of my educational experiences, I’ll admit that I’ve been that guy recently.

Despite my lackluster contribution, I recently participated in a group with LifeWay Leadership that created a new tool with you in mind: leadership pipeline. Leadership pipeline is a practical tool to implement in your church. You may or may not have even known you needed it, but you do.

For each role in your church, both paid and volunteer, do you know the competencies required to do that role well? If you thought someone needed to take on a more substantial leadership position, would you know which new skills they’d need to succeed? What training would be required? What are the non-negotiables for spiritual maturity to serve in any given role?

Along with some pretty fine leaders at LifeWay and some church practitioners, this group determined four roles of leadership within the church: volunteer, leader, ministry director, and senior leadership. They also established six core competencies essential for leadership development: discipleship, vision, strategy, collaboration, people development, and stewardship. The team then created specific learning objectives related to each competency, for each role.

I think the following leadership pipeline resources would be worth your investigation…

  • Developing Your Leadership Pipeline is a free, short e-booklet that covers the basics of leadership pipeline. Todd Adkins wrote this to-the-point, helpful overview. Download your free copy here.
  • LifeWay Leadership has launched a free app packed full of content from Christian leaders. Download the app here.
  • Video content for each learning objective is available on Ministry Grid, an online training tool. Get a free 30-day trial. Likely, you’ll be convinced that the people you serve alongside need to hear this practical training, and you’ll consider a church subscription. Ministry Grid also offers a digital pass version of leadership pipeline videos here. Digital pass is a one-time purchase. If you purchase more than one level, go ahead and get a Ministry Grid subscription.
  • Several free webinars also explore how to develop a leadership pipeline in your church to develop people. Webinars will be held May 17th, July 21st, and September 20th. Find more details and register for webinars here.
  • Last, but not least, come visit me in Nashville. Or, come and visit me and a whole bunch of people whose books sit on your shelves (such as like Carey Nieuwhof, Will Mancini, Jenni Catron, Brad Lomenick, Paul Tripp, and more) at the first-ever Pipeline Conference. Day 1 will cover what developing leaders in the church looks like, and Day 2 will provide coaching and consulting to implement leadership pipeline at your church. Early-bird pricing is available through August 1st. LifeWay Leadership secured a cool venue, and I can say from experience, Nashville in October is a good place to visit. See details and a short promo here. LifeWay is offering a 15% discount to speakers who bring their friends. Use the code “speaker16” when you register.

I write about self-development quite a bit, and the LifeWay Leadership team has provided accessible content to help you be a better leader in your church.



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