3 Steps to Developing Leaders
The questions kept nagging him. He approached the Lord often in prayer, seeking wisdom and a solution to his dilemma. He knew the time for his departure was drawing near. Who would oversee his vast network of churches that stretched from Jerusalem, through Asia and southern Europe, all the way to Spain? No one person was sufficient for the task.
At long last the solution presented itself.
He would handpick men and delegate regional oversight of the church to them. Spiritually minded men he knew and trusted. Men he had trained himself.
He would set them free to do the work through these three steps to leadership development.
1. Set direction
The apostle Paul established a simple, easily followed model of leadership development for churches. It is a three-step process that still works today.
The first thing he did was to set direction for the men he was training up to lead the churches. He knew that all the churches needed to be strengthened. Perhaps he sensed something lacking in the church of Ephesus. They would eventually descend into cold, dead orthodoxy (Revelation 2:2-4). The churches in Crete, like Ephesus, were in grave danger from false prophets (Acts 20:29-30; 1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 1:10, 3:9-11).
He made sure both men understood that these churches needed protection.
So, he delegated the job of appointing from within each church men of good repute (Titus 1:5-19; 1 Timothy 3:17) who could teach and defend (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9) the believers from predation by fraudulent teachers.
Paul delegated protection of the church at Ephesus to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3). He gave guidance about how to fulfill the task (1 Timothy 1:4-7) and outlined what Timothy should teach the believers (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
To Titus he delegated finishing up establishing the churches in Crete on firm ground (Titus 1:5; 2:1). Paul specified which men to appoint as leaders who would protect the churches (1:6-10). He also highlighted what Titus should teach the people about godly Christian conduct.
The third step in Paul’s leadership development process was to encourage Timothy and Titus. Knowing them well, he encouraged each man in a manner that suited their personalities.
He referred to Titus as a true son in the faith, which surely invigorated his resolve (Titus 1:4). He encouraged Titus to exercise his God-given authority despite his relative youthfulness (2:15). Paul affirmed his love for Titus, urging him to return quickly when replacements showed up (3:12).
Paul’s fatherly relationship with Timothy is seen in the warm but firm advice to remain firmly committed to the faith and to a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19). Perhaps Paul alluded to the glad hope of all believers (“well done, good and faithful servant”) by reminding Timothy that by faithful teaching he will be a good minister of Christ (1 Timothy 4:6).
He encouraged him, as he encouraged Titus, to exercise his authority without concern for his relative youthfulness. In fact, chapters 4-6 are laden with pep talk intended to fortify the resolve of a timid younger man.
There’s no mystery to leadership development in the church. Leadership is a position of service. It isn’t dependent upon one’s charisma, worldly success, or professional status. Rather, leaders are those chosen for their character.
Pastors develop those of good repute into effective leaders by setting the direction for their service, delegating specific tasks with general guidelines, and then constantly encouraging them to overcome self-doubt.