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Staff Search

How’s Your “Leadership Bench?”

| 2 min read

Written by Shay Wood
Jul 14, 2021 8:00:00 AM


Do you have “ready-now leaders” who can step up to the plate when you need them?

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of developing a team of leaders. Just read the ending of Romans! While imprisoned in Rome, he wrote to Timothy (a leader he developed) in 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV), “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”


A 2018 research study on the state of global leadership revealed:


“As a general trend, we’ve seen a continued slippage in leadership bench strength (ready-now leaders who can step in to replace those who retire or move on) – in 2018, only 14% of companies have a strong bench, the lowest number we’ve ever seen. More specifically, we’ve seen digital transformation and the constant threat of disruption having a profound impact on leadership at every level.” (Caprino, 2018, para. 5)


It’s true for business leaders, but churches have also experienced this phenomenon. Barna reports a looming succession crisis on the horizon and that pastors struggle with identifying and developing leaders (Kinnamon & Stone, 2017). It turns out that “ready-now leaders” are difficult to find anywhere you look.


If you’re struggling to find a “ready-now leader” to meet your ministry needs, we get it. Every pastor lives in the tension between having their dream team and building a dream team. It takes a ton of vision, prayer, resources, and sweat equity to grow a dynamic team—and that’s without a worldwide pandemic! And while Chemistry Staffing is here for you when you need to find a ready-now leader as soon as possible, we also celebrate when pastors and churches can develop and deploy emerging leaders from their congregations into new ministry assignments. In that spirit, here are five things you can do today to begin building and equipping a team for this next season of ministry.


1. Clarify your vision. People still follow vision, and while every church shares the same mission, how you accomplish that mission in your context will be unique to you and your community. If you’re struggling to find people willing to engage, then ask yourself how you can cast a more compelling vision that doesn’t just ask for help but inspires commitment to Jesus and His mission.


2. Identify “leaders on the fringe.” Maybe they are a new believer or just a little bit immature. Perhaps they have gone through a rough season, or they think a little too much of themselves. Or maybe they are healthy, happy, and humble, but they just don’t know their role in Christ’s body. Identify these people, then get to know them. You want to fill that spot or meet that need today, but remember, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” Get to know them. What have they accomplished in another sphere of life? What are their passions and frustrations?


3. Invite them into the process. You already have a discipleship pathway (I hope!), so invite them into that process. Or ask them to join you in a time-bound mentorship with other high-potential people. This could be one of the most rewarding things you do all year!


4. Give them a task. Not a job, position, or title—just a task. See how they do. Were they eager? Did they receive feedback positively? Did they ask questions? Were they available? Did they do it with excellence? Would you and they enjoy doing this again? Start small, and let it grow from there. Begin with low-risk and time-bound tasks. It should be meaningful and challenging enough that they walk away knowing how they added value. After all, this isn’t an interview to hire them; it’s an opportunity to grow them. They are not just proving their value to you; they are discovering their purpose in Christ!


5. Replace yourself without leaving. Replacing yourself is where you move from influence to impact and from meeting a need to multiplying leaders! The goal is not just to do this once, twice, or even a few times. The goal is to engrain this into your church’s culture so that developing and deploying others into the areas of their gifting becomes a team sport instead of the pastor’s burden. Talk about this openly with your team and discuss how each of you can grow in your ability to identify, develop, and deploy new leaders. Ask them to bring the top one to three people in their area of ministry they will be intentional to develop in the next year. Your church will be healthier and more engaged for this next season of ministry.


As you continue to relaunch and rebuild after this last year, you’re not alone. Chemistry exists to walk alongside pastors and churches to find the right hire that will be a healthy, long-term fit. We know that a potential staff hire must align in five key areas—theology, culture, personality, skills, and chemistry. When all of these areas are aligned, God can do incredible things!


The process at Chemistry isn’t just helpful—it’s personal, relational, and contextualized. We take the hassle out of searching for your next staff hire by guiding you and potential candidates through a process that will leave you confident in your next ministry season.


Do you need help “filling the bench” with a ready-now staff member who will positively impact your church culture? Use this link to schedule a free consultation.


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