One of the most consistent needs for churches of all sizes is developing more and better leaders. It is often the number one issue hindering or accelerating the mission of a church. Because of its importance to churches large and small, I’m excited to be partnering with my friend and former colleague, Brent Dolfo, to deliver a new Virtual Strategy Lab that will help leaders like you develop the culture, systems, and structures necessary to multiply leaders.
Brent brings with him the unique experience of having worked with more than 100 of the greatest leadership development churches in the world. Brent has gathered key insights and tools from these churches that have helped countless other leaders increase their leadership capacity in order to further their church’s mission.
In this brief video, I talk with Brent about a few of the key insights that are critical for churches to be great at leadership development. I also give a brief outline of the main topics we’ll be unpacking throughout the Lab experience.
Would you like to develop more and better leaders to further the mission of your church? Take a few moments to explore the overview of our upcoming Leadership Development Strategy Lab. Then schedule a quick discovery call to see if this experience might be the right fit for you and your team.
Read the Transcript
Tim Nations: Well I'm excited to be joined by my friend Brent Dolfo here. Brent and I were colleagues at Leadership Network for the 13 years that I was there. Brent was already on staff. We had the opportunity to work on a lot of different initiatives, and we're collaborating on a new one through Chemistry Staffing around leadership development and a seven-week strategy lab for helping churches think through and develop leadership strategy. Brent, tell folks a little bit about your background and the work that you've done in leadership development.
Brent Dolfo: Thanks Tim, great to be with you again today. I have been involved with Leadership Network for close to 20 years, and one of the major topic areas I work on is the area of leadership development. How to help large churches develop a great reproducing culture that allowed them to reproduce spiritual leaders across the whole of their church. And I've led sort of ten cohorts of large churches on working on this subject together. So I've had a ring-side seat into many of the most robust, effective models in America that have helped churches really develop, this idea that I have more leaders than a need to accomplish the vision God's given me.
Tim Nations: So as you and I have been talking about and preparing for this virtual strategy lab, if you were to pick out two or three things that you think are the most important things that church leaders need to be thinking about when it comes to becoming a great leader-developing church, what would you say those things are?
Brent Dolfo: Interestingly enough, the number one thing that drives leadership development in churches is the idea that the church has embraced a big enough vision that they need to develop spiritual leaders. So I've discovered, whether it's a multisite church or a church planting church or a church that really wants to impact their community and sees all sorts of needs everywhere and not yet enough leaders to accomplish in meeting those needs, that vision drives leadership development. I think leadership development is always a means to an end, not an end in itself. So that's the first thing, having a vision that's compelling, that's driving you forward. I see this in the life of Jesus. Jesus had way more opportunities to minister to the masses than he took. And he invested his time in a small group of people that would be the leadership of the church when he was resurrected. So the idea of a vision for a worldwide church really drove him to spend time to multiply himself in the lives of people. So again, a big vision is really kind of critical. The second thing that is probably important to think about is what I call embracing the end. Now every staff member or leader that is voluntary in your church has an area of responsibility that they're doing. But great leadership developing churches embrace the end. Yes, I'm responsible for this part of the ministry, but I'm also responsible for multiplying myself and raising up people who can do what I do. Again, we see that as we talked about in the life of Jesus. We see that in the ministry of Paul. Everywhere Paul went, he had two or three apprentice leaders he was taking with them to teach them how to do what he did and to develop them so that they could be leaders in the church. Some great leadership development churches have embraced this end concept. Lead what you have, but you also have a responsibility to raise up people who can lead and do what you do. So that would be the second thing I think is really important to make a great leadership developing church. The third thing is culture. We all know that culture in the church is created by what you reward and what you tolerate. So great leadership developing churches have championed this idea of the people that reproduce themselves and raise up leaders that are spiritually ready to lead, whether it's a new small group, help lead a new campus, those people are kind of the heroes around here because they're making heroes of other leaders. And so this idea that in our culture, do we have a culture that values more than excellence, more than diligence? Do we have a culture that really values and rewards and honors those that are amazing in developing other spiritual leaders? Those would be three quick things to think about.
Tim Nations: And we've taken those insights as well as some others that you've gleaned from your work with great leadership developing churches and put them in a great pdf resource that we're making available to people. It has a staff discussion guide as well. And so it's a great launching point for teams that are really beginning to get serious about a reproducing church, a church that develops leaders that develops leaders. And it's also kind of the launching point for this lab. We're working on a seven-week virtual strategy lab where we'll bring together teams that are trying to figure out how do we develop a model for leadership development that's sustainable for our church. And three are four key things that we're going to be working through throughout these seven weeks. One being unpacking those things that make a great leadership developing church. So what are those ten truths, those ten key insights, and what do they mean, what do they look like? Secondly is, how do you make that shift to a leadership development culture. You talked about how important culture is and what makes a great culture. To be a leadership developing church, you've got to have a leadership development culture. And so that will be the second thing we focus on. Third is that leadership pipeline. What is the structure that is in place, the processes that are in place to help develop leaders along the way? How do you think with the end in mind and plan for what you want people to become and then create a pipeline that helps to move them and develop them in that direction. And then the last thing we'll focus on are staff development plans. How do you work with your team to continue to develop them and their careers as they're a part of that organization. As you think about those things, Brent, anything additional that you would add as we prepare this lab?
Brent Dolfo: Yeah, I think there's probably three words that come to mind as I think about this lab. The first is ideas. We want to bring you some really great ideas from some of the best churches in the world that are working on leadership development. But ideas are just the front edge of what we want to do here. The second thing is we want to actually help you implement those and actually help you figure out how I bring those to life in my own context. And the third thing that we really want to help you do is prepare those to be impactful ideas. We want what we're talking about to create a difference, make an impact in your culture, in your church, in your ministry. So think about this. It's not just simply ideas, but we're trying to bring the ideas to implementation that would create a great impact for you in what you lead.
Tim Nations: Yeah, that's great Brent. We look forward to working with some of you churches and church leaders and helping you think through how do we develop a leadership development culture and pipeline for our church. To get additional information, we'll have in the post that goes along with this video, a link where you can access that pdf and get a jump start on your thinking and conversations around leadership development. Once you download that, we'll send some additional information about leadership development as well as a link to the landing page that will explain about the lab. The best thing to do is on that page schedule a call so I can visit with you and see if this lab would be a great fit for you. We're excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with some of you in the area of leadership development.