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A Leadership Jump

I want you to entertain a sizeable leadership jump!

From recruiting volunteers for programs inside the church…

To developing leaders for the mission outside the church!

Because We Can’t Stay Here, especially if we care about most of the younger generation that’s walked away from church as institution.

Most of my Christendom world early leadership years were focused on constantly recruiting and maintaining “volunteers for programs.” (Yes, it’s still important today.)

And it worked… reasonably well…way back in an “it’s a good thing to go to church” culture! (That world is gone now in most places!)

So, developing leaders for outside the church….

Here’s a short video clip. You’ll enjoy it!

But, before you do, I have three comments on its context!

Coach White, played by Kevin Costner, is a beaten down, self defeated high school teacher whose temper lands him in McFarland. He makes a major leadership jump before this clip.

McFarland: “The only people that live here are the people who can’t live anywhere else.”

The Boys: “You don’t understand. We’re just a bunch of vegetable pickers…just a bunch of vegetable pickers.” Coach White, after his leadership jump, instills a different vision in them.

As a leader, you spend a lot of your time and energy and giftedness leading, teaching, meeting, performing, producing, hitting deadlines, accomplishing goals, etc. And, if you’re a pastor-leader you can add a significant set of ministry responsibilities to the list, too!

Here’s the sizeable leadership jump I’m proposing:

What if you were to re-prioritize a few hours of your week every week and invite several wonderful “volunteers in church” folks into your life and invest in them to be leaders who slowly gain the character and competencies to follow God’s vision for mission into pockets and places outside the congregation?

Somehow, intentionally or unintentionally, many of the baptized people of God, women and men, have been given the wrong message to believe “we’re just a bunch of vegetable pickers” … don’t count on us. Don’t think God has given any significant gifting to us. Let the professionals do the job.

Leaders, honestly, we’re feeling fortunate when we have “vegetable pickers” who are faithful in showing up to listen to us, follow us, volunteer to help us and our vision, and faithfully pray and give. Right? Many others aren’t so faithful.

For most leaders, we’ve never developed the skill nor leveraged the time to invest in a few (Jesus and Paul did it this way!) who could invest in a few who could actually follow God together into pockets and places where the Gospel of Jesus is in short supply.

For most of the leaders represented here, we’ve worked with an addition strategy. We seek to add to our attendance, membership, etc. A multiplication strategy is a lofty thought but little explored.

Addition worked pretty well in the world gone by.

Here’s the Why We Can’t Stay Here statistic I shared previously: In the last 30 years the U.S. population grew by 24% while my own denomination subtracted by 23%!

If 20% of the people reading this post would adopt the few hours a week every week with a few who would do the same with a few (and multiply!), it would slowly start to put the brakes on the accelerating subtraction in my own body and maybe yours, too.

This leadership jump is as difficult as any you’ll entertain. So, whether you’ve been a leader for 3 years or 33 years, let me suggest a fun way to start:

  • Gather your leadership group together (board, staff, select wonderful folks).
  • Pop some popcorn together. Watch McFarland, USA.
  • Have a conversation.

2 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    Jock – Great post about the needed mindset shift today. Following the initial gathering watch party of “McFarland”, what can these times of investing in a few to multiply ministry look like? Having been trained in the program church, my fear is that I will just add another program when I want to create a multiplying catalytic movement.

    • Gail & Jock Ficken says:

      Check out the d2mclearning community in. February. And/or Multipli’s Genesis Leader. Either could give you what you want. Raechel at PLI could help you think it through

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