How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 08 Ask the Right Questions

It’s so important we ask our upcoming leaders good questions and make them think.

Also if you don’t know the people you are raising up, how can you know how to help them best? You could be teaching people things they already know or don’t need to know.

* What are you designed to do?

* What is the group you are part of designed to do?

* How do you fit in to the group?

* What is your top need?

* What is the top need of the group you are in, in your opinion?

* What area do you think you have the most need of growth?

* What are your strengths?

* What makes you really feel compassion?

* Do you have the resources and people you need to complete your tasks?

* Are you prepared to pour yourself out for other people?

* Are you committed to equipping others?

* Are you being effective?

* Who are you raising and recognizing as future leaders?

* Have you made any assumptions in that situation without getting enough knowledge?

I do not ask these of our leaders in an interview style – don’t suddenly start interrogating your leaders, but I hold them in mind and throw them into conversations, not word for word, but appropriate for the conversation. Those questions really help me raise up leaders. They will help you too.

How To Make Someone Else a Better Leader 07 Come Out of Hiding!

Sometimes when I preach, teach, mentor or help someone, I have to let them see me and how I faced a similar problem. It reminds me of the old Western movies, where both cowboys are hiding behind cover, and eventually one of them comes out of cover and gets shot. If I show you that I am human, that I have developed, learned, made mistakes, have been inconsistent, I come out of cover and I can get shot down. Recently, I told my Dagenham congregation I struggled for a long time with weeping with those who weep when the people weeping in my mind deserved to weep for the way they behaved, that the words “I told you so” would too readily come out of my mouth! I was being open, and although that made me vulnerable, it helped a lot of people grow the way I did when I admitted I had a process of growth too.

One of the reasons there is a lack of leadership in the body of Christ is we have not understood how to be open with one another, and been brave enough to let people get close enough to see who we truly are. If we do not let someone close enough to see how we don’t always get it right, we will never let someone close enough for them to see us do the job right. In other words, we will never be a model to anyone if we lack the character to let them get close enough to us to make ourselves vulnerable.

To raise leaders we must let people get close enough to see us model leadership. To watch us do the job, do it will, do it right, do it consistently – and get up again if we do it wrong. If we are not a model, we cannot be a mentor. We can have all the experience, all the wisdom, all the vision, all the stuff – but if no one is close enough to us to see that, it doesn’t work, and you are not raising leaders.

And the big barrier to that is you have to come out from under cover and be vulnerable enough to be shot. All my leaders know when I don’t know what to do, they know when I need to get outside help, they know when I am unsure on how to progress, they know when I know what the right thing to do is but need time to develop the moral fortitude to do it. But because they are that close, they are close enough to know that I often get it right, that I handle people well, that integrity, character, honesty matter to me, that I will seek wisdom, that I will keep going under pressure, that I have skills that help plant and grow churches. Can you see how both are consistently linked here.

Without people being close enough to see the flaws, they are not close enough to see your face, and they are not close enough to draw power from you and be equipped by you.

Now in balance, I am not saying open yourself up to everyone about everything. If you are a pastor of a church with more than a dozen people, someone would love to stab you in the back. I mean open yourself up to your key leaders, and sometimes to everyone. You need to be close enough to people for them to be able to see you, or else you are mentoring, equipping and raising up no one.

You have to get close enough to people to lead them and you have to get even closer to people to reproduce your life and gifting in them. If you are not seeing leaders raised up in your business, church or ministry, you need to consider if anyone is actually close enough to see how you handle things. The church needs delivered from the superstar preacher and pastor or TV minister who is so high up on a pedestal that no one can learn from them, hiding being “the secrets of the Lord” when asked how they do what they do. We will never change the world that way, we will never make disciples that way.

If anyone had the excuse for being a superstar preacher it was Peter. He spent three years as the de facto leader of the disciples of Jesus. He walked on water, he fed the five thousand, he did so much. He preached the first ever sermon in the first ever church service and saw three thousand people saved. But when he wrote Scripture, he said “I am a fellow elder” – in other words, he got into house meetings with people and spent time with them, sharing his life and his wisdom with people, getting close enough for them to see him.

We need the same attitude if we want to raise leaders. Selah.

How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 06 The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is often referred to as the 80/20 rule. which has a lot of applications. In terms of leadership development, 20% of the people in your church/ business/ organization are the top leaders of your organization, and you need to invest 80% of your time in them.

How Do You Spot the People You Need to Invest in?

  1. Choose people who are compatible with you. They value the same things, they care about the same things, they get excited about the same things.
  2. Choose people you genuinely expect great things from. If you do not believe in people, you cannot lead them. People know instinctively if you have no confidence in them.
  3. Work out what people need. You are the leader so lead – set the agenda, tell them what they need to work on, tell them what their strengths and weaknesses are, tell them what meetings they need to be at, tell them how to develop, encourage their strengths, evaluate them honestly and give them feedback.
  4. Do not continue investing in people who do not listen to you. I am a great preacher, and I also have a lot of experience helping people become better preachers. but when I platform someone from the church then offer feedback and they do not listen, I stop investing in them and stop platforming them.
  5. Take this seriously. Be available to the leaders you are raising up. The more committed you are to them, the better leaders they will become.

How to Make Someone Else A Better Leader 05 The More You Lead, the More You Need (Leaders)

Before Jesus Christ was born, the greatest leader who ever lived was Moses. He was the leader of two-three million people, and those people were faithless, whining, moaning, complaining, cowards! That must have been hard work, exhausting. Moses was getting more and more tired, and the people were not getting good wisdom from him.

The problem was Moses was not raising leaders. But Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, said “Moses, start raising leaders. Have a leadership training programme, a conference, do something, delegate some of the easier jobs.” Moses did it and now he was not the only one carrying everyone. The other leaders made Moses stronger not weaker, and enabled all the needs of all the people to be met.

Raising leaders is vital to any church or business success. I believe the most important thing a leader can do is raise more leaders. That is true fruit. I have pastors and other people in Tree of Life who know a lot more than me about doing certain things, and it makes my life easier. We need to learn to do this.

The sad thing is there are churches not growing, businesses not growing because the leader is too insecure to enable other people to lead. You have to as a dreamer dream bigger than your fears. If your fears fill your imagination you will not raise up others. You might be scared someone might betray you. Jesus had a Judas and you will probably have one or two as well. But wasn’t it better to have the eleven and Judas than just Jesus on His own. Whenever a leader betrays me or lets me down, I thank God for the eleven, the ones who are still with me, still loving Jesus, still serving, still helping, still walking in faith and love!

I want to encourage every leader reading this to take a risk with people. I don’t mean a stupid risk and appointing someone with ego issues to be a preacher or elder, I don’t mean appointing someone who has not got your best interests at heart, but I mean someone who has not done it before, someone who does not feel big enough to step into your shoes, someone who has never produced before. They will soon catch up and as you believe in them, they will believe in themselves and you will have more leaders, and like Moses that will only do well for you.

People rise to the space you give them. It’s that simple. You need to:

  • Provide emotional and spiritual support for people. Love them and convince them that they can survive.
  • Train people – the more you train, the more people think you believe in them.
  • Pay people more money. I know a lot of your people at first will be volunteers, but if you grow as a ministry to the point you are increasing, pay people as much as you can. Our highest expense every month is not TV bills, it is not venue hire, it is not even world mission – it is payroll, because I genuinely believe in people. (I believe in volunteers too, but that’s a different post)
  • Equip people properly – give them the tools to do their job. Getting the right equipment to do your job is the most encouraging thing o all.
  • Give people the people they need. Let the pastors appoint elders, with supervision of course, but let them appoint leaders too.
  • Support people. Be there for them, give them a place to contact you and reach to you.
  • Look ahead. Help people see where they are going, help them dream!

How to Make Someone Else A Better Leader 04 Create a Space for Leaders

The people who have influenced you most in your life are the people who believe in you! It really is that simple and straightforward. That faith in others creates a supernatural space for them to grow. All of us who want to raise up others must believe in them and create space for them.

You as a leader of leaders must be a space-creator. That is part of being a leader. I get concerned when I have elders who want larger and larger Living Churches but are not raising up a leader when the group becomes two. That is wrong. We must be space-creators.

John Maxwell says leaders need to be thermostats not thermometers. Anyone can measure the temperature of a church, but as leaders we need to change it. It’s the same principle – we must not look for space, and hope it appears by magic, we need to create space for potential leaders. We need to make that happen.

If you create and make space, there will be growth. You will actually look like a really good leader. If you do not create space, the people around you will not grow and you will not look like a good leader. Again, this principle is simple but it is true.

We need to create spaces for our people – appreciate how important those spaces are, know how to create those spaces and pour life into those spaces so what is there grows.

Sometimes someone comes to Tree of Life and prospers, they become a leader, they start to be successful, so they think they could move anywhere else in the world and still be a success. But they move to a different church and find it isn’t working. They did not realize how effective the Tree is at providing spaces for people to grow – it’s not just one person, there is a culture that is raising up leaders and helping them develop and grow. It is awesome! I love watching our leaders. We are now in the place where we have leaders who are raising leaders who are raising leaders! It’s generational and it is awesome.

You have all probably heard that a shark in a small tank will never grow above six inches, and that the same shark in the ocean will grow to a normal shark size, many many times bigger. Space is an absolute key determinant in growth.

If you put leaders in a small space, and I don’t mean a small group or small ministry, but in a place where they cannot grow and manoeuvre, then there will be problems with their growth. Some pastors like that, they are intimidated by big sharks, but we want to change the world, so we don’t mind the sharks getting big!

The first key to creating space is to realize how important it is and model it. What you do, people around you will do. What you model will be copied. The speed of the leader is the pace the people will walk. What you do, they do. Think about it like this – if someone is following you, they can only go as far as you. This is why I am so keen to keep growing myself all the time – we cannot model what we are simply not doing.

So, model life – and value space. In other words, give people the space to copy you, give people the place to be like you, to do what you do. Let them pray, let them advance, create a place they can grow bigger than six inches long!

Find out what space they need and give it to them. When there are people in your church humble, kind, with character, who are learning, who work with you and honour you, give them space to shine. Find out how to help them grow, find out what they need to read and hear and get it to them. Find out what they need to do. Do not be like Saul and keep all the honey to yourself – let the men share the honey! Let these people know you care about them and love them and want their best.

Next week, we will continue this with looking for the hidden leaders!

How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 03 What’s So Good About Raising Leaders

I am surrounded by a team of wonderful people. I am surrounded by some great leaders. It has taken a lot of time to invest in these people, a lot of faith to believe in them, and a lot of humility to let them take the spotlight from me. It is not easy raising leaders, but it is essential. But I have found over time, there are loads of benefits of this.

  • You get wisdom from them. I can’t see everything the right way, I only have one perspective, mine. I can only see things the way I see them. Other leaders around me have wisdom I don’t have, have perspective I don’t have. I can ask them – how do you read this situation? What do you think of this person? What is your advice here? It is awesome.
  • They make your life easier. I can travel more now knowing things are taken care of while I am speaking at a conference. They help me fly further than I have ever flown! Followers do not make your life easier, other leaders do. Followers want your resources to get things done! Other leaders help carry the load!
  • They encourage you. How many times has one of my team of pastors said something either in a sermon, a leader’s meeting or one on one that has kept me going, set me on fire, helped me – over and over, more time than I can count.
  • They think like you. There is a way you think as a leader, you dream big, you solve problems, you get involved, you look for the best way forward, you don’t take sides. When you have leaders around you they think like you.
  • They are not threatened by you. Because you raised them up and by doing that you show that you are not threatened by them shining, they respond by not being threatened when you shine. You both rejoice when the other succeeds, it creates a very healthy relationships!
  • It’s generational – you raise up leaders by raising up leaders so you end up raising up leaders who raise up leaders. That’s an awesome cycle to be involved with. I am now launching churches which are pastored by leaders I did not raise up, but the leaders I raised up raised them up. That’s something truly special.
  • There is no success without a successor. You are not getting any younger. You will one day leave this planet. What you do – is it important enough to keep going when you are gone? Then you must raise up leaders.

    Selah.

My 5 Principles of Confrontation

I don’t really like confrontation, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, Paul told Timothy not to appoint a “striker” as an elder (1 Tim 3.3), and a striker is someone who is always ready for a fight.

However if we are to lead, we must confront. Someone is going to teach someone in your church something bad, someone is going to want to be a leader but not living a lifestyle appropriate to that leading, someone is going to want to take over a service who has no right to do that (and in charismatic churches they will pretend God made them do it). There are many reasons why sadly in different situations we must confront people. It’s not an easy job, but it is part of leading.

I have five principles I always adhere to when confronting.

  1. Build a Bridge
    1. Everyone is an island, and if you want to drive a truck-load of correction to someone then you need to build an appropriate sized bridge or the truck will sink half-way there. The first question I always ask is “Am I the right person to do this” – if it is something happening in Tree of Life Family, often the answer is yes, sometimes my wife can handle it better, sometimes the individual pastor. If it not happening in the Tree of Life Family, sometimes it simply is not my place. If I have no bridge to the person, it’s not my job to correct or confront them. I am not going to write a letter to some stranger preaching on TV to correct them, there is no bridge there. It is literally none of my business. It’s not my job to correct my parents either – physical or spiritual. That is not the way confrontation works. You need to know your place, and many don’t.
    2. If. for example. a couple come to Tree of Life for the first time and they are living together, we do not jump down their throat the first week. We love them, we bless them, we thank them for coming, we show them how to register their children in children’s ministry. We just keep loving them and building the bridge to them. Maybe a few month later, he tells me he can really play the guitar and wants to join the worship team. Well, then we have the discussion about marriage, but because we have spent a long time building the bridge, the truck gets across. This is vital to all confrontation. Often you do not even need to confront a situation because it is not your situation to confront. Selah.
  2. Distinguish Hurt and Harm
    1. I once had root canal surgery without anaesthetic. I was doing a funeral immediately afterwards and I did not want to speak at a funeral with a numb mouth. It really hurt me, but it did not harm me, it made me better. Drinking lots of sugary drinks did not hurt at all, but it harmed me.
    2. If you have a strong enough bridge to someone and you genuinely believe you need to confront, do not ask will it hurt, but ask will it harm them more or less if I do or don’t speak to them. Some people are going to be seriously harmed by their own behaviour. Some people are going to harm others if I promote them to a leadership position. I might hurt them if I tell them I will not give them the position, but that is not harm. You must learn the difference. Some people are afraid to hurt anyone and it harms a lot of people.
  3. Do Not Take it Personally
    1. Someone may not take your words well. It’s not personal. I often write down the problem I am going to speak to someone about on a piece of paper, and put it on a table and look at it until I realize it is separate from me. It’s a small exercise, but it works for me.
  4. Be Prepared for Someone to Get off the Bus
    1. Every time I confront someone in Tree of Life, I am prepared (though not expecting) for them to leave the church. If not, then I might not say what needs to be said. I once confronted a minister in one of our churches about his inappropriate use of funds in his own ministry and the dreadful state of his marriage, within a week, he “felt the Lord” lead him to go to another church. Several times I have put someone into some form of Biblical church discipline for their behaviour and they have suddenly felt the calling to go to Bible College. That absolutely is not the way to start ministry, but I am not going to fight them, they are burning their bridge to avoid my truck and that’s their right (apologies for the mixed metaphors)
    2. We are bus drivers. God has called us as leaders to go from point A to point B. Some people will come with – or we are not leaders – but you have no assurance from the Lord the same people will stay on from the beginning to the end, sometimes old people get off, sometimes new people get on. Don’t fall apart – keep going to your destination.
  5. Aim for a Win-Win
    1. People need to know how to win. It’s amazing but true. Don’t just chide someone for their pornography addiction, get them covenant eyes software, check up on them, give them teaching materials that are going to help them. Do not just confront someone and tell them they are not suitable to be an elder, tell them why and show them how they can change and develop. Give them hope. Our job is to provide hope to people and help them walk in their dreams. Correction is part of that, but not condemnation. Correction says do this to get back on the path. Condemnation says you will never get anywhere. Learn the difference and go for a win-win – you win in that the person develops towards their dream, and they win because they develop towards their dream. It’s an awesome result, and it will happen often.
    2. Whenever I confront someone I am thinking of how to help them, how to give them a path forward.

How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 03 Bigger Leaders Have Bigger Groups

I remember fondly the TV series Heroes, where Peter Petrelli was told that if he saved the cheerleader, he would save the world. What a joy to have such a simple way to save the whole world – just to save one person. But if you are a leader in the body of Christ, and you want to grow your church or ministry, let me tell you the key. It’s not save the cheerleader, save the world. No – it is this:

GROW THE LEADER. GROW THE GROUP.

If you want a living church to grow, grow the elders. If you want a church to grow, grow the pastor. It’s that simple. It is not any more complicated than that. So many churches are putting finances and effort into doing a lot of things that will not produce growth. That is why churches are not growing – because pastors are not growing. It really is that simple. IF A CHURCH IS NOT GROWING, THE PASTOR IS NOT GROWING. Trust me when new people come to a church, they can very quickly tell the difference between a pastor that is growing, trained, able to teach the Word, able to flow in the Spirit, able to handle problems and situations and one that isn’t. A great Facebook advert or a great website will never take the place of this. Do what you can to get competent at leading and pastoring yourself and if you are leading leaders, invest in them.

John Maxwell says that if a church stops growing, it is because the leadership has stopped growing. He says “Leaders determines the level of an organization”. That is the truth. If your church has stalled at 100 for example, that is because your leaders and your leadership can handle 100. Change so you can handle 200 you will eventually reach 200. That involves change and development – positive and radical change, which is why so many people don’t do it.

When the leaders grow, the growth around them is automatic. Weak leaders shrink organizations, strong leaders grow organizations. Everything comes back to leadership.

Selah.

Be Bold 01 It Makes Satan and Religious people nervous!

If you read Psalm 23 which is a revelation of Jesus as our pastor and the benefits of being in a local church, one of the wonderful blessings is a cup that runs over. You could translate that as: more than enough. Greg Mohr likes the phrase “enough and extra”, others use the word abundance. It is all referring to the same glorious truth about our Heavenly Shepherd – He does more than we dream, more than we imagine, more than we can ever ask for.

God is a great big God and realizing that should make us bold in Him. He is never going to let us down, He is never going to give up on us, fail to provide enough and extra for us to walk in our dreams and then some!

So many people think they are living by faith but they are not. They are living by religion. They read something happened yesterday and are pleading with God to do it again when God wants us to walk with Him today!

Whether we have revival today depends on us not God. And we need to walk with God and know His goodness to the point it makes us passionately bold to speak His truth and be carriers of revival. It will not come about by us begging and pleading with Him or repenting of someone else’s sins to cleanse the nation. That’s just ignorant talk invented by people who don’t really know the goodness of God.

People tell me I am bold. Some say it as compliment, other people say it as an insult. Those are normally religious people who genuinely have no idea how good God is. But my boldness if I have any does not come frome, it comes from the Lord. My confidence is in Him.

But here is some good news… We can all be confident in Him because He is good to all. We can all win. I don’t need your light to dim for mine to shine brighter. We can all be the head and not the tail. We can all prosper and be in health. We can all minister.

Serve Jesus boldly. Make the devil nervous. And if you make a few religious people nervous too, that’s OK.

Tell people the truth. Do not be afraid of how blessed you are. Be confident in the Lord. Talk about how good God is. Share your faith with others. Show love to others. Lay hands on the sick.

How to Make Someone Else a Better Leader 02 Who Around You Is A Potential Leader

I am going to give you a very simple mental exercise I do when I decide if someone is a potential leader. Right, I want you to imagine it is Sunday morning and church starts in ten minutes. And something has gone wrong. There is a fight in the worship group that has turned vicious, and several members in the worship team are arguing over the song choices and it has devolved into a fight about who is the most (and least committed). It is turning nasty, voices are being raised and tempers are flaring up. You are utterly unaware of this because you are solving another problem in another department.

The person you are wondering about whether they are a potential leader is the first to arrive on the scene and arrives in the middle of the situation just as it is kicking off.

Now, will this person bring the situation to still waters and bring everyone to calm and peace and deal with the problem and make it smaller, or will they make it worse, causing the whole thing to blow up. Will they be someone who pours water on the fire or someone who pours petrol on it?

When you know if you want them to be the first person to show up, you know if they have potential as a leader in your community, church, business, etc.

If you grow those people you would want to be the first there if you could not be when there is a potential fire – grow those people – and you will grow the organization.

Selah.