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Who are the Leaders in Your Church Plant?

By Matt Adair

When you think of the leaders in your core group, who comes to mind?

Asking that question to church planters or leaders of missional communities elicits the same response - it never takes them a full minute to write out their list, they’re never satisfied by the quantity or quantity of leadership and they’re confident that if they just got the right people behind their vision then all would be well.

So then I’ll have them write out the names of the rest of their core group or community and ask this question - why are they not leaders...and how do you know that?

Almost every working definition of leadership confuses effort with success. You aren’t a leader if you can persuade Jim to head up your finance team even though he’s slammed at work and his wife just gave birth to their third child. You’re a leader the moment you ask him to consider the opportunity. Whether he says yes or not is superfluous to your leadership - he might say yes because you implicitly threatened his commitment to the church plant if he said no; he might say no because faithfulness to his wife, his work, and this church you’re starting prohibit him from taking on anything new.

The bottom line is this - you’re a leader when you invest in someone else’s development.

You need to hear this as a church planter because invariably you’re looking around your core group for men who are elder candidates or look earnest for Jesus playing a Gibson ES-335. And the odds are that the leaders you need when your church has 250 members are not the leaders you have sitting in your living room.

But make no mistake - you have leaders. You have men and women in your core group who have not only taken responsibility for their own development but intentionally invest in the development of others. They lead in their homes, in their work, on their campus, in their volunteer work, on the park bench with another mom during a play date or organizing a weekend in the woods for a group of dads and their sons.

Instead of waiting for God to send you the leader of your dreams, consider the slow work of developing the leaders God has surrounded you with on the front end of your journey together.

Matt Adair is the lead pastor of Christ Community Church in Athens, GA, area director for Acts 29 in the state of Georgia, and the U.S. Director for The Porterbrook Network.

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Matt Adair is the lead pastor of Christ Community Church in Athens, Georgia, the Director of Operations for the Acts 29 Network, and a graduate of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.