In early March the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, which I co-host with Todd Adkins as part of our work with LifeWay Leadership, did a five episode series on leadership pipeline. We were joined by Eric Geiger and introduced the concept of pipeline and walked through the four main components – systems, structure, people, and content.
While it might sound a bit dry or heady, this content is a profoundly important resource for churches. It sets up a means that churches of any size can put in place a culture and system of developing leaders at every level. It looks at the scriptural mandate that church leaders equip and train people and offers a helpful means to do that. It recognizes that every person in the church is both uniquely gifted and called to serve and provides a means for them to do that. Leadership pipeline isn’t a silver bullet or quick fix or magic growth strategy. It’s a method and system that churches of various sizes and polities and implement to help both the leaders and the congregants for the sake of the ministry.
Here are some of the key quotes from those podcasts.
“A leadership pipeline is a simple tool that shows how an organization develops its own leaders.”
“The role of a pastor is to equip. You have one job – to equip the people for the work of the ministry.”
“It’s important to have a map for people, not just a menu.”
“Without a pipeline you’re going to have a hard time scaling leadership and maintaining your culture.”
“Systems help create culture.”
“Often times when people say they have an organic approach it means they have no approach.”
“When you think about ‘organic’ remember that nature is full of systems.”
“It’s hard to do anything excellently without a system.”
“Pilot new things with the highly competent and energetic people.”
“Structures are the kinds of things that don’t get anybody excited, but if you don’t have them everything falls apart.”
“We’re called not just to be disciples, but to make disciples. Systems and structures are how we can do that.”
“Leadership Pipeline is simply creating a system so that the organic, Spirit-led, Bible-driven kinds of things can happen in a healthy way.”
“If you want to keep up with leadership development you need to get ahead of it.”
“Leadership development and leadership placement are two very different things.”
“By the simple act of volunteering and serving in the church people are leading.”
“Developing leaders in a pipeline is developing them for all arenas of life.”
“Don’t think that you’re recruiting volunteers. Think that you’re recruiting leaders.”
“The reason churches have leadership deficiencies today is that they never built a leadership development culture before.”
“Every organization needs a pipeline. Every person needs a pathway.”
“Training content must contain knowledge, experience, and coaching.”
“Competency is having a displayed proficiency in something.”
If leadership pipeline is something you’d like to learn more about or team at LifeWay Leadership is putting on a conference in October called Pipeline: Developing Leaders at Every Level. It won’t be like typical pastors conferences because Pipeline is centered around training so that attendees, ideally church leadership teams, can walk out with a plan to implement at their churches. It won;t just be a series of sermons that leave you inspired but relatively directionless (like so many conferences). You can find out more at MyLeadershipPipeline.com. Be sure to take advantage of their early bird discount which runs through July and is especially good if you are bringing a group.