047: Raising Up Leaders From Within

Colin Baron is a church planting Yoda who has been involved in starting many new churches in Manchester, elsewhere in England and in many other nations. Colin currently leads Christ Church Manchester, which is part of the Catalyst Network of churches in Newfrontiers and he is the founder of the Broadcast Network. In this podcast episode, we bring you Colin's talk on 'Raising Up Leaders From Within' that he gave at the 'Building Churches in Deprived Areas' conference. 


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Developing Leaders is a Challenge

  • In Acts 4:13, it is amazing to see what God does with unskilled people.
  • Often the people who we are working with are not only unskilled but have lots of addictions and brokenness.
  • Biblical principles of raising up leaders apply to rich and poor alike.
  • Leadership needs to have both a very low bar and a very high bar.
  • Sometimes we can make people jump so many hurdles before thay can be a leader that it becomes off-putting.
  • By setting the bar so much in the middle, we make mediocrity the norm.

Ten Leadership Principles From Jesus

1. There is no short cut that avoids spending time with people (Mark 1:16)
  • The way we tend to book an hour a week in with people is no way to raise leaders.
  • Jesus had to give up a lot of his private time. Sometimes the needs around us are so great that we don't give ourselves to being around people for long stretches of time.
  • The people we are working with also have to sacrifice something. Though they (often) have time, they don't always show up. You need to help them see what commitment is. The more you show up, the more they will.
  • Look for who is showing an appetite for it. They might not always be the most obvious people.
2. He had a game plan (Mark 1:17)
  • We don't always start off with a game plan for people - especially when they come from challenging backgrounds.
  • We're not just looking to get people out of their mess - but to make them something.
  • Some people might be a struggle early on and then do well. Others might seem easy at the start and then cause trouble later.
  • Jesus shared this game plan in a way that was contextually appropriate for the people he was talking to.
  • Often church leaders can be too preoccupied with dirt and find reasons why everyone can't be a leader.
“Men are developed the same way gold is mined. Several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold... but you don't go into a mine looking for dirt, you go looking for gold. That's exactly the way to develop positive people. Look for the gold, not the dirt: the good, not the bad. The more positive qualities you look for, the more you are going to find." (Dale Carnegie)
3. Recognise the gift of leadership early (Mark 3:13)
  • Not long after they started following him in Mark 1, Jesus appointed his disciples as apostles.
  • At this point, they didn't look much like leaders - and even less so three years later.
  • The closer they got to Jesus, the more their character got exposed.
  • It's at this point that we tend to get scared and put up the 'middle bar'.
  • If God has given all the gifts, then there are enough gifts of leadership amongst every people group to suffice - so let's find it and acknowledge it.
  • If you have the gift of leadership, you know it. 
4. Give them early wins (John 4:1)
  • He had them baptising people early.
  • What if they backslide? - It didn't seem to stop Jesus letting them do it.
5. Give people authority early
  • Be quick to give away authority
  • Be wise in how you apply this to your own situation.
  • If you give someone authority, they might blow it - and if they do, so be it.
6. Teach people the way Jesus did
  • Jesus taught through repetition
  • In our churches, we tend to have a different message every week.
  • The guys travelled with Jesus from village to village - and he was probably teaching the same thing in every place.
  • They will have heard his teaching again and again.
  • We don't tend to do this with our people - particularly the unlearned.
  • Very few us do our preparation for teaching in community with others.
7. The way we challenge people
  • We can over-challenge, under-challenge or wrongly challenge people.
  • There are times when we need the big challenge (like 'get behind me Satan') - but these times are rare and when they happen the stakes are high.
  • At other times, Jesus just brushes stuff off - we can often turn little things into big issues.
  • We must be careful not to impose our own pre-conceived views onto someone's life and journey.
  • Be careful to challenge the right things - develop the gold, don't focus on the mud.
“Everybody is a leader until they disqualify themselves." (John Wimber)
8. Make opportunities for people to live by faith
  • We can often start projects that create a donor mentality.
  • We need to take people from fatalism to faith.
  • Jesus told the disciples to take nothing with them when he sent them out - they had to do it by faith.
  • Part of the gift of leadership is raising money and believeing that God is your provider.
9. Don't get phased by inconsistency
  • Everyone is inconsistent - but some people show it more than others.
  • Sometimes we rule people out because they are inconsistent and don't always show up.
  • 'They don't go to home group enough' - Maybe the groups are too boring.
  • 'They only go to things when there is food' - Jesus seemed to do the same thing.
  • Inconsistency looks worse, the closer you get to central leadership.
10. Second chance culture
  • If somebody does badly, we want to give them another shot - we want everyone to do well.
  • So many of our churches and projects struggle with this.
  • Peter wouldn't be there without it - and neither would any of us. 
  • We need to be consistent with our desire to raise people up - even when people are inconsistent with us.