057: Making Space For Leaders

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 interview Colin about how to make space for new leaders.


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What is one challenge that comes up a lot when you develop leaders?
  • Making space for them.
  • Part of this is about actual opportunities for them to do things (for example preaching).
  • Another is peer pressure and rivalries amongst the team
  • This was there with Jesus' disciples - there was rivalry about who was the greatest.
  • People can also come in with some history - this was the case when Barnabas brought Paul to Jerusalem.
How do you still give people opportunities even when there are issues to iron out in their character?
  • Acknowledge that it's there and challenge it.
  • Even though Jesus saw this in his disciples, it didn't stop him making decision to give people different opportunities to other people (such as taking the three up the mountain).
  • As soon as you give someone an opportunity you have to manage the expectations and disappointments of others.
How do you help people process it when others are given opportunities?
  • Spend time with them.
  • Don't let situations like this block you from giving opportunities.
  • Often senior leaders in churches can be worried about creating this kind of problem - but it will always happen as you bring people through.
  • It is a very time demanding thing. Some people need an arm round them. Other times people need an explanation.
  • You need to deal with it. A lot of leaders ignore it but this can get you into a lot of trouble.
How do you deal with asking people to relinquish something to make space for others?
  • When people have roles, these roles can become their identity.
  • It can cause people to ask whether they are not doing well enough.
  • You need a church that is growing to create more opportunities. 
  • Invite people to have a go at other things.
  • It takes time. People need some time to process it.
Should we bring new people through from the start in a church plant or do we need stability first?
  • The first group of people who are there in a church plant are often there because they see an opportunity.
  • It is easy to over-promise and under-deliver at this stage.
  • Don't suggest to too many people that they will be on the leadership team for years.
  • At the same time, it is a good moment to bring people through. 
Is it better to bring people through into established spaces or do you ask them to carve out their own space.
  • It's both.
  • By pioneering new sites (rather than going in with ready-formed congregations) this creates new space.
  • It is good to help people carve out the space rather than just leaving them to it.
How do you help the leaders that you raise up create space for others?
  • Most people grow best through the hard times.
  • But after people grow through hardship they want to make it easier for others. 
  • They are trying to protect people from the very thing that made them grow. 
  • It is the pain that actually helps you grow.
  • It's a constant process of working at this generationally.
Do you have any final words on this subject?