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Healthy Churches Reproduce Leaders

LAKELAND, Fla.—Churches of the Sunshine State Fellowship met for their spring conference May 1 at Cornerstone Baptist Church.

“Don McCall was a great encouragement and challenge,” the association says.

Don, professor of pastoral ministries and church revitalization at Clarks Summit University, spoke on church development.

Churches need to change the way they think about leadership, he says. Healthy churches don’t just appoint people to lead its ministries; healthy churches reproduce leaders.

What does that process of reproducing leaders like? he asks. “It looks like 2 Timothy 2:2,” he says: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Don gives this example of putting 2 Timothy 2:2 into action: Someone in ministry can ask a potential leader to observe his or her ministry. After observing the ministry, the potential leader serves with the seasoned leader as an intern or apprentice. When the potential leader is ready for solo leadership, that ministry divides in half, with the new leader overseeing one half and the original leader overseeing the other half.

In that way, not only do leaders multiply, but so do ministries.

Reproducing leaders is one aim of Generate (formerly Regular Baptist Builders Club and Regular Baptist Church Planting).

“Leadership development is the number one problem facing churches today,” says Clare Jewell, director of Generate.

Generate offers ministry leader cohorts that will “equip the leaders of today to foster the leaders of tomorrow,” Clare says. He calls the cohorts Leadership Pipeline Training. In addition, a pastoral residency grant “places emerging leaders at hub churches throughout the GARBC so those people can develop the skills and character they need to flourish in a lifetime of ministry.”

Don says he has seen “the underbelly” of many churches. “They’re hurting. They’re struggling. They’re not healthy. But one of the reasons they’re not healthy is they haven’t understood 2 Timothy 2:2. They haven’t understood reproducing reproducers.”

“What would I find in your church?” he asked attendees.

“Would I find in each area of leadership or teaching a person that’s not an assistant but an intentional interim, an intentional apprentice, that knows someday she or he is going to have an apprentice? They’re going to have a class and they’re going to have an apprentice. Pretty exciting isn’t it?”

“If you’re going to have health in your church, you need to get these concepts down.”