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This article is not just about things which will kill leadership development in your church plant.

It’s actually about things which will kill leadership development in your church plant, if you don’t address them.

If you are planting a church, you know that developing leaders has got to be your top priority.  If it isn’t, then you will make yourself vulnerable to all kinds of problems – heresy, sin, division, and more.

But you’ve got to be careful.

Leadership development is a skill we must work on constantly.  We’ve got to be able to adapt and be patient, while still being able to charge ahead.

We’ve got to pray.

The evil one would love to ruin our efforts to raise up new leaders.  If he is able to waylay us, then our churches will be unestablished in the faith and be ineffective at multiplying.

Here is a list of some of the major stumbling blocks that Satan would put in our way, if we let him:


waiting for the subwayOr at least perceived failure.

A good rising leader (or any leader for that matter) understands the weight of responsibilities.  And when a program fails or an individual under their care backslides or they begin teaching ineffectively, they know it.

And they believe it is probably their fault.  And this leads to doubt, depression, and suffering.

And yeah, sometimes, there are just undeveloped skills that need to be honed in.  But most of the time, it’s other people who are actually rebelling against God and His Gospel.

But either way, as a leader who is training other leaders, we have to be encouraging in those situations.  We have to be able to compel them with the Scriptures to keep working because it’s worth it.


Often, new leaders are thrown for a loop the first time someone disagrees with them sharply.

They don’t yet understand that conflict comes with the job of leadership in the church, and they feel the pain.

I’ve recently dealt with someone who wanted to quit because the volunteers for their program became flaky, and didn’t follow through, and it lead to arguments.

It’s a leadership issue to help them deal with the pain of conflict, and sober-mindedly deal with the actual situation.


This could be on the part of the mentee, but I’m mainly talking about busyness on the part of the mentor.

Can’t find time to meet with your mentee?  Are your meetings with them consumed with dealing with problems outside the mentee, rather than dealing with the problems inside the mentee?

When you’re not able to truly shepherd your rising leader, you’re not doing anyone any favors.

So make time.  This has to be one of your top priorities or the next generation will fall.

#Leadership development has to be your top priority or the next generation will fall. Click To Tweet


Along similar lines of the last point, you have to be able to recognize, and offer an environment where the protégé can talk freely about, the sins in his or her life.

If you don’t deal with this one head on, that future leader will embarrass himself and destroy churches with sin.

Lack of Organization

As a leader, in one sense, you have to be able to say, “Dealing with the life of the church will naturally bring about lessons for ministry.”

But on the other hand, you must also say, “I am going to guide the spiritual well-being of this individual and teach him everything I know.”

Without ordered learning, the rising leader will not be able to gain all the knowledge he or she needs.  So be intentional and guide their development.

Holding Them Back

Anakin Skywalker once said, “It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault. He’s jealous. He’s holding me back.”

Obviously, he wasn’t thinking straight, and he was overzealous.  He was on the path to becoming Darth Vader, after all.

But this isn’t the general principle when we mentor someone.

Yes, be careful that they’re not going to flip to the dark side and kill all the Jedi (Too many Star Wars references for one article?), but give them the opportunity to try difficult things.

Let them try and fail.  They will gain valuable experience and know how to handle it better than if you had just handled the situation in the first place.


mountaintopAh, yes.  Real life.

Every single person on the face of the earth will suffer through difficulties in their lives, and the up and coming leader is not immune.

Part of becoming a leader in the church is being able to deal with the problems in their lives, including family, work, personal conflict, financial strain, death of friends or family, etc.

Help them to suffer well – meaning that they suffer with hope.  Keep in the forefront of their minds that Christ will return and make all things new.

You can’t fix their problem, but you can help them keep the right perspective.

You can't fix their problem, but you can help them keep the right perspective. #church Click To Tweet

The Result

If you are able to effectively mentor your emerging leaders through all these difficulties, you will, in the end, build a strong man or woman of character, and your church plant and all subsequent church plants will benefit.

But you gotta remember that you can’t do this without the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him to help you be wise.  Ask Him to take care of your apprentice.

And ask Him to make your churches strong for the glory of Christ.


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