Leadership Development: A Three-Step Process

By Micah Colbert. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

Leadership development is one of those things that churches frequently talk about but rarely plan for or actually do. According to Ephesians 4:12-16, every church is responsible to train its members for gospel-advancing, church-building ministry. But how do we do that? Below is an example of the process our church uses to develop leaders for ministry:

The Three Step Process of Ministry Leadership Development at Community of Grace

Our prayerful desire at Community of Grace Church is to cultivate a culture where ministry leaders are encouraged and equipped to use their gifts to serve the body of Christ. For this to happen, we recognize the need to be intentional about ministry leadership development. As elders, we have identified a three-step process that we will use to choose, train, and equip potential leaders for gospel advancing ministry:


The elders seek to identify servants who are teachable, able, faithful, and fruitful (STAFF) to lead and serve in the various ministries of Community of Grace Church. Below are questions we use to help identify STAFF people:

  • Is this person willing to serve wherever they are needed in ministry?
  • Is this person willing and able to submit to the leadership of others?
  • Is this person currently serving in the church (ex. workdays, nursery, children’s ministry, hospitality, small groups, tech support, teaching, etc)?
  • Does this person demonstrate a humble eagerness to grow in their knowledge and application of God’s Word?
  • Does this person readily listen to and follow instructions?
  • Does this person receive feedback in a spirit of humility and gratitude?
  • Does this person act on the feedback that they have received?
  • Does this person have the time or availability to provide ministry leadership? 
  • Relationally, does this person have the maturity and humility to work with others in a collaborative ministry environment?
  • What gifts does this person have that can be developed and unleashed to help make, mature, and multiply Christlike disciples?
  • Is this person faithful in their attendance, giving, and overall commitment to the church?
  • Has this person proven themselves to be faithful when assigned with other ministry responsibilities?
  • Can the church depend upon this person to oversee or serve in ministry?
  • Is this person demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in their personal lives?
  • Is this person’s ministry fruitful / beneficial to others? Have people been clearly blessed or helped by this person’s ministry?


Once we have identified STAFF people, the elders will seek to develop them so that they can be all that God has called and gifted them to be as ministry leaders. We will provide initial and ongoing training focused on three major areas: convictions, character, and ministry competence. The intensity and length of the training will depend upon the nature of the ministry responsibility. Training will take place both “on the job” and in more organized venues.

Once specific ministry gifts and callings have been identified, we will take STAFF people through the following five-step ministry mentorship model to prepare them for specific ministry responsibilities:

  1. I do. You watch. We talk.
  2. I do. You help. We talk.
  3. You do. I help. We talk.
  4. You do. I watch. We talk
  5. You do. Someone else watches.


STAFF people who have been trained will be entrusted with real ministry responsibility and accountability. Ministry leaders will meet at designated times throughout the year for ongoing encouragement, accountability, prayer, and training.


This is the process we use to develop ministry leaders. I’d love to hear from some of our readers to find out what their churches are doing to develop leaders as well!

Micah is the discipleship and outreach pastor at Community of Grace Church in Buffalo, NY. He is also the author of two outreach books: Good News for All Nations and Discovering Hope. Micah enjoys reading, coffee, hearty conversations, and time spent with his wife and four children.

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There are 4 Comments

T Howard's picture

We will provide initial and ongoing training focused on three major areas: convictions, character, and ministry competence.

Are you able to flesh this out more? What does this training look like for each of the three areas? What resources do you use, etc.?


Aaron Blumer's picture


I don't know if Micah is planning more posts on the topic, but you can reach him on Facebook. There's a link here: http://rootedthinking.com/author/mcolbert/

You can also reach him via the contact form at Rooted Thinking: http://rootedthinking.com/contact-us/

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

T Howard's picture


I'm not on social media, unless SI counts.

FWIW, In general, I don't find this type of article helpful because it lacks the specificity needed to actually implement what the author is advocating. Most of the article is about asking questions to identify the future leader. The questions are helpful but not particularly unique or insightful.

His develop and deploy steps aren't really developed, but they are the real meat of the process.

Aaron Blumer's picture


It's clearly not intended to be a complete curriculum.

I do hope he'll be writing more on it in the future, though, because--in my experience, most churches aren't doing anything to train leaders at all, in any systematic way. (Who needs programs when you have the Holy Spirit--who works best when we're haphazard and sloppy? I know that's in the NT somewhere, if I could just remember the verse...) 

But sometimes a general outline is the best plan because it lets you be a good bit more flexible adapting to realities on the ground. Some of the "chaos is godly" mentality has been fueled by church programs that are too rigid and detailed and end up being tails wagging dogs or carts before horses, or whatever metaphor you want to use. They end up being ineffective. So there's a balance to strike between scheduling every concept and step vs. just having your heart in the right place and winging it.

Make a plan. Don't make too much of a plan.

But yeah, more details on this one would be interesting.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

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