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Raising Leaders: Part One

Chris Lane

Chris Lane writes on the need to reproduce leaders who reproduce leaders.

We can’t do this glorious, wonderful, frustrating and fascinating thing we call church on our own.  What’s more, if we are going to do more than the ordinary and raise up an outstanding local church, we have to raise up outstanding leaders. So that’s what we’ve been trying to do for nearly thirty years now, and along the way we’ve had the privilege of seeing some extraordinary leaders emerge.  Many of them, have gone on to lead significant ministries here at St Albans. Many have gone on to plant churches and become your pastors and overseers, and some have even gone on to become “household names” …well in the wider Church at any rate!

we had set our heart on church planting, and so it was that we found ourselves staring across the table at John Wimber.

Fliss and I had already been in the ministry for a number of years when we had the great good fortune to be invited over to America to train as church planters.  We had spent five years, serving in inner city Leeds, where a crisis in identifying indigenous leaders threatened to kill the church stone dead and leave our inner cities as spiritual wastelands. From there we went on to St Andrews, Chorleywood where I took up the position of Assistant Director of VMI UK, here the leadership challenges were of a very different nature. Here we had leaders “dripping from the ceilings,” but most were overcommitted at work and saw the church as a resource and not a place of service.  But we had set our heart on church planting, and so it was that we found ourselves staring across the table at John Wimber, in a little Italian Restaurant in Yorba Linda, California and the aforementioned invitation was the result.

Our time at the Anaheim Vineyard and in particular with John Wimber, was a “game changer”  but one of the highlights in our weekly routine was our meeting with Todd Hunter. One of the things Todd stressed over and over again was the importance of I.R.T.D.M.N.R…. catchy isn’t it?  Believe it or not, it’s the sort of thing we found ourselves muttering in our sleep. Identify, Recruit, Train, Deploy, Monitor, Nurture, & Reproduce.  Of course, it’s based on the Jesus model of leadership training.  These days, I get asked more about the “Identify” question than any other – perhaps it’s a reflection of the number of false starts, disappointments and just good old fashioned horror stories out there, so I’ll say more about this later.  But In my view it’s the last letter.. the “Reproduce” thing that needs the greatest attention these days, and something that we try and impress upon our leaders at every level of responsibility.  One of the biggest obstacles to reproduction is insecurity in the leader.  They just can’t let go.. they’ll come up with all sorts of excuses but the truth is more often than not, that they need to be needed so the ministry potential is capped at their comfort level.

It was never God’s plan that the Kingdom of God should grow incrementally.

When Jon & Sandra Burns came to St Albans, they demonstrated remarkable capacity and  potential and it wasn’t long before they were heading up our children’s ministry.  Jon is probably one of the finest leaders I have ever known.  He’s a natural, so he took to I.R.T.D.M.N.R. like a duck to water.  He’s also a natural visionary and spiritual entrepreneur, so I.R.T.D.M.N.R frees Jon up to hand things over and move onto the next challenge.  I believe it’s these qualities that have meant that the Lord has been able to entrust to Jon & Sandra, not only the planting of the Yarm Vineyard out of St Albans and now the Central London Vineyard, but also for Jon to take on the UK Directorship of “More Than Gold” and the founding of the extraordinary international football charity “Lions Raw”

When we understand that we are called to reproduce leaders.. who reproduce leaders… who reproduce leaders, the “genie is let out of the lamp” except in this case the genie is none other than the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God begins to grow exponentially. It was never God’s plan that the Kingdom of God should grow incrementally.  It’s designed to grow exponentially.  Leaders reproducing leaders who reproduce leaders. That’s what we need in the twenty first century…exponential growth.

Part two of this article will appear on the website soon…

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