At Community and NewThing we have believed in and experienced the benefits of a strong internal leadership pipeline, where we are constantly developing the next generation of leaders right in our own context. This leadership pipeline has yielded a number of benefits.
1) The Pipeline Results in “Conversion” Growth. In the church world there is conversation about conversion growth versus transfer growth. Conversion growth is the result of people who find their way back to God in your church. Transfer growth is the result of someone coming to your church from another church. Community and NewThing want to be the source of new leaders. We want to constantly be raising up and developing new leaders within our church and movement. We have several senior level leaders who found their way back to God at Community and have now become some of the most influential leaders in our church.
2) The Pipeline Gives Apostolic Leaders a Dream. Many of our leaders are developed in the context of our adult small groups. One of the challenges of a small group is that they are by definition “small.” Anyone who has experienced the power of a dynamic, community-building small group, knows the impact is anything but small. Apostolic leaders need to see a path by which their influence can expand beyond a single small group. The pipeline gives them a vision for how they can develop more and more leaders and over time increase their influence and impact.
3) The Pipeline Lets Us Promote from Within. When we are looking for new staff, our first thought is to ask, “Who do we have in our leadership pipeline?” Our preference is to always promote from within. When we hire from within we know what we are getting. We have seen firsthand what this person can do. Promoting from within is less costly, as it saves you the cost of a search firm. It is faster, as you are able to hire someone who is already in your church or organization. It is more certain, as you have been able to observe this person in action over time.
4) The Pipeline Challenges Leaders to Develop New Skills. Leaders look at this pipeline and they realize that they are going to need to continue to be lifelong learners if they hope to continue to expand their influence. They will recognize that the skills required to lead a small group are not the same skills required to coach other leaders or to pastor a campus or church plant. One of the most important qualities of a leader is teach-ability. The pipeline demands that leaders become life long learners.
5) The Pipeline Increases the Lifespan of Leadership. In this leadership pipeline there is no room for leaders to get bored or feel like they have no opportunity for expanded influence. It can take years to move through this pipeline. John Ciesniewski is now a movement leader at Community, which means he is actually responsible for several network leaders. He started as an individual or attender at Community 15 years ago.