Leadership Pipelines are Key to Movements

I was discussing this with some key leaders the other day.  And we all agreed that this was easier said then done. Pipeline

You can get away without having a decent leadership pipeline, at least for a while. But eventually you will find that you limit your impact.

If you’re really trying to catalyze movements then you’re going to need to get serious about your pipeline.

The key is to develop leaders at all levels. The maxim that you cannot reproduce the macro without reproducing the micro is true. Really.

If you’re dreaming of starting movements you can start them if you developing your leadership pipelines.

Some ways to ensure you’re doing this…

  • Is your language clear and consistent. Do people understand the difference between a leader and apprentice; between a coach and director? Do all of your ministry team use the same language? They must.
  • Do people understand their next steps in the leadership pipeline? Do they understand what they need to do in order to take that step?
  • How are you measuring your pipeline? Can you identify the number of people at the various stages in the pipeline? Do you know how many apprentices or coaches in the pipeline?
  • Are you aware of the clogs? Sometimes pipes get clogs. Are you aware of them? What are you doing to unplug them?

As one leader remarked in this conversation remarked, “all of this is about moving from me, to us to more of us.”

So true.

What does your leadership pipeline look like? Can you articulate it consistently?

Where is the clogs in your pipeline?

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Reproducing is the WHO

Reproducing is about people.

  • It’s not a new service.
  • It’s not a new church or campus.
  • It’s not new networks of churches or locations.


It’s people.

All of these things are what reproducing looks like. They’re good.

But they’re NOT reproducing.

I think it’s a subtle distinction but worth noting.

Reproducing is always about empowering and equipping people to lean into their unique calling and role in the Jesus mission.

If you desire God to use your life for impact through reproducing. Then you must ask yourself, WHO?

Because in the end, reproducing isn’t something you do…

…it’s WHO.

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How You Start Matters

How you start matters. In fact, it will determine whether you finish.

Take, for instance, running a marathon. I’ve run several myself. start

A marathon is 26.2 miles. That’s quite a distance. And so how and whether I finish the race is determined by how I pace myself. I’ve learned over the years to start slow and increase my pace as the race progresses. 

Starting too fast is a problem for many runners. 

Adrenaline and the desire to get on with it (or get it over) take hold. Running too fast early on in a marathon is bad. At best, you will tire and finish at a slower time. Worse, you will run out of energy and quit.

The wise runner is aware that how you start the race determines if in fact you will even finish it. 

And what I’ve learned about running is applicable to running is applicable to church planting.

Planting a church is like running a marathon. How you start is a strong predictor of how you will finish. The wise planter is aware of this and create strategies how best to avoid planting too fast and once launched, determines a reasonable place. 

Some ways planters can do this include:

  • Start slow and build speed once you find your rhythm.
  • Always be aware of your pace. Check yourself often.
  • Conditions change—be flexible.

Finishing isn’t the only thing of course. But there is a sense we are to finish what we start. I can almost hear the celebration in the apostle Paul’s voice when he told wrote Timothy:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

It seems Paul was aware of the finish. He strived for it.

Start at the right pace so you can finish the race.

What about you? How is your pace? Did you start too fast? What are you doing to find your rhythm?

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When Things DON’T Go According to Plan

How do you respond when things don’t go according to plan?

Let me explain.

Last week was a challenging week. I was traveling most of it. In hindsight, I tried doing too much. And things certainly DID NOT go according to plan.

In fact, lots of things went wrong.

The weather was a killer. Extreme cold delayed my flights. I drove through a rainstorm on my way to the Seattle-Tacoma airport that was so bad I could hardly see the car in front of me. The drive back from Detroit took twice as long due to a snowstorm. 

Throughout the week, I was late to meetings, rushing around, and struggling to keep up with emails and messages. The delays prevented me  from finishing a project I needed to get done. And I didn’t have time to blog.

At times, I was frustrated and stressed. I normally love to travel but it seemed that no matter how much extra time I allocated, I was still late. 

In the past, I would have let it really get to me. 

But I didn’t.

In fact, I found myself using the time in the car or waiting on a runway to pray about my set-backs and disappointments. I’ve been trying to do that more: giving God my stress. 

It’s not a prayer like, God take this stress. Rather, it’s a prayer that asks: God, help me to keep my perspective on what’s really important.

See, despite my plans, things are going to go wrong. Duh right! 

And what I am learning to go easier on myself. I am learning to trust that the challenges (even the inane ones)  are an opportunity for me to be intentional about the person I want to be. I follow Jesus and that means ALL areas of my life come under his authority, even the snowstorms and delayed flights. When things go wrong, I still have the opportunity invite Jesus into the midst of my frustration and disappointment.

What about you? 

Think about the last time something didn’t go right for you—something didn’t go according to plan. 

  • How did you respond?
  • Who did you blame?
  • Who did you treat poorly because you were in pissy mood?
  • Did you see it as an opportunity to grow?

Here’s the value in things going awry: we get the opportunity to respond. In fact, the more I reflect on this crazy week, the more I realize its the journey that matters anyway.

What really matters in life is how we respond to it. Our character matters to God. God is certainly more interested in how we travel the journey, then we what accomplish along the way.

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