The Secret Source of Unlimited Leaders

Why we need to be farmers, not recruiters

Perhaps the single most consistent need among Christian leaders is for people who can lead ministries. The vast majority of churches I have encountered in my travels all could use more leaders to maintain their ministries. So many churches have more children than child workers and more students than student workers. Everyone could use more musicians.

There are always a few churches, however, that do not have this struggle. There seems to be at least one church in every city that doesn't have the same overbearing need. They have all the leaders they need, and more.

Why is that? Why are some churches full of more leaders than they need, while the rest are all struggling in manpower poverty? I know the secret. I will share it with you now and you, too, can have more than enough leaders and resources to accomplish all the work God has called you to do.

The Problem with Recruitment

The churches that have the most leaders do not recruit leaders at all. That is why they have enough. The churches that recruit can never find enough. Below I will share some of the reasons why.

Recruitment of leaders is the only option recognized by most churches. Most leaders who have needs in their churches for ministry immediately take to recruiting. Recruitment is when we search for a leader from the outside to fill a need on the inside. We take on a headhunter role and search for the best leaders we can find for the tasks at hand.

For most Christian leaders, there is always more ministry than leaders. That just seems to be the way it is. This approach is rampant in the Kingdom of God. It is actually epidemic. In fact, for most, it is the only way they know. Most of Christendom is set up for this method.

Recruitment is never satisfied. There are never enough leaders for all the demand. Matching the right people to the right task is a hit-and-miss proposition. Plugging in new people to work in established ministries is a challenge in the best cases. In organic terms, this approach is like grafting in leadership. It is slow, awkward, and only successful on occasion. The leader is left constantly hungry for more leaders and seemingly having to compromise quality on a regular basis.

We start with a ministry need, and then we work to find someone to match the task. This is actually backwards. We start with our eyes on our own needs and we are never really able to see anything else. It seems that once you start down the recruitment path, you find yourself in a world where you are acutely aware of all that you do not have. In this world, there are not enough leaders to fill the gaps—let alone start anything new.

Recruitment sucks! I used to think that recruitment was a strategy that only added ministry to the Kingdom and could never be a multiplying strategy. I have come to see that it is not even an addition strategy. Recruitment is actually a subtraction strategy. It doesn't add anything to the kingdom. It simply takes from it. It is a strategy that uses the kingdom for its own good rather than contributing to the kingdom.

When everyone is taking and no one is contributing, soon the pool sucks dry and we are all left with nothing. The vast majority of churches are sucking up what little resources are left in the kingdom and contributing nothing back. The results are that we are in a drought. Our pool is shrinking daily, and in the end all we have left to us is the muck at the bottom of the pond.

This explains why so many churches are dying of thirst. Quality diminishes. Needs are left unfilled. Our thirst for more resources increases. Our churches are left weakened.

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