I’ve worked with Lori for the past 6 months. Lori is a gifted leader and friend. Hundreds of people are impacted by the more than 50 strong, volunteer leaders she pours into regularly. Her ability to recruit, energize, and build leaders is astounding. Recently, I asked her to share at a Small Group Leader’s gathering. Then I asked her to share her process here today. She reluctantly agreed and I’m glad she did.
Bio: Lori Hahn, Director of Communications at ENCOUNTER/Bible Fellowship Church has a background in corporate marketing and advertising. Lori has been involved in developing student, women and mission leaders and teams over the last 26 years. Lori and her husband Daniel (Lead Pastor) also direct Breathe, a conference for weary cross-cultural workers.
Lori what’s your philosophy of identifying and developing leaders?
When I was in college, one of the leaders of our campus ministry shared a book with me that was all about Jesus’ model for developing leaders. Jesus’ approach was intentional to build disciples among a few guys who would bear witness to his life and carry on his ministry to the world. Jesus’ focus was not on programs to reach the multitudes, but on developing people whom the multitudes would follow.
Would you share your process for identifying and growing new leaders?
1) Look around your circle – Pay attention to those in your sphere of influence. Who in your small group, team you serve on, or the crowd around you exhibits leadership qualities? Start praying for this person.
2) Initiate coffee – I spend a lot of time getting to know potential leaders over coffee. Oh, they don’t view themselves as “leaders”, but they have the raw materials that make for a good leader. As I listen to their story, I look for the parts that others would connect to. I help them consider how God might use their experience, skills, heart, pain and mistakes for His kingdom purposes.
3) Notice gifting – I love to help people discover their unique gifting! Most people don’t consider the things they do naturally as a “gift” that God could use in leadership. It helps to have another set of eyes say, “I notice how you naturally make people feel welcome, or how you organize, or listen, or cheer others on etc. Have you ever considered using this gift on our leadership team?” People often respond with “I could never do that! No way!” Behind these words, there is a teachable, humble, future leader. My role is to point out that leadership “spark”, help ignite it and fan it into a flame.
4) Core of four – We ask our leaders to bring three other people alongside of them: a co-leader or apprentice, a host, and an organizer/administrator. Sure, it’s easier to do things yourself – but are you robbing others of the opportunity to discover their potential for leading? Our role is to equip others to help “carry the log”, rather than dragging “the log” alone. Stewardship as leaders means that we train others to lead so that our replacement is a step behind us.
5) Communicate expectations – Recruit a potential leader to a vision, rather than to a task. Help them understand how their role is part of the bigger picture and how what they do will have an impact. Break tasks down into “bite-size” pieces with clear, written expectations. Many of us recall being asked to do one thing – and then discovering that the one thing mushroomed into way more than we signed up for. Be clear and reasonable about the task or role you are inviting potential leaders to consider.
6) Appreciate leadership – So much of leading happens behind the curtain and often goes unnoticed. Remind potential leaders that God sees the little things they do – and that you appreciate these little things, too. Take time to thank people in person, with a card or email. Tell them how their faithfulness to serving made a difference. We all need to know that what we do really matters.
7) Invite feedback – Ask potentials leaders for their opinions. “What worked? What didn’t? What could we do different?” Sometimes leaders feel threatened by change, new ideas or letting someone else be in the spotlight. Create a collaborative atmosphere that allows others to contribute their thoughts and ideas.