Skip to content
Home » Ministry Leaders: Mac Lake on Leadership Development, Part 5| Defining Your Leadership Pathway

Ministry Leaders: Mac Lake on Leadership Development, Part 5| Defining Your Leadership Pathway

We respect the real thought leaders in ministry who are doing ministry day in and day out. Because of that, we’re bringing you different voices with real ministry perspective to aid, challenge and inspire you. It’s not about what we think, it’s about helping you learn from your peers. And in that, we’ll all growing together.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
By Mac Lake
When someone first steps into leadership, what should they focus on learning? There are dozens of possibilities. As a mentor I don’t want to frustrate a new leader by having them focus on things that are too advanced or even too simple. However, it’s important that I provide a Learning Pathway that makes sense and helps them progress in their ability to lead at the next level. One of the exercises we did as a leadership team while I was at Seacoast was to identify the competencies we felt were most important at each level of our leadership pipeline. Below you will find what we came up with.

The list for your organization will be different than ours, so I encourage you to gather your Lead team, identify the levels of your leadership pipeline and then define the competencies that are most important to you for each level.  This is a great exercise that will force your team to decide what leadership behaviors are most important in your origination.  You’ll also discover this list will provide a framework not only for training but for hiring, promoting and evaluating employees.  Just remember when you sit down to develop the list it will take more than one meeting.  Don’t rush it, going through the process is just as valuable as having the final list of core competencies.

  • Managing Your Time
  • Setting Personal Goals
  • Improving Personal Communication
  • Managing Your Personal Resources
  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Leading with Your Strengths
  • Submitting to Authority


  • Casting Vision
  • Managing Others’ Goals
  • Recruiting Volunteers
  • Giving Soul Care
  • Practicing 360 Communication
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Aligning People


  • Evaluating
  • Motivating Others
  • Managing Budgets
  • Team Building
  • Decision Making
  • Leading Meetings
  • Applying Situational Leadership


  • Persevering in Difficulties
  • Evaluating Systems
  • Building Morale
  • Employee Engagement
  • Hiring, Firing and Repositioning Talent
  • Mentoring Leaders
  • Focusing


  • Establishing Organizational Value
  • Forecasting the Future
  • Managing the Leadership Pipeline
  • Taking Risks
  • Inspiring Others
  • Succession Planning
  • Practicing Execution

Say it with me: “Developing leaders is what we do!”  It has to be stated that clearly for people to get it. But stating it clearly is still not enough; you have to make decisions that give evidence that leadership development is a high value in your organization.
I remember a key volunteer walked into my office one day and informed me that he wanted to apply for one of our staff positions. Treating this opportunity as an informal interview I began to ask what he would do if he were to get the position. He described how he would care, serve and love the people in that area of ministry. What he said was good. But the one thing I didn’t hear was how he would work through leaders and develop leaders for the expansion of the ministry. It was obvious he had the mentality (and skills) of a doer rather than a developer. So being straightforward with him I told him that his gifts and strengths added great value to our ministry, however for staff positions in our church we only hire people who are leader developers. Leadership development will not stand strong as a value in your organization unless you take a strong stand for it in your organization.
Take Ram Charan’s counsel and write leadership development into the job description of every leader on your staff and key volunteer positions.  This type of clear expectations will begin to shape a culture of leadership development.

Thanks for reading this post – join us next week for the last part in this leadership development series by Mac Lake, “When Leadership Development Dollars are Tight.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *