The third essential verb to leadership few would disagree with theoretically. However, theory is not the problem, practice is.
Grow as a team - Ensuring that your team grows together is essential to alignment, unity, and balance. Admittedly, bringing everyone along in the growth process can sometimes be like “herding cats”, but the long-term health of the team is at stake. If team members are not embracing the vision, buying into the ministry, or taking steps forward in their development as a team member, it will inevitably create a drag on the team’s momentum.
As the leader it’s your responsibility to do the hard work of keeping everyone on the same page, at the same time, moving resolutely in the same direction. That requires growing together. That doesn’t mean that everyone will be growing in the same area. It does mean that everyone is consistently growing as necessary.
Jesus gives us the perfect word picture of being committed to growth. In John 15:1-3, Jesus is speaking to His disciples and he says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Here is the growing part. Just as a gardener prunes each branch so that it produces more fruit, so leaders should the same for their teams. Creating developmental growth opportunities must be selective and precise to the needs of the team member. Only an insightful leader who is living in close community with their team will know where growth needs to be produced.
Jesus continues in John 15:12-15 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.“
Intentional development and intimate friendship…that is the picture of a godly leader. Following the model of Jesus will set us apart from a ministry leadership style that is all too often depicted by inaccessibility and detachment.