How To Develop Your High-Capacity Leaders

If you and I had a cup of coffee together and I asked you if you needed more leaders at your church, I can nearly guarantee you’d say yes.

We all do.

If any church has a vision big enough to need God, it also needs more leaders. God doesn’t need us to accomplish His purposes, but He chose us. God chose to accomplish His purpose through people like you and me. Amazing, and true.

This need for more leaders is not new.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Acts 6:1-7. Probably because I love church so much, and truly believe it is the hope of the world.

They were solving problems in the church, (sound familiar?) and working on their need for more leaders.

It was less complicated then, but they experienced no less pressure. The new leaders were basically prayed over and jumped right into the deep end.

They saw the need, chose wisely, and empowered new leaders. That hasn’t changed.

What has changed is the level of complexity in modern culture, the size of the organized church, and the corresponding need to lead through layers.

Leading by sight works but is limited. You can only lead as far as you can see. You look around and know who is new, who is missing, who needs help, who’s causing trouble, etc., and then attempt to get it covered. It’s limited to you, and the few you can personally delegate to.

Leading through layers is like flying by instrument, you can’t see everything yourself. You must trust high-capacity leaders to carry out their part of the vision, so the fullest potential of your vision can be realized.

Leading through layers doesn’t focus on the 80 volunteers you need, or the 15 needed leaders. It focuses on the 3 or 5 or 7 high-capacity leaders that help you lead farther than you can on your own.

NOTE: Every volunteer is needed, and all leaders are important, but this post focuses on developing your most influential leaders.

4 principles to develop your high-capacity leaders.

1) Avoid stagnation with great passion and intentionality

You’re a leader, but do you know what you are truly good at? More importantly, what are you getting better at?

Most of us carry a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities, but what is respected by really sharp leaders is the thing we’re really good at. What is that for you?

  • Are you a people person? Then pour your heart into it.
  • Are you a communicator? Then keep improving your craft.
  • Are you a strategic organizer? Then keep it fresh, relevant, and effective.
  • Are you a whiz in financial matters? Then keep learning the hard stuff.

We need to be really good at something if we want to connect with people who are really good at something. The good news is that you have incredible freedom in what that is.

God has already given your talent to you, it’s up to you to uncover and develop it.

When I’m working with a young leader, it doesn’t matter if what they are good at isn’t in the realm of leadership, yet. They might be an amazing musician, athlete, or brilliant in mechanics or science. That demonstrates they have the “right stuff” inside, and are willing to invest in themselves, pay the price and develop all of their abilities. In this case, their influence.

The point is to keep growing, don’t become satisfied and stagnant, keep getting better at your craft.

And here’s a little secret. The better you get, the more enjoyable it becomes.

2) Know who you are and what you have to offer.

It might be intimidating to find, develop and empower (give part of your job away) to people, some of whom can do it better than you can. Do it anyway. This is how you grow and multiply your influence for the Kingdom.

Let’s start with the basics of what you have to offer, no matter what level of influence you currently carry.

The quality and depth of your spiritual life.
Christian CEO’s and business owners of large organizations have similar spiritual struggles and questions as you do. Your ability to model a maturing spiritual life and guide others to the same is truly invaluable.

Your genuine care and concern.
Giving your heart, (your genuine care and concern) to another human being is always a great gift, and is often more life changing than you would imagine. Don’t take that lightly.

The opportunity for a person to be part of leading something bigger than they are.
I don’t know if anyone can offer something more meaningful or bigger than being part of the organized purpose and plan of God. We can all accomplish more together than on our own.

From this foundation, you add your personal gifting, talent and ability!

3) Don’t expect to find High-Capacity leaders hanging out in groups looking for something to do

Some high-capacity leaders are young and inexperienced but loaded with potential. Others are brilliant leaders but young in their faith. Still others are incredible leaders and mature Christians.

One thing true about all of them, is they are rarely found in a classroom all with their hands lifted high in the air. If they are in a gathering, they are less likely to come up to you on a break. Please forgive the generalization, but its more accurate than not.

They are not playing hard to get, but the best leaders already have a full life and don’t want to add busy work, but they will give themselves to a purpose with great meaning.

Like the Bald Eagle… you won’t find high-capacity leaders on the shoreline hanging out with all the other wildlife. They fly in different places at higher altitudes.

Let’s take the mystery out of this with a few practical steps.

  • Keep investing in yourself and getting better at what you do.
  • As you look for sharp leaders, ask God to give you discernment and favor. What you pray for, you look for and what you look for, you find.
  • Don’t be afraid of sharp people who ask you hard questions and might disagree with you. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and learn how you can serve them.

And remember, if you keep getting better at what you do, the best leaders will find you!

4) Always focus first on adding value, not asking for more.

You may be young in your leadership experience, but you are never too young to begin investing in high-capacity leaders.

Always add value to other leader’s lives. Focus your thinking and efforts on wanting more for them than from them.

Early in your leadership development you are understandably more focused on your own personal growth, but the sooner you take those first courageous steps to invest in other leaders, the better.

You may be a veteran leader, but haven’t consistently developed other leaders. It’s never too late to start.

These are the foundational tools you already have.

Invest generously.
When I’m around sharp leaders I want to learn from them, but I focus on what value I can add to their life. It doesn’t have to big to be meaningful. Your genuine interest in their life and your encouragement makes a big difference. Perhaps you can recommend or give them a good book you are reading. Ask how you can pray for them. If they are leading a ministry, ask what they need. These are very basic but meaningful kinds of things you can do.

Shepherd with truth.
Leaders respect and appreciate those they know and trust who will speak honest truth into their life. This is a great gift. Too often others are intimidated by successful leaders and don’t want to take that risk. This is rarely a confrontation, but just speaking helpful truth from your observation and from Scripture.

Serve them well.
To serve someone well is to put them first. It involves placing their needs and pressure above your own. Serving others isn’t complicated, but it does require heart, intentionality and time.


Over the course of time as you grow in your leadership, your wisdom, insight, unique gifting, and decision-making, will find its way into the relationships of your high-capacity leaders. And your very best leaders want you to grow as much as you do!

16 thoughts on “How To Develop Your High-Capacity Leaders”

  1. Dr. Pamela Woodson, Christian Education Director Fresh Visions Community Church

    These were Great refocusing reminders & encouragement!

    Thank you.

  2. When I think of the number of leaders I know today and where they started who never saw themselves as leaders. Today God is using them to lead others. I think of a pastor who started a church who told his teacher in high school he would never use what he was being taught in speech class. I also think of a man in a preaching class I took in seminary who had a lot of trouble preaching. Two years later some of us took another preaching class and he was in that class. After we heard him give his first sermon we were shocked at what we heard. The sermon was very different than the struggle we heard two years earlier. During the break during the class some of us who knew him talked about how much he had changed. It was as if we had experienced a miracle.

  3. Pertinent & striking lessons on Leadership.
    Thank you.

    Whats Leadership?

    1. Leadership is the art of communicating vision

    2. It is the establishment of objectives and marshaling of resources to realizes these objectives.

    3. Leadership is about making difficult decisions that impact the lives of those you serve &those with whom you serve.

    Institutions are permanent fixtures on the landscape of our communities.
    :- The individuals(LEADERs) who fill the offices of these institutions over time are no more than stewards for the next generation.

    “We can all accomplish more together than on our own.-Dan Reiland

    “None of us is as smart as all of us.-Ken Blanchard

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