CNLP 133: Todd Adkins on Why Most Churches Do a Bad Job at Leadership Development and How to Turn That Around

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The vast majority of churches struggle to recruit and keep volunteers and even staff. As a result, they can’t grow or expand.

Todd Adkins explains why most church leaders struggle to develop leaders and explains how to turn that around.

Welcome to Episode 133 of the podcast.

Todd on Twitter

LifeWay Leadership on Twitter

5 Leadership Questions Podcast with Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper

New Churches Q&A Podcast with Daniel Im

Happy Rant Podcast by Barnabas Piper

The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company by Ram Charan

Pipeline Conference Nashville, TN; October 11 – 13, 2017

Free ebook: Developing Your Leadership Pipeline 

Todd’s Recommended Reading List: 

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence For Every Believer by J. Oswalt Sanders

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton

Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. by Brad Lomenick 

Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein

Simon Sinek website and books

TrainedUp Leadership

ReThink Leadership Atlanta, Georgia; April 26 – 28, 2017

The Canadian Church Leaders Conference Barrie, ON; June 8th – 10th

Barnabas Piper on Episode 50

David Kinnaman on Episode 125

Jeff Brodie and Jeff Henderson on Episode 110

Les McKeown on Episode 112

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Leadership development requires intentionality. 

If you think that leadership development is going to naturally happen over time, you’re wrong. Todd tells us that in a study conducted by LifeWay, they found that 92% of pastors believe in the importance of leadership development and training… but only 1 in 4 actively practice it. Why? They don’t have the time, expertise, framework or resources.

Usually leaders are also ambitious doers, and striking a healthy balance between doing and developing is only something that happens with intentionality.

2. Self-audit your development time.

Todd walked us through an exercise you can do today that will help you self-audit your time developing vs. doing.

Step One: List out the top 20 things you spend time on in your job.

Step Two: Create two columns, label one “doing” and one “developing.”

Step Three: Go through your list and determine where each task falls.

If most of your tasks fall into the “doing” category, it’s time to tweak your list of priorities and get intentional about leadership development.

3. Are you building people or buying them?

If you look at your staff and realize that you bought most or all of them, then it’s time to reevaluate your leadership development culture.

There is a time or a place to buy staff, but a healthy leadership culture also produces leaders from within. Another sign that there isn’t a healthy leadership culture is when the church is growing to new sites and adding new initiatives, and there’s nobody internally who can staff or guide the growth.

There is power in multiplication instead of addition. Addition looks like “I need one more volunteer” where multiplication is “I’m building up a volunteer.” Todd challenges every leader to choose two people who you see leadership potential in and start there.

Quotes from This Episode

CNLP 133: Todd Adkins on Why Most Churches Do a Bad Job at Leadership Development and How to Turn That Around Click To Tweet CNLP 133: Todd Adkins on Why Most Churches Do a Bad Job at Leadership Development and How to Turn That Around Click To Tweet CNLP 133: Todd Adkins on Why Most Churches Do a Bad Job at Leadership Development and How to Turn That Around Click To Tweet CNLP 133: Todd Adkins on Why Most Churches Do a Bad Job at Leadership Development and How to Turn That Around Click To Tweet

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Next Episode: Warren Bird and Carl George

What does it take for churches to break through the 200, 400 and 600 attendance growth barriers? Carl George and Warren Bird literally wrote the book on it, and share some of the surprising obstacles church leaders face and outline how to overcome them to reach more people.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 134.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

And with another Sunday morning coming up, it'll just have to wait until next week when you have a few minutes to figure it out.

Now ask yourself this:

What would it feel like to have those answers at your fingertips 24/7?

Whether it's reaching new people, improving your preaching, increasing volunteers, refreshing your vision, engaging your staff, or any of the countless challenges we face as church leaders, The Art of Leadership Academy will equip you to lead your church with confidence and clarity.

Between comprehensive church leadership courses, live coaching calls, staff and volunteer training resources, and direct access to a private online community of senior-level church leaders, you'll get the exact insights and answers that fuel your church for growth.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.