In chapter one of Leadership Explosion I talk about the barriers to preparing leaders for the battle. One of those barriers is “Christian Education.” The following three paragraphs come from Leadership Explosion (pp. 24-25).
The Christian education in many churches is simply not conducive for mobilizing lay leadership. The goal of the training is unclear and the training process is even fuzzier. Everyone is encouraged to enter the classes, but few know what they are being trained to do. The hope is that leaders will develop by themselves. This barrier is often imperceptible. “After all,” many pastors muse, “I have many leaders in my church.” Yet when you examine more closely, you’ll discover self-made leaders who were often developed outside the church.
The phrase “general education” characterizes the training in most churches. The goal is often to prepare a person to live the Christian life, rather than to lead a group of a people. I’m in no way criticizing general education. My love for learning propelled me to acquire a Ph.D. Lifetime learning, in fact, is a highly valued leadership trait. Churches, however, are uniquely positioned to help exercise the muscles of the lifetime learners and to transfer head knowledge to the feet. Effective leaders come down from the lofty tower and succeed in the trenches, where the battle for souls is won or lost.
Yet, even when a person does feel prepared, often there’s a lack of available openings for service. For these reasons and others, a few key people do all the work. Researchers have repeatedly discovered that in most churches, 10% of the people do 90% of the work.
There are a lot of worthy educational courses out there. Yet, we must go beyond mere knowledge. We need to move people to the point where they can do something with that knowledge in a practial setting. Cell group ministry provides a great atmosphere for a person to pastor, serve, evangelize, and minister.