Leadership Development – Empower & Release

Chris Miller, President of Miller Management, is the guest host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleague, Jon Pickens, Executive Pastor at College Church of the Nazarene.

Leadership Development – part two

This month we will highlight information from the book, “Building Leaders: Blueprints for Developing Leaders at Every Level of Your Church” by Aubrey Malphurs & Will Mancini. And discuss how church leaders implement some of these practices into their own organization.

Select, Develop, Empower, & Release Leaders

Our last episode discussed Selecting leaders and Developing leaders. This episode will focus on Empowering and Releasing those leaders.

So how do we empower, set boundaries, and let people make mistakes?


At College Church, one of their mantras is “Trust, but verify.” Consistently observe the areas you are overseeing is a great way to celebrate the wins with your team, and also give feedback for opportunities for growth. Observation and regular meetings take out some of the anxiety that comes naturally when your boss wants to see you. If you wait until a crisis occurs, you are already behind the 8 ball. This way, all feedback is born out of a relationship.

This also helps when conversations lean toward movement out of their current role. Ultimately we want to empower people and have them flourish. But more on that in a minute.

A note about training

Not only do you want to observe what your people are doing, but also provide training with autonomy. “Hero Maker” by Dave Ferguson, is a roadmap of helping train people along the way and not dump and forget.

Andy Stanley gave a challenge to leaders to have them say “yes” more than “no.” If you can agree on the “why” something gets done, does it matter on the “how?” Try to find the “yes” in the situation. Empower your people.


Your ultimate goal should be to develop people so well that another church wants to hire them. But if you can keep them – if there is a seat on the bus – see if there is a lateral or upward move for them. If there isn’t any room, try not to be threated by departure.

“If God calls someone away, God will also call someone to us…Who am I to say no to that?” – Jon Pickens, College Church

Leadership Anxiety is a place we want to stay away from though. Not making decisions because of anxiety. All staff are with you for a time. You are responsible for their care, love, and stewardship while God allows them to be with you.

What happens when we hang on to the wrong people too long?

Church staff is like family, but you are still paying this person for a job they should be doing. If that isn’t happening anymore, first, take some time for coaching. Then you talk about what (positive) things you see in the person. You can draw attention to what the role requires and what you see if the person. If it’s a misfit, then you owe it to the person to tell them and find out what role is right for them.

If it’s an attitude problem, then there is conversation, coaching, documentations signed, and a repeat meeting in 30 days. And there is either change and everyone can move on, or if there is no attitude change, the person knows they will be gone at the end of those 30 days. Attitude problems can damper the culture, and ultimately hurt the long-term culture.

Good Attitude. Work Hard. Love Jesus. Those are really the qualifiers for a good employee.

Closing Thoughts

Empowering leaders takes time and effort. When we empower our leaders well, we have an opportunity to multiply ministry. If our goal is ministry multiplication, we should expect and celebrate when that person gets to move on and you have the opportunity to bring up the next leader.

Coming Up

Next week we will continue our series of Leadership Development.

Join the conversation, see behind the scenes, and learn more on our Instagram and Twitter.

Special thanks to our guest, John Pickens, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this second episode in our Leadership Development series.