Imagine a multi-generational church with many mature leaders. The church will run smoothest if the skilled men and women do the work. They have the experience and can pass on their wisdom to the next generations. Sermons will be better if the preacher has hundreds of sermons under his belt. Classes will go be better if the teacher has taught for decades. But this approach only works for a time. People get older and eventually others have to take their place. The church won’t be prepared for the next generation if her leaders took the easy route of doing everything themselves. And now the chance to mentor that generation is gone.

Good leaders raise up other leaders. This means giving the people under them opportunities to try things. Since excellence takes experience, these early efforts will almost certainly be poor, much worse than if the leader had done it himself. This is very much like parenting if you think about it. At first, it was much easier for my wife Aja to clean the bathrooms than to have my son Owen clean. She had to spend time showing him, and then come after him and fix his mistakes. However, eventually Owen learned how to clean the bathroom and Aja is freed to do other things. Also, Owen now has a skill that will serve him well as an adult. I imagine this is part of the reason pastors must manage their households well (1 Tim 3:4-5).

Of course, leaders can’t just throw people out there. Pastors need to set them up for success, giving them the training they need and encouraging them at every opportunity. That is good leadership.