A year of leadership development

Shortly after becoming the pastor, I had several men in our church asking me if we could do some sort of Bible study or theology club together. Wow. There’s nothing a pastor loves more than a bunch of guys who are humble, teachable, and hungry for the Word.

Discipleship is one of the main priorities of a spiritual leader. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul instructs Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” So, after prayer and some research, I put together a one-year leadership development program called “SaLT” (Servant Leadership Training). We started it in January 2007.

SaLT was fairly intense, requiring the men to read a book a month, memorize a passage of Scripture each month, and attend a 1.5 – 2 hour meeting each month for accountability and discussion. We just concluded the program, and I can testify God blessed every one of us through it. Here is an outline of what we did together over the past year:

  • Month 1: Introduction to biblical discipleship.
  • Month 2: Bible Study. Read Sproul’s Knowing Scripture and memorized Psalm 19:7-10
  • Month 3: Bible Application. Read Doriani’s Putting the Truth to Work and memorized 2 Timothy 3:14-17
  • Month 4: Personal Holiness. Read Bridge’s Pursuit of Holiness and memorized 1 Peter. 1:14-16
  • Month 5: Purity & Marriage. Read Alcorn’s The Purity Principle and Mahaney’s Sex and the Supremacy of God; memorized Romans 13:13-14 and Hebrews 13:4
  • Month 6: Basic Theology, pt. 1. Read Grudem’s Christian Beliefs and memorized 2 Timothy 2:15-16
  • Month 7: Basic Theology, pt. 2. Read Lutzer’s Doctrines that Divide and memorized 2 Timothy 2:24-26
  • Month 8: Prayer. Read Carson’s A Call to Spiritual Reformation and memorized Philippians 1:9-11
  • Month 9: Theological Orthodoxy. Read Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism and memorize dGalatians 1:8-9
  • Month 10: Love. Read Strauch’s Leading with Love and memorized 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Month 11: Baptist Theology. Read Why I am a Baptist (ed. by Moore and Nettles) and reviewed all Scripture
  • Month 12: Evangelism. Read Driscoll’s Radical Reformission and reviewed all Scripture

I highly recommend a program like this for those who are willing to stick with it. The main drawback was that it was too intense for some of our church members, so we did not have the broad participation I would have hoped for. There were only about 7 of us who stuck with it the whole year. It allowed me to pour more time and instruction into those who are most eager to learn, but we need to also find ways to pursue and train those who stay quietly on the fringes. We are looking at possibly doing some mentoring small groups for next year – essentially now asking the men I have trained to take what they’ve learned and go disciple one or two others.

If you have other ideas for leadership development, I encourage you to leave a comment below.

Fridays are often dedicated to practical church ministry issues. If you have a question or suggested topic for the future, please email me.


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