Movement Building
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Strategic Service–A Plan for Developing Emerging Leaders

What do you do with students who are committed to your ministry but lack an official leadership title or role?

Emerging Leaders are right in the middle of the ministry funnel. Click here to look at the entire funnel.

Emerging leaders have leadership potential but lack a leadership title. They are usually young in age, or new to the ministry in some manner (an older student who transfers in is another example). Their biggest need is to be aligned not in word but in deed to the mission, vision, and values of your ministry. Before you give them a title you need to be sure that they have those things embedded in their heart. I believe they are defined by their commitment, but in order to grow need a large degree of alignment.

Emerging Leaders Ministry

The best way I’ve found to align them is to have them SERVE intentionally. Most ministries do a good job getting emerging leaders involved, but those ministries that thrive seem to put these emerging leaders in service situations that contribute to a greater degree of alignment.

How? Set them up for service with vision and debrief them in light of strategy.

Set them up for service with vision: Emerging leaders need to know how their act of service will contribute to the big picture. If they are on your leadership radar then they will probably help regardless of the vision, but in my opinion this is wasted service in terms of ministry/movement building because their capacity to see the big picture is lost.

Debrief them in light of strategy: After the event it’s crucial to take a couple minutes to debrief in light of strategy–what sorts of things happened at the event in which they served? Why are these things so strategic for where the ministry needs to grow. They need you to connect the dots a couple of times–after that they will start to see their service as intentional and strategic on their own.

Any other ways you know of developing this group of students?


  1. Love the emphasis on making service for EL line up with MVV. I think before this I would have shared MVV and found them a place to serve. Now I understand better the need to explicitly connect their service MVV and making that connection clear; much more powerful.

    • thanks bern!

      i stumbled on this when coaching our community life team–it was the first time i saw it in the student’s eyes that they needed this connection made explicitly over and over again–but connected to the mvv.

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