Coaching Conversations: Releasing new leaders

One of our Missional Communities is reaching the point where they need to begin to plan for multiplication.  They’ve grown and a few different vision areas are beginning to find space for expression.  The whole community can’t sustain all these different areas long-term so it’s time for them to work out how to launch and release those new visions out as brand new MCs in their own right.

I recently had a conversation with the key leader of this MC who was trying to work out how to encourage the leaders of the key areas to step up more and to take more responsibility for taking decisions, rather than looking to him all the time to tell them what to do.

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This can be quite a challenging time for a leader as you basically look to relinquish control of the MC, letting others make decisions you might not necessarily agree with or even make mistakes.  But it’s vital to let them do this!  After all we’ve all had to go through the same process before.  It’s a time for the leader to step back from offering opinions on everything, and staying quiet in order to encourage other leaders to express their own thoughts and ideas; push them to make their own decisions about their particular area of vision rather than look to you all the time. Your main job at this stage is to make sure to keep the momentum going towards multiplication or sending out of the new MCs.

Remember the stages of the leadership square…”I do, you watch”, “I do, you help”, “You do, I help” and crucially at this point…“You do, I watch.”  If you’re still trying to ‘help’ or ‘do’ at this stage then you won’t get to the point of multiplying successfully.  You need to instill confidence in the other leaders’ ability to make decisions and lead under God’s guiding.  If you keep interfering then that’s like a parent never letting go of a child’s hand when they’re learning to walk.  Falling over is part of the process of learning to walk! It’s the only way you learn balance.

Don’t worry if this feels like a vulnerable time – for you and them – in many ways it is.  Hold your nerve and just keep encouraging them to focus on Jesus; constantly remind them that God has called them to do this and they are the best people to be leading the vision He has given them.

Helen Askew
 lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire along with her two children and husband Ben who is ordained in the Church of England as a Pioneer Curate.  She has been part of and led Missional Communities for around 15 years and works for Kairos Network Church as the Network and Communities Developer.