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Leadership in Context Episode 19 Show Notes

Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci

Episode 019

Recruiting Leaders, part 1

One of the top things that should be on every leader’s list is reproducing yourself and raising up leaders.

First, let me give those of you perspective who have had a rough time raising up leaders: Jesus raised up 12 and lost one of them. There were a few other disciples that took a while to produce fruit. One of the biggest hindrances to raising up leaders can be getting beyond our past situations. Let’s take a look at raising up leaders with a fresh perspective.

Problem: I just don’t have any leaders to raise up.

Leaders are different than managers. Managers will move the pieces they already have very effectively. Leaders will go out and get the pieces, they will make the pieces, carve the pieces, create the pieces. One of the ways to raise up leaders is through recruitment.

Is it spiritual to recruit leaders?

Jesus did. He recruited His disciples.

Matthew 4:18-20

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

When Jesus recruited them, He used 2 great statements:

  1. Follow Me.

  2. This is what will happen when you do.

When you are recruiting leaders, you have to communicate that they have to follow you and then tell them where they will end up if they do follow. If you have people who want to end up somewhere but they don’t want to follow you—that doesn’t work. If you have people who are trying to follow you but you are not clear to them about where you want them to end up (or where the next step is for them), then it is going to be hard to recruit them.

Early on in my ministry, I don’t think I believed in recruiting leaders. I think I looked for the people with the best leadership potential. Like watching for the cream to rise to the top. That is still a very valid method, but there can be a recruitment of leaders when you are excited about your vision and you have a plan to help them become a leader.

What happens if you get someone who doesn’t fit?

If you find that someone doesn’t fit, you let them work themselves out of the situation. For example, if I was in a situation where I was in need of small group leaders and I could not identify who my next leaders were, I may say on a Sunday morning, “We are looking for small group leaders who want to help us pastor and care for the body. If you are interested, there will be a training session that will happen on X date.” When you make that kind of announcement, you don’t know what you are going to get. In my experience, I have had more good surprises than bad disappointments. There have been people who have figured out on their own that they weren’t the right fit. There were a few instances where I had to help them figure that out. But on the whole, I found people that I may never have picked up on who were amazing.

The Training Session

Staying with the example of small group leaders, in that first training I would talk about the job. This is what the job is. “If you are a small group leader, you need to have:

  • an hour of prayer each week,

  • follow up on your people every week,

  • fill out a form every week,

  • visit people in the hospital…”

(I’m not saying that has to be the job description. In our small group leader culture, they really did help pastor and did all of those things.) Whatever it is that you are expecting them to do, lay the workload out.

  • Tell them what is going to be involved.

  • Tell them about extra training.

  • Tell them that when guest ministers comes in town, they have to be at the leadership meetings.

  • Tell them they have to work their schedule around certain dates that are coming up.

  • Tell them that there are books they will have to read.

Lay that all out. Then say, “Our next training will be X date.” (A couple of weeks later.)

Training Session #2

You’ve already told them what the job is. Now you start on the qualifications. You tell them WHO you need to do the job. This is where you talk about:

  • church body issues,

  • life issues,

  • submission to authority,

  • tithing,

  • ability to get along with others,

  • servanthood,

  • and character issues.

At the end of that meeting, I would hand out an application to be a small group leader. The application would ask them very direct questions about some of the things I just mentioned. (The WHO part of the job.) I would tell them, “Take this home and fill it out. If you are still interested, please contact this person.”

The Next Steps

You’ve had the two training sessions. They’ve filled out the application and are interested. The next step is a personal interview with them to see where I thought they were. After that, I would start the small group leaders’ actual training. “Here is what we are going to do:

  • We are all going to go through this book.

  • In 3 months, we are launching an evangelism emphasis, and here are the books you need to read to prepare for that.

  • You need to apprentice first in someone else’s group.

  • You need to commit to be in the prayer room X times a month…”

In these meetings, you’ve solved a lot of problems and have been able to identify your next small group leaders. Some of these leaders you might have never identified, but through this process, you started a snowball in the right direction.

AND you’ve communicated to the church that to be in leadership, you don’t have to be part of a certain family or a certain clique. There are a lot of people in a lot of churches who believe that. They look at leadership and see that some of them have the same last name (which is a blessing and not a curse), some of them have known each other for several years, and some of them have done all of these things together. They form the false perception that you have to be “one of those” to get “in” here. By recruiting, by turning the funnel open wide and giving people an entry point, you’ve started something where you can talk about raising up leaders.


This process creates accountability for yourself as a leader. You have to come up with the training. You have to produce a timeline. You have to invest in people. You have to spend time with people to find out if this is really going to work out with them. These are critical things that will force you to be clear. This will move you from that subjective realm of “What are we looking for?” Terms like faithfulness and loyalty are great terms, but they are very subjective terms. To move from the subjective, you must define these terms. “Loyalty means A, B, C. Commitment means A, B, C.” You have to spell it out, and spell it out repeatedly every time—with the same words, phrases, sentences. You do this until it is so clear to people that they are either getting it or they are asking about it.

Deed-Doers or Leaders

Let’s make sure we are talking about leadership and not just deed-doers. A lot people in a lot of scenarios say they are looking for leaders, but what they really are looking for are people to do jobs and tasks. That is absolutely, positively legitimate. If I want someone to do a task, I look for someone with a certain skill set that I can train. When I’m looking for a leader, I see God in them. I see something in them; who knows what God is going to do with this person. Maybe they will be an elder for 20 years; maybe we will send them out; maybe they will be the next pastor here at the church. Real leaders who are being raised up can tell if they are really being raised up just to do a job or if you really have the lid off and are saying, “I want you to be the best you can be.” Of course, that has to happen in a training setting. That has to happen through loyalty and commitment and faithfulness and integrity. But that is not the end of the road. Those are the qualifications. God needs called people that He then qualifies. He doesn’t just look for qualified people that He then calls. Often, in local church leadership, we get that backwards.


Look at your schedule for this year. How many places are there in your schedule where you are not just working with your existing leaders, but you are overtly, intentionally, objectively, clearly recruiting and making a way for new leaders? Have some kind of funnel where you can motivate and give people a chance to rise. In my experience, I am so thankful that I was able to find people that I would have drafted low who ended up being better than a first-round draft pick, and I only found them through recruiting.

We have to remember where we came from. We either had people who did not give us a chance and showed no faith in us, or we had people who DID give us a chance and showed some faith in us. Let’s open up the doors of our church. Let’s open up the funnel inside our church. Let’s recruit some leaders, and raise them up on purpose!

Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!

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