Raise them up

Since I’m traveling back to Nashville this morning I thought I’d take the opportunity to invite my good friend and Cross Point’s Pastor of Ministries Chris Surratt to speak into something he is amazing at and is one of his roles here at Cross Point; raising up leaders. Take it away man.

I want to say thanks to Pete for letting me hang out on WithoutWax.tv today. I feel like the playing field is a little more even here because online – I have amazing hair.  I also smell really good, but you’re just gonna have to trust me on that one.

One of my passions as Ministries Pastor at Cross Point is the need to raise up and empower leaders. We are a fast growing, multi-site church that is in constant need of more leaders. Our staff to attender ratio right now is right at 1/180. The goal for most churches is to be somewhere around 1/100. That ratio causes us to not only get creative with how we do ministry, but it also forces us to empower staff and volunteer leaders to help lead the day-to-day ministry.

If you look at the Scriptures, the idea of raising up leaders is all throughout the Bible. One of my favorite passages is in Exodus 18, where Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, told Moses that he had to raise up leaders to help him or he was going to wear himself and everyone around him out. He told Moses to only do what only he could do – listen to God and teach His ways to the people – and everything else could be handled by other capable men. I also love that Moses did everything that Jethro said and then sent him on his way. Even Moses could only take his in-laws for so long. :)

I think there are 3 important things to remember as you begin to raise up leaders:

1. Give responsibilities and not just tasks

The easiest thing to do in a fast moving organization is to keep people busy doing tasks. In the church world, Sunday comes almost every 7 days (I’m always confused about leap years. Where does that day go?). There’s always something that needs to get done. I think that you avoid burnout with your leaders if you give them ownership. Let your younger leaders make some of the key decisions in their ministry or department. If you feel like you are the only one who can make the decisions, then odds are, you hired the wrong people. But that’s another post for another blog. :) People will rally around a decision that they helped make.

2. Allow them to fail

This is a tough one. Nobody likes to fail, but if no one is allowed to fail occasionally, nothing great will ever happen. I believe that your reaction to their failures will determine the level of their successes. If your leaders are always forced to play it safe because of the fear of failure, world-changing ideas will never happen. The disciples certainly did not play it safe. How many times did Jesus have to pull Peter up after a screw-up? The same Peter that led 3000 people to Christ on the first day of the Church. Leaders need the space to take chances and occasionally fail spectacularly.

3. Always praise publically and criticize privately

I think it’s critical to spend more time catching people doing good than looking for their mistakes. And when that happens, celebrate it big. In front of lot’s of people. When is the last time that you hated it when your boss told you “good job” in front of someone else? I like to start my meetings with staff and volunteers by finding out how they are doing personally. Not just with their role, but how are they doing spiritually? How is their family? If we can’t care for our staff and volunteers, then how are we going to care for the people in our churches? If you always have their back publically, then they will most likely have yours.

What are some ways that you empower leaders?

What things would be helpful to get from the leaders above you?


12 Responses to “Raise them up”

  1. Sarah Hall says:

    Amazing Blog–I agree that when empower leaders the church is able to grow and transform into the image Christ had for it since ACT 2. I love my leaders and how they are leading into my life and making me a leader leaning in on Jesus. Thanks for writing this!

    Sarah Hall(Quest Community Church)

  2. robin says:

    I think these tips are fantastic, and are wonderfully applied to life in general. In business, with kids, spouses, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Michael says:

    We have to let them come up with their own ideas. And by doing this we are acknowledging that God speaks to more than just us leaders.

  4. dan says:

    The lead pastor I work with is great at giving responsibilities & allowing me to fail. It’s happened a few times, but I’ve grown by leaps & bounds each time.

    The group that I lead, I give them responsibilities in their passions & gift sets. Whether it’s letting someone else teach or getting help from someone else when it comes to planning.

  5. Kyle McClain says:


    Love this advice! I have personally witnessed really fast moving, growing businesses and organizations hire extremely talented people only to cut them off at the knees by not doing this.

    It was heartbreaking to watch and caused a lot of hurt. Not to mention holding those organizations back from even great achievement.

    • I have watched organizations do that as well. An easy way to tell if a company really empowers leaders is their turnover rate of staff. Good leaders will not stay in a bad environment for long.

  6. scott says:

    is it ok to use iphone apps like this to take and share oaths http://www.take-an-oath.com ?

  7. Marni Arnold says:

    One way I seek to empower is by simply walking a life of faith. I fail quite a bit in this, but I am transparent with it – not just honest. I take moments I fail in my faith as an opportunity to grow from it, and through it, in Christ. People usually catch more what is revealed in examples of our character rather than the words we teach.

    This also happens to be the very thing I find very helpful from leaders above me. Their example of faith, not walking in fear. When I see another leader walking out in fear, it disheartens me and prompts me to pray for them and also myself so God can strengthen not only them, but myself so I continue to seek out the choice to always have faith even in the moments I fall.

    Thank you for such a great posting, Chris. This is great stuff for all leaders…and even just Christians alike. For we are all His children and called by Him to be His disciples.

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