#7 Develop Future Leadership (WOLIM 9 Responsibilities)

Purpose: To help WOL field leadership understand the basics of WOL philosophy and strategy.

#7 Develop Future Leadership


Purpose:  Effective leaders understand the value of committing what they have learned to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Lesson Expectation:

The leader will learn to recognize leadership potential in others and how to guide them through a simple model of growth according to their giftedness.



Watch and Learn

There should be a period of evaluation and understanding when beginning a new ministry role.  Understanding the people that God has placed around you takes months (or even years), not days or weeks.  We run into problems when we make snap-judgments about people based on things we’ve previously heard (we’ll address that more in the next few steps) or appearances.  A good leadership ‘rule of thumb’ that works in most situations is this: how would you want to be treated if the roles were reversed?

James 1:19 gives us the principle of using our 2 ears more than our 1 mouth – not just when leading a field, but in life.  But especially when you’re just starting out on a field.  The time will come when you need to be inputting – but that time is not when you arrive.  Showing up and immediately inserting your expertise into the team dynamic is not only selfish but it discredits your team.  Take the time to get to know them and why they do what they do.  Ask good questions and take good notes.  Take the time to think through what you’ve written and pray through it.  Your team members will be much more aligned with your future vision if you’ve taken the time to build trust through understanding their thinking and processes.

You’ll have to use discernment to know how long the introductory watching/learning process should take, but this simple formula for pacing out your understanding may help:

a) Take the number of years a field has been actively engaged in ministry
b) Turn that number into weeks
c) Use that number as your benchmark


a) WOL Norway has been involved in active ministry for 17 years.
b) That is 17 weeks.
c) That’s just over 4 months.

So based on this formula you would have an intentional watching/learning period lasting 4 months.

The shorter the ministry span the shorter the learning time and vice-versa.  This isn’t a mandate, but simply a guide that might help you.  Based on other circumstances (complexity of the ministry, problems the field has experienced, your understanding of that field’s unique culture) you may need to shorten or lengthen that timeframe.  But if you use that formula and really discipline yourself to not lay out any vision or new initiatives until that time frame is over, you will probably have allowed yourself enough time to thoroughly understand the ministry and to build trust. 

Why is watching and learning so important to leadership development?  Because it demonstrates your selfless commitment to your team.  Done strategically, it helps you build a strong foundation for your leadership.  It will allow you to:

 - Begin to know your team and the leaders on your team
 - Understand their thoughts behind why they do what they do
 - Learn why they got into ministry.
 - See how they interact with their spouse and children
 - Know which church they personally attend and why

Do a personality profile and spiritual gifts test

There are no ‘tests’ in existence that 100% accurately depict or demonstrate who a person is personally or spiritually.  However, there are some tools that can help us understand a person better.  For decades people in ministry and secular business have been utilizing profiles for the same reasons.

  1. The ‘Jung’ Typology Test.  This particular test gives you 4 letters that depict your personality profile.  According to the theories, the personalities of the entire world can be found in 16 personality profiles.  There has been extensive study done on these 16 profiles, so there is much that be ‘Googled’ to help you learn about the personality the test says you possess. 

    This can be a great tool – it can help you understand the people you’re working with much faster, and will help you to know how to better communicate with them.  You can also study your personality profile alongside another’s profile to see how to best interact with them.  Some business professionals swear by the need for team leaders to know the personality profiles of their team so rearranging them, hiring outsiders and letting people go can be much more strategic (to read more about Michael Hyatt’s approach to this – click here).

    A free ‘Jung’ typology test can be found here
  2. A Spiritual Gifts Test.  This is something that has been used by churches and organizations for decades, and not without controversy.  Some people are admittedly opposed to a ‘Spiritual Gifts Test’ because giftedness shouldn’t be discovered through a test but through wise counsel and ministry experience.  Good points – and we’re not going to try to discredit that.  However, like we said before, these tools can simply be used to help understand a person better and not as a final indicator of how God has blessed them.  Hence a tool to understand how a person might be gifted spiritually.
Why is understanding their spiritual gift an important part of leadership development?  Because what we’re doing in ministry is spiritual work, and work that the Holy Spirit is to be energizing.  That energizing will be through our giftedness that He has provided to us.  If someone on your team is in an area that is not aligned with their spiritual giftedness, you will have problems (i.e. someone whose ministry is to teach Bible Institute students but they don’t have the gifting of teaching).  If the Holy Spirit has given us gifts that are intended to be used in ministry, and yet we ignore that, we are discrediting His role and His work in the lives of our team.

Pay attention to other sources

Other people can give us a good indication of the team that God has given us to serve.  If an area pastor says to you, “Oh, that man on your staff is not nice – in fact he is rude!”, that would be something you would want to take notice of. 

Notice this teaching point doesn’t say “Take action based on what others are telling you”…it simply says “Pay attention to other sources.”  It means your head is not in the sand on what other people are saying about your team, and that you’re using these sources as reference/teaching material for understanding people better.  Chances are if everyone is saying the same thing about someone else (like: “I’d rather not work with that person”) then at the very least there is something to be learned about the people that are saying it and the person it’s being said about. 

Create a modelling/replicating ministry model

After you have followed some of afore mentioned items, it may be time to begin to train your team following a simple leadership structure that allows for trial and error, mistakes, success and eventually duplication.

Take for example a young man on your team that demonstrates some good abilities but just lacks professionalism or maturity in a particular area.  You will need to take the time to help him grow by demonstrating the model yourself and giving him opportunities to try the model for himself.  Maybe you’ve noticed that he has the potential to be a gifted communicator of the gospel:

‘I Do, You Watch’.  Do your best that every time you are somewhere communicating the gospel that he is there with you.  Share with him ahead of time your outline.  Explain to him why you use different approaches based on the age you’re communicating to.  Walk him through your process of message preparation.  Share your technique to giving the invitation.  Don’t assume that he will know how to do any of this.  Don’t belittle him, but treat him as someone that is learning everything from the very beginning.  When the event is over ask him questions about what he saw.  Encourage him to state what he liked and didn’t like.  Help him to begin to think critically through the process for himself.

‘We Do Together’.  It would be tough to share the gospel publically together, but many other aspects can be worked on before hand, during and after that will allow for training to take place.  Before your next gospel presentation invite him over to your house to begin the message prep.  Take the time to pray through what you want to share together.  Work on your passage of Scripture together.  Have him write out an outline that could be used.  Analyze it and critique it together.  Involve him in as many aspects as possible/practical.

‘You Do, I Watch’.  This can one of the most enjoyable aspects of this process but also the most nerve-wracking for the man you’re working with.  He will be in a very vulnerable place and you will have the opportunity to mold him in a particular direction.  You won’t want to make the mistake of being too hard on him but also not speaking the truth in love.  Share with him beforehand what the expectations are and then discuss with him afterwards the ways that the expectations were met or the areas that need to be improved for next time.  You don’t want to make this a negative event for your protégé, but something that he will remember positively for years to come.  In your communication if you’re going to error either in your criticisms or your grace, error in giving too much grace.

‘You Do and Teach Another’.  The same process that you took this man through he must now take another man through.  It probably won’t be immediately after you’ve finished your training, but at some point the process of 2 Timothy 2:1-2 needs to happen.  And you need to hold him accountable in making sure it happens.  Go over with him again what you and he did from the start of the process to conclusion – document it and remind him of the ‘why’ of each step.  And then provide encouragement/coaching to him as he works through the process with another.

What significance does James 1:19 have when it comes to leadership/teaching another?

In your own words, why would it be important to take the time to learn a new field before you begin to implement change or give direction? How long should that take?

How well do you know Word of Life?

A Field Director serves as the primary advocate/spokesman for the ministry.  Because of this, he needs to be prepared in how to talk about Word of Life in general, the Field he represents, and his own ministry.  You should be able to quickly and concisely answer the following questions:

  • Word of Life Fellowship
    • When approximately was WOL incorporated? (1940’s) Where? (USA)
    • Who are the founders? (Jack Wyrtzen and Harry Bollback)
    • How did the ministry begin? (Evangelistic rallies in NYC that spread to camping)
    • What does Word of Life do? (Evangelization and discipleship of young people)
    • How many countries does WOL minister in? (_____)
    • How many missionaries does WOL have around the world? (______)
  • Word of Life (Your Country)
    • When was your country incorporated?
    • Who began the ministry?
    • How did the ministry begin?
    • In your country, what does Word of Life do?
    • How many do you have on staff?
    • What are some of your plans for the future?
    • How do you envision helping the young people in your country?
  • Your Own Personal Ministry
    • When did you begin to serve with Word of Life?  Why did you?
    • Why are you serving in this country?
    • How do you get paid?
    • How much do you need to raise a month?
    • What percentage of your raised funds goes to the home office or country?
    • Can you receive money from people that doesn’t get funneled through WOL?

These are just some of the things you need to be prepared to speak intelligently about.  Along with the answers to these questions you need to have a concise and compelling “elevator speech” that explains the organization and its work.  Board members and other staff also need this speech, and ministry leaders often recruit help to help board and staff members fine-tune and practice these messages.


There are four relationships/roles that we would like you to focus on as you begin to network strategically: Pastors, ministry leaders, business people and Government officials


This is your most important networking opportunity – not only can you and a Pastor connect on a personal/spiritual level, but you can help be a blessing to him by providing encouragement, prayer, and the resources of the Word of Life ministry.  Not always, but typically in turn Pastors will encourage you to reach out to people in his flock.

One departing (and somewhat discouraged) WOL director once told a young, incoming WOL director in another country “If I could have done one thing differently during my time here that would have made a difference…I should have had more coffee with pastors.”  We can be tempted to see pastors as a means to an end – to grow our ministry – but Word of Life should become the best friend of the local pastor and the local church.  Sit and pray with him, listen to him, share his burdens, and you will have a friend and ministry partner for life.

We would encourage you to reach out to as many like-minded Pastors/ministers as possible.  There may be church ministers outside of your normal connections that could benefit from the Word of Life ministry.  For example, we would not agree with the unbiblical practices/doctrines of a Catholic church – but if a Catholic minister wanted his youth to be under the teaching curriculum that Word of Life offers (and there were no compromises made on our part) then that would be a relationship we might welcome.

Ministry Leaders

Ministry Leaders

There will be many ‘ministry partnership’ opportunities made available to you over time.  These can be a source of great blessing to the ministry, but sometimes they can also be a challenge.  Consider the following:

Five Keys to Successful Ministry Partnerships:

  1. Good ministry partnerships begins with relationships not just business agreements. (I will go so far as to say that if we do not establish relationships, the relationship will be short-lived and turbulent.)
  2. Good ministry networks are always win-win. (Both people or ministries should benefit; this should not be about one becoming a barnacle.)
  3. Good ministry partnerships are not afraid to take time to develop. (If someone tries to rush a relationship, they usually are looking out for “number one” and not what is mutually beneficial.)
  4. Good ministry partnerships do not keep score. (If you feel that you have to keep score, then withdraw. Remember, this should be a relationship, not a business deal.)
  5. Good ministry partnerships will be marked by authentic leadership. (If we cannot truly trust the other leadership staff as being godly people of integrity, we should walk away.)

There will be ministries that you develop deeper relationships with because of your shared values – but how do you know the depth that a relationship should go?

Levels of Ministry Relationship Agreements:

  1. Ministry Associate – (definition: a circle of friends or those who actively share in a particular activity or undertaking; a colleague; fellow worker)
  • Relationship with no signed agreements
  • Friendship between leadership of Word of Life and designated organization (Executive or Core Team Level minimum)
  • Relationship together to leverage ministry and accomplish more for the cause of Christ
  • Sharing of non-financial resources such as promoting one another’s events or materials
  • Staff engagement for designated events or projects
  • Website link to partner ministry event (temporary)
  • Current WOL Fellowship Example Ministries – Sound of Life Radio, Groundwire,  NASCAR/Finish A Winner
  • Potential partnerships at this level – Compassion International, YFC Camping International, David C. Cooke
  1. Ministry Ally – (definition: harmonious combination, a group that is interacting with one another for some common cause or purpose)
  • Relationship with no signed agreements
  • Like-minded in philosophy of ministry and biblical doctrine
  • Strong relationship and trust of leadership of designated organization (Executive or Core Team Level minimum)
  • Sharing of non-financial resources such as promoting one another’s events or materials
  • Staff engagement for designated events or projects
  • Website link to partner ministry website (permanent) or particular event (temporary)
  • Current WOL Fellowship Example Ministries – Northeast Consortium, Student Leadership University, Pocket Testament League
  • Potential partnerships at this level – Groundwire
  1. Ministry Partner – (definition: an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose but it may involve a contractual relationship in order to carry out the ministry endeavor)
  • Partnership with signed agreements (when necessary)
  • Like-minded in philosophy of ministry and biblical doctrine
  • Strong relationship and trust of leadership of the designated organization 
  • Mutual staff engagement on multiple levels such as training, speaking or promoting of partner ministry’s biblical purpose and strategy
  • Potential financial involvement between the two ministries if deemed appropriate when working on a strategic project
  • Website link to partner ministry website (permanent) or special events (temporary)
  • Current WOL Fellowship Examples – EvanTell, Support Raising Solutions, Liberty University, Columbia International University,
  • Potential partnerships at this level – CBMC, Logos, Followme.com, Answers in Genesis, 

Business Leaders

As previously mentioned – business people who have a heart for young people and a heart for the Lord can be very instrumental both in their connections and their financial resources to help the work of the Lord move forward.

(not just for their money, give advice, potential board members, possible sponsorship of activities, etc.)

Government Officials

We need to go out of our way to develop a relationship of trust with government officials.  They should know who we are, trust in our absolute integrity in all legal and ethical matters.  They should see us as a supporter and investor in the good of the public and their specific community.  As much as possible, we should live in peace with them, seek to honor them in private and in public, and be an active player in helping them accomplish their goals where in alignment with the Scriptures.