Why your talent is keeping your church from growing

I know what you’re thinking, I think it all the time myself: “If I just had a few more talented people (singers, communicators, small group leaders, etc.) I could grow this church.” It makes all the sense in the world. More talent = more results, right? Not so fast.

I grew up in a “tribe” with the best singers and preachers you’ve ever heard. I’m serious. These men and women were/are the cream of the crop. Later in life, as I entered the ministry profession for myself, I began to reflect on the churches and incredible ministers I had grown up under, and arrived at a frightening question:

Why are all of these churches filled with the best talent not growing?

It didn’t make any sense. The best preachers and singers were preaching and singing to shrinking crowds or plateaued crowds at best. I guess the reason the question scared me is that I had spent my ministry preparation trying to increase my talent. I convinced myself that increasing my preaching or singing ability from a seven to an eight (on a hypothetical talent scale) is what my church needed to make the jump to the next level. I was wrong.

Think about this; Jesus was called the great teacher, but is that what made him great? The people say he taught like no one they had ever heard before but is that quality what built the church that has changed the world over the last 2,000 years? I would argue no. If it wasn’t his teaching talent, what was it? I would say it was his ability to develop the disciples. For Jesus ministry to grow and have the mass impact, He desired He had to duplicate himself and empower others. Jesus understood that talented leaders make a splash, but leaders who develop talent make a difference. The same is true for you and me.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Talented leaders make a splash, but leaders who develop talent make a difference.” quote=”Talented leaders make a splash, but leaders who develop talent make a difference.”]

Obviously, there is a talent minimum required to draw specific demographics to your church, but don’t we preach sermons about how God uses the unqualified? I’m convinced, now more than ever, what my church needs me to do to help us grow and reach more people is not develop more of my talent; it’s to recognize and promote the ability in others. The challenge is our expertise has taught us, “It’s easier if I just do it myself.” We’ve bought into statements like, “If you want it done right you have to do it yourself.” We have, and the small group of people who love our talent, keep telling us how talented we are, but are we making God’s kingdom better?

Recently during my devotions, I came across this verse in Exodus that I had never noticed before.

Exodus 25:34
And the Lord has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others.

What a gift! What if you and I changed our desires and our prayer? What if we started asking God to give us the ability to teach our skills to others? I’m going to step out on a limb and guess we would be more satisfied with the ministry and our churches would grow. 150 people might want to hear you minister, but thousands of people in your community want a chance to minister, they’re just waiting for you to teach them how.

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Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs

By Jason Isaacs