How growing leaders became a reality

Nairobi Chapel LeadersHere's a photo I took of a just a handful of the church planters, pastors and interns who have been trained by Oscar and Beatrice Muriu.

Many church leaders say they want to grow leaders. Few actually do. I asked Oscar Muriu how he turns good intentions into reality. This is his reply. . . We came up with a system where I am only allowed to preach half the time, and I must train up others to preach the other half. The worship leader is only allowed to lead half and must train up worship leaders. The children's teachers can only teach half. The elders must mentor younger men to take over from them after their term is over.

What began to happen is that we began to have too many leaders and leaders if they're not occupied become a pain. They begin to criticise, you can sense leadership energy that has nowhere to go and so it begins going in all the wrong places. The energy comes out as criticism. So we began to have too many leaders in the system and not enough opportunities and it was that that made us begin thinking create some outlets, and the outlets would be church planting.

The good thing about church planting is that your older leaders can go. With the elders, we had a policy then that an elder could only serve for two terms of three years each. So what do you do with an elder who has served two terms and their time is over? So we required those elders whose term was over, to go with a new church plant. And they could begin a new term as elders there. It also meant that they carried history, they carried authority, and they carried experience into the new church.

The church planters tend to be around 26 years old. But the elders were 35 plus. So it didn't matter that our leaders were so young, because we had other people around them to compliment their leadership with some experience.

Now the internship was producing pastors for us, the eldership was producing elders, but all the other levels; worship leaders, preachers, Sunday school teachers were being produced at the other levels. And they could now go and form a unit that will plant a church.

Also as people came into authority they have no choice but to look after interns. If you become a pastor of a church you were required to invest in developing interns. So the worship leader is now responsible for all the interns in worship. The preaching pastor was responsible for all the interns who are learning preaching.

We started putting energy into the leaders having to train other leaders. All the people I have mentored must have interns and do what I do.

Just two days ago I asked all the pastors to give me the job description of their interns and what I do is I look at them; are they balanced, does this intern have sufficient engagement, do they have challenges?