Close The Gap

The entire Collaborative system exists on the premise that leadership development is all about closing the gap between where you currently are and where you want to be. That means we put significant energy and resources towards identifying those gaps and writing development plans to close them. We do this for any church leader at any Collab church, and we trust that God will call some of those leaders to plant. We are in the process of developing an expanded resource that dives deeper into our assessment philosophy and practice, so stay tuned!

Identifying gaps

Once you are sold on the idea of closing the gap as a leadership development system your one stop shop is our Development Grid. This downloadable PDF can be made into a spinal bound notebook to use with your direct reports, during interviews, or once a year in annual evals. The Grid itself helps you visually see how to identify gaps in someone’s leadership. It walks you through, step by step (including examples) on how the system works from assessment to setting goals and all the way down to writing the development plan. 

While you can use any target goals in someone’s assessment we use our 9 point Church Leader Profile as a starting point when assessing church staff. You can see how all that assessment and planning comes together in this template of our Leadership Assessment Report.

Writing Developmental Plans

While there are more ideas of development than you can count, we think the best developmental plan is the one you are doing. That is why we try to take an overly simplistic approach to writing development plans while also attempting to be comprehensive in how we think about development. 

We think each development plan should have content, opportunity for coaching, and assigned experiences. Using the three categories helps us be comprehensive, but within the categories we try to be lean and specific in order to keep it simple.

Content: What does the person need to learn?

  • When answering this question, make sure to keep the assignments short and specific. Don’t ask someone to read a whole book if the best part they need is in chapter 4 and 7.

Coaching: What does the person need to process?

  • It is important to note that if you are trying to coach, but you are talking more than the person you are coaching… that isn’t coaching, that is more content. For the best development, people have to discover things about themselves more than they are told what to do. Resist the urge. The Coaching Habit is an excellent primer to help you start these conversations in the right way.

Experiences: What does the person need to do?

  • Often the job itself can be an amazing set of experiences for a growing leader, but sometimes a helpful conversion, a trip, an observation, or a stretching assignment is needed to help the person really close the gap. Think outside the box (and your area of expertise) when assigning new experiences.

Finally, and least importantly, we offer a number of developmental cohorts for leaders in Collaborative Churches. A cohort can be a great opportunity for new content, coaching, and experiences but is not the end-all-be-all of development.

Planting Churches

As we have noted, all the people you are developing in your church will not plant a church (that would actually be a bad thing for your church). But when God calls, we believe that planting a church together is the best way to plan. When someone is ready (or thinks they are ready) to plant a church we put them through our church plater assessment process. If they are coming out of a Collaborative Church, that church is their Sending Church. If they are not currently serving in a Collaborative Church they need to relationally connect to a Sponsor Church within the Collaborative. 

This is important because we believe the best environment to plant a new church is into a community of other churches that are collaboratively working to help that plant get started. The Church Planting Cohort starts each August and is a 9 month finishing school to help leaders prepare for the role of lead pastor. Because of our collaborative way of training these planters, each year our cohort gets better. The Collaborative leaders that teach in this cohort are always getting better, and we are adding more experiences and leaders to the fold every year. That means our schedule changes every year, but we like it that way. 

As we said on our partner page for churches we love to collaborate with churches that want to do the work of planting churches by developing their people. For that reason, you can use any of these resources and reach out if you have further questions. And if you want to formally collaborate with us, you can see what that process looks like here.