Developing others keeps you growing

Dave Ayling has been an Elim minister for 25 years. He spent a decade at Hanley, Stoke, before moving to Derby City Church. Throughout Dave’s ministry, he’s had a track record of raising up young leaders who are now Elim ministers.

Why do you value developing young leaders?

It seems to me that Jesus spent most of his ministry teaching and developing the leaders that he had gathered around him. It was through their development and releasing that the Church was born, grew and expanded.

It was them carrying on what they had seen and heard that established the Church and enabled it to make such an impact. The truth is that you can do more through developing leaders than you can on your own.

We will not all have massive churches or huge ministries but as you develop others then your own ministry grows through them. Their success is your success and their challenges are also part of your life.

Developing others gives you an opportunity to shape and influence not only their lives but the lives of those that they will minister to and the churches and ministries they will establish and oversee. The time you invest in their lives is an investment into the lives of multitudes as their gifts and talents mature and flourish and become fruitful beyond your own ministry.

Seeking to develop others is also a very practical way to keep growing as a leader. Everyone is different and needs encouragement, instruction and help in different ways that push you to keep growing and developing personally. You have to keep developing yourself if you are to have anything of value to give to others.

It is great to see leaders develop and become so much more able than you are, to see their gifts grow beyond your own ability and to know that you have been able to play a small part in what God is doing through them.

How do you seek to develop leaders?

Developing leaders is more about relational connection than it is formal training. Mark tells us that Jesus called disciples to him that they might be with him and then that they might preach the gospel. I don’t really think that you can shape and develop someone’s life without establishing and developing a strong relational connection with them.

That does mean, however, that you can only develop so many people at a time. You can teach people leadership principles in large groups but you can’t shape their lives like that.

Developing these key people for me has been a day-by-day process. Being with them, sharing what I’ve learned from doing it well and doing it badly, allowing them to discover what is worth emulating and what is not that great. Laughing and dreaming together and encouraging one another when things have not worked out.

I love the feeling of being part of a team of people committed to a God-given purpose.

Sometimes that means just being together and enjoying life.

In order to develop people, you have to give them opportunities to get involved. To allow them to do their best and then to spend time in evaluating their efforts. We have to have a strong belief in the people who God connects us with that they can do amazing things if we will believe in them and are willing to release them into their futures. That has always been a large part of how I have grown and how I have helped others grow.

We have to be courageous enough to speak honestly with each other about what was good and what was not good enough. Sometimes in shying away from the difficult issues of development, we leave people vulnerable to failure because we didn’t love them enough to correct them.

Finally, you have to release people into the purpose of God for their lives – being willing to support and encourage them as they step into their own adventure of faith. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing younger leaders flourish in the calling of God on their lives.

My role then changes to being an advisor and an encourager and means that we have been able to stay involved and connected as the work of the kingdom grows.

A huge support and influence

Leadership development is essential for the Movement and for the local church – and Dave Ayling is someone who recognises this and has made it a priority to implement.

Dave has been a huge support and influence on my life and ministry whilst working with him in Derby. He has a clear heart for the Lord, a desire to serve the Church and passion for raising up leaders. I have been privileged to serve under him and take on board the lessons from his successes and mistakes during his ministry over the years.

Whilst he is devoted to the local church, Dave also recognises the kingdom importance of raising up others around him and releasing them into new surroundings and a different environment.

Dave has kept the relational connection with both of his previous associates, Dan and Dominque, and I love that he continues to support them when needed even now, which highlights his relational strength.

I am thankful not only for the opportunities Dave has provided and the belief he has shown in me but also for the honest and specific feedback he has given me throughout. This intentional process has been key to my development, which has worked alongside growing in friendship and simply doing ministry together.

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