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Developing the Leaders Around You

by John Maxwell

A Pastor to Pastor Study by Josh Hunt

Session #1


I believe the gospel and the church is the hope of the world. All other sources of hope are lacking without the church. In order for the church to be effective, we need to continually improve in a thousand different areas. One of those areas is our own leadership and our ability to raise up leaders around us. I would challenge you specifically to train up group leaders who can double every two years or less. I appreciate your participation in this study. It tells me you are willing to grow and learn. I would invite you to invite others to this study. Treat it as a Sunday School class. Invite people, grow the group, and reproduce.

Chapters 1(1)



  1. John Maxwell begins the book by talking about his admiration for John Wooden and Bear Bryant. Who are some leaders you have admired and why?
  2. On page 2 Maxwell says that all good leaders have one thing in common. What is it? Do you agree?
  3. The bottom line and the essential message of this book is that you can't do it alone. Why do we need to be reminded of this? Why the temptation to ever think that we could do it alone?
  4. Are you ever tempted to believe you can do it alone, that developing the leaders around you is not all that important? Are you ever tempted to believe that you can do it alone?
  5. Imagine with me that your dreams in being able to develop leaders are realized. Let's imagine that you learn these skills well. Let's imagine that God blesses. Where will you and your church be a year from now, or five years from now-best case scenario?
  6. What would you say are the major obstacles to seeing this dream become a reality?(2)
  7. The key is surrounding yourself with the best people and developing them into the best leaders they can be. Which of these tasks is more important: finding or developing leaders?(3)
  8. According to John Maxwell, what determines success? Do you agree? Why? See page 3.
  9. Who are the four to six people closest to you in your organization right now? What are you doing to develop them?
  10. Someone explain the illustration of the fire and the two buckets. Page 4.
  11. Who can tell about a time when you saw this principle lived out-when a leader in your organization (or yourself) made a problem better or worse by their actions?
  12. When John Maxwell came to Skyline Wesleyan Church, it had been in a 12-year plateau. The first thing he did was ask why. Most churches in America are also in plateau. I want to ask you the same question: why are most churches in America on plateau?
  13. In John Maxwell's opinion, it is not the implementation of any certain program or adopting any particular approach to ministry that makes the difference. The key is leadership ability. For Rick Warren, this leadership ability is expressed in one kind of church. For John MacArthur, it expresses itself in a very different kind of church. In both cases, the key is leadership. In both cases the churches are alive and healthy. Do you agree with this premise that leadership matters more than philosophy of ministry?
  14. In what ways would you and the leaders in your church need to change in order to double in size? Be specific. Let's make a list on the board.
  15. What can we learn from geese about teamwork? See page 8.
  16. John Maxwell says it takes a leader to grow a leader. Do you agree? Did you grow alone, or did some leader (or leaders) help grow you up?
  17. John Maxwell says he concentrates his effort in developing leaders on his board. Where would you concentrate your effort?(4)


  1. Why is it important to you to develop the leaders around you?
  2. What benefits will you gain by developing the leaders around you?
  3. What price will you pay for developing the leaders around you?
  4. What price will you pay if you don't develop the leaders around you?
  5. Who (in terms of function, not name) are the leaders you would seek to develop?(5)

Chapter Two(6)



  1. What is the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat, and how does that relate to leadership?
  2. Why is momentum so important to an organization?
  3. How would you describe the momentum at your church (or lack of) right now?
  4. Who can tell about a time when you were caught up in a swift growth momentum?
  5. What does it take to create momentum?
  6. What does it take to sustain momentum?
  7. What puts the skids on momentum?
  8. John Maxwell says that those who believe in us create an atmosphere where it becomes easy for us to succeed. Who in your life believed in you, making it easy for you to succeed?
  9. Do you find it easy to believe in the people in your organization?
  10. Do you believe your small group leaders can double every two years or less? Do you believe you have some that can do that?
  11. Why is it important to us that someone believes in us? What does the faith of another do for me?
  12. What if this faith is misplaced? What if we believe in people who can't perform? Is this an equally problematic situation?
  13. Can you believe in people too much? Can this be overdone?
  14. How do we develop the capacity to believe in others?
  15. Does our faith in God have anything to do with our faith in others?
  16. How do we communicate our faith in others to them? How do the people we would develop come to understand and feel that we believe in them? Be specific. Let's make a list on the board.
  17. Who can tell about a time when your faith in someone seemed to help them blossom?
  18. Besides our faith in them, what else makes up the climate where the leaders around us can grow?
  19. Why is vision important to developing the leaders around you?
  20. Describe your vision for your church. I would like each of you to share.
  21. Why do you need to develop leaders in order to accomplish that vision?
  22. What are the advantages of having a big dream?
  23. One quality of leadership that John Maxwell learned from Bennis and Nanus is that leaders are perpetual learners. Why is this so?
  24. Would you describe yourself as a perceptual learner? Do you love learning? What are the advantages of being a perpetual learner?
  25. John Maxwell closes this chapter with a couple of illustrations from the sports world about the impact of beliefs and atmosphere on success. Does anyone remember these illustrations?
  26. Do you believe you and your church can make a significant difference in this world? Be honest. Why do you believe? What keeps you from believing more?
  27. Would you join me in praying and asking God to "Help us with our unbelief"? Let's pray together that God would give us a strong confidence in his ability to work through us and the people he has called us to serve.

1. The goal of this chapter is to establish the priority of developing the leaders around you.

2. Listen for two kinds of answers: one that has to do the people in the room and other answers that deal with people outside this room. You might want to explore the whole idea of taking responsibility for your life. This is an important first step. There is a tendency to think, "If better people would come to this church, I would be a better pastor. I could be a great leader if it weren't for these sorry people."

3. In my opinion, you could make a case for either thing. As coach of 5th grade boys, I always thought the most important thing I could do was recruit good talent. The right boys would do magic on the court with no coaching at all. If you had kids that couldn't bounce the ball without dribbling on their foot, it was hard to coach them into glory. The point of the question is not so much to find an answer as to get in touch with the two issues.

4. I would invite to concentrate some effort into Sunday School (or small home group leaders; I use the terms interchangeably and believe the concepts have much in common) teachers who could reproduce every two years or less.

5. My meaning is, do you seek to develop your board, your Sunday School teachers (or small group leaders), your deacons or whom?

6. The goal of this chapter is to establish the principle that we must believe in people in order for them to succeed. Our faith in them creates the atmosphere in which they can grow.



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