Have you ever appreciated the development process that exists in professional sports?  Take for instance baseball.  My wife has recently become a baseball fan, which is proof that miracles still happen today.  A baseball club has a complex system of developmental levels which help to ensure a steady flow of top notch talent to their major league team.

That system is core to the survival of the organization.  Between retirement, free agency and trades the players on a major league team are likely to transition every couple of years.  Without a good farm system, a baseball club would fall flat on their face.

Baseball organizations are not the only ones that need a strong farm system.  Volunteer run organizations need a strong system of developmental levels that will produce a steady flow of leaders. (Click to tweet)

What are the different groups of people you are intentionally investing in for the sake of your team?  To have a long-term flow of leaders in your organization you must identify and focus on developing 3 groups of people:

  • In the Game Leaders (Current Leaders) – These are the people you already lean on, trust and depend on in your organization. You have given them responsibility and freedom to soar and express their leadership gifting on the team.  These are the easiest people for you to stay in relationship with because you work with them often, empowering them and allowing them to carry real weight for the team.  In the baseball system, these would be your starting players.
  • In Training Leaders (Apprentices) – Leader’s in training show promise, but have yet to have real opportunity to rise as a leader. They often sit in relationship with leaders who are in the game as they watch and learn from those who are just a step beyond them.  They often need equipping as they pick-up the skillset required to carry real weight.  They are primed and prepared to be called on, all they need is the right opportunity where someone will put them in the game. In the baseball system, these would be your bench players.
  • On the Radar Leaders (Farm Team) – One of the most under-developed group of future leaders are those who show far off potential. Often times in our organizations we lack the time or the disciple to intentionally connect with and develop those who show leadership promise down the road.  It is not out of an elitist mindset, we are just short on time and energy.  Under the pressure of time we tend to mostly focus on the people whose leadership runways are shorter.

Right now, in your sphere of influence there are people you are overlooking.  There are people who are “messy” and therefore you ignore the obvious potential within them.  Who are the messy people in your sphere of influence whose leadership potential you are overlooking? (Click to tweet) They will not start a small group or give leadership to a team anytime soon – but they have obvious leadership skills that should be developed now because God wants to use them down the road.  They are your leadership farm team, a group of people to identify and invest in now – because in 3-5 years they will be some of your main leaders.