4 Ways to Spot Your Church’s Rising Stars

Like Don't move Unlike

One of the most important roles in the life of any leader, particularly a church leader, is to spot the “rising stars” – those members of your team who are exhibiting ever-increasing passion, desire and, most importantly, results.

But how do you spot these rising stars?

Image via iStockPhoto.com

Effective leaders know that it takes more than simply looking at attendance figures. Here are four ways to spot your rising stars:

1.   Watch for the migration of volunteers
Bill Hybels and others have taught extensively on the need to be aware as to where your church’s volunteers are flocking. Where you have an effective leader in place, over time you will see your church’s volunteers drift into that leader’s orbit.

2.   Listen for the “buzz” in your church
A ministry led by a rising star will generate more water-cooler talk around your church. People connected with that ministry will become “raving fans” and will increasingly pepper their conversations with news about that ministry.

3.   Take note of an increase in resource tensions
When you have a growing leader in place, they will start to consume more resources in order to generate and manage growth. They will need more facility space, more budget, and more church-wide communication.

All of these can cause mild annoyance among teammates. You need to manage these tensions, while recognizing they could be pointing toward a rising-star leader.

4.   Trace the lineage of your church’s top leaders
At the large church where I served as executive pastor, I once compiled a list of our church’s most effective leaders (elders, deacons, small group leaders, etc) and traced their stories back. I found that across the board, many of these top leaders had been developed through one particular ministry in the church.

Not surprisingly, the leader of that ministry was identified as one of our true rising stars.

John Maxwell has observed that “everything rises and falls on leadership”. I might add that much of the future success of your church will rise and fall on your most effective leaders.

So keep scanning the horizon for these rising stars. Learning to spot them is a journey in itself. But the payoff is always worth it.

How do you spot your rising stars?

the author

Scott Cochrane


  1. Scott,

    You are writing one great post after another! At the church I attend, we have a particular “Sunday School class” that has grown to well over 100. Many of the attendees are beginning to see this as their church. We are working through the tensions of keeping them connected to the larger body.

    Great post! I love the migration of volunteers section. On the flip side, what does it tell you when your volunteer base is actually declining?


  2. Thanks for weighing in Brian (and for your encouragement).

    The question of declining volunteers sets of all sorts of warning bells in my mind. If I can equate it to staff, it has been said that people join an organization, but they leave a manager. In other words, most of the time when someone quits a job it’s because of the poor leadership of their supervisor.

    I believe the same is true in the volunteer realm. When I see a ministry struggling to maintain volunteers I can usually identify a leader who may be in over their head!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *