church planting leader katie alesso

“How am I going to create a team for this when we have nobody?” I asked, as we set out in church planting. Since then, I’ve seen time and time again that people long for inclusion, affirmation, and clarity. I’m realizing that those three factors determine how effective we will be at leading and developing the next generation of leaders.

I’ve realized that just as I feel honored to serve Jesus, others feel honored when I invite them along to help. I was shocked that people actually want to know how to become involved! Local moms and friends from book club want to volunteer because they care about our community and they see that our church does too. Here are three important lessons I’ve learned about approaching people with opportunities to serve:


1: Anticipate their “Yes”

Because inclusion is powerful, I’m learning not to say “no” for people before I even invite them to help in some way. Rather than fearing rejection, I feel free to give friends the opportunity to say “yes!” Knowing that people want to belong and contribute has given me the confidence to ask boldly.

For example, during a super busy holiday season, I had the idea to incorporate some flowers in our decor and as visitor gifts. One of my new friends who’d just started attending is an absolute wizard with flowers, and peruses the flower market each weekend. I was a little shy to ask anything of her, so I thought I’d go pick out flowers, and ask her along to help.

But juggling a million tasks forced me past inclusion and into empowering someone else. I ended up asking if she could take it on completely. She joyfully did—and absolutely knocked it out of the park! Her beautiful arrangements created buzz among our visitors and propelled her into passionate, ongoing service.


2: Affirm their potential

As I invite people to serve, I communicate why they would be helpful or gifted in that specific opportunity. “You are such a welcoming person, would you be willing to greet at this event? I know you would make everyone feel like family.” People’s abilities blossom when we affirm the potential we see in them.

Leadership comes with the unique privilege of being a talent scout that empowers and affirms others.

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3: Associate their role in the big picture

When people agree to help, it is vital to keep the vision clear. Everyone thrives when they know what is expected of them, and how to execute their role. However, your team must not only know their tasks. Whether running a small group or making coffee, they need to understand how their piece connects to the greater vision of Kingdom expansion.


In evaluating your own next steps as a leader, consider those around you who may have never had someone believe in them. Where would they feel included? Where do their strengths lie, and how can you affirm them? What would empower them to walk forward? How can you help them to clearly link these things to the greater vision of what Jesus is doing?


Katie Alesso
Thrive LA Church (Los Angeles, CA)

Katie Alesso is planting Thrive LA with her incredible husband, Andrew, and son, Dax, on the East side of Hollywood. She loves mentoring women, teaching, and leading the hospitality team. In her down time, you can find Katie playing nerdy board games, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and trying to find the right filter while posting pictures of Dax.

Who’s next?

Are you a catalytic leader who is ready to start a great church? Stadia is ready to help!