Church Planting Leadership: Use IMPROV to Draw Upon Your Raw Talent

Jul 25, 2018

Church planters don’t just lead people to do a job, accomplish a task, and check a box. They are calling people to a movement; the most vital, most life-giving movement on the planet. I recently had the chance to talk with David Miller of Slingshot Group. Friends and supporters of Stadia, Slingshot Group partners with the local church to find and build the best possible leaders. David and I talked about their IMPROV Leadership coaching tool.


“When you see a musician improv, they may be coming up with the music on the spot, but they are drawing from somewhere,” David explains. “We’re asking, ‘How do we as leaders walk into a room and draw from our talents, draw from our education, draw from our past experiences to improv in our leadership to be a contributor to any situation we find ourselves in?’”

IMPROV Leadership helps church planters and leaders develop in five areas where they most likely already possess raw talent and instincts:


  1. Story Mining. As church planters, we recognize the need to allow the stories of the people we are interacting with to influence how we lead them. How do we deploy that skill across all areas of our leadership? David said, “We believe most leaders are ‘pretty-good’ question askers, but what if they were connoisseurs of questions?”


  1. Precision Praising. Beyond just being a nice person, how can we use precision praise to both uplift and course correct? If church planters were more effective at precision praise, they may be able to recruit more volunteers and keep them, and if church leaders were better at precision praising, they would see increased buy-in from staff and volunteers and a decrease in turnover.


  1. Metaphor Cementing. The earliest days of a church will shape much of the culture of the church, and at the core of most culture development is language. IMPROV Leadership will help leaders craft effective metaphors and create strategies for storing up metaphors that leaders can draw from when improvising in leadership scenarios. This conscious language strategy is sure to shape and improve the cultures of church plants and established plants alike.


  1. Lobbing Forward. David said, “Have you seen the Febreze ads where someone thinks their room smells great but really it smells like dirty socks? The ads talk about being ‘nose blind,’ and that’s what happens with a lot of leaders and staff when they are head down in their work.” This can be particularly risky when church planters are running full speed ahead in the pre-launch phase. Lobbing Forward is a skill that will help leaders get those they lead to “look up” by speaking truth in ways that expand their imagination.


  1. Going North. David asked me, “When you were an executive pastor, did you ever have to have a hard conversation with someone but there was a wall up that you didn’t know how to get around?” I told him it may have happened once or twice. Going North is the skill of getting around the wall through the art of indirect influence and includes seven fundamentals including changing the setting and surprising with a gift. What would happen if church planters and church leaders deployed the skill of Going North with not just staff and volunteers but with community members who have put up a wall between themselves and Jesus?


Being an inspirational leader is sometimes a talent people are born with, but it is always a skill that can be developed. Stadia Church Planting is committed to developing leaders who will change the world by striving to see every child have a church. Slingshot Group is helping leaders develop the skills to improv and contribute wherever they find themselves.


Check out IMPROV Leadership and Slingshot Group for more information. 

Matt Murphy, Marketing Executive

Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves.

Who’s next?

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