My favorite part of leadership is empowering other leaders. Nothing brings me more joy in church leadership than giving away ministry to other leaders and seeing them flourish. I’ve learned that the most effective way to empower leaders is through a concept called Keychain Leadership. I discovered this in the book, Growing Young by Fuller Youth Institute.

Do you remember your first set of keys? I do. I received my first set of keys at age 16. They were for my first car, a 1972 Pontiac Lemans. This baby had a 454 engine under the hood and was completely infested with cockroaches. What a beauty. Boy, did I feel empowered with those keys.

In leadership, keys signify power, access, and authority. The more keys you have, the more influence you to tend to possess. In the book Growing Young, Kara Powell describes a Keychain Leader this way: Keychain Leaders are aware of the keys they hold and intentionally entrust young leaders with their own set of keys at the right time.

Keychain Leaders are aware of the keys they hold and intentionally entrust young leaders with their own set of keys at the right time.

I’m the product of a church that was full of Keychain Leaders. The lead pastor, youth pastor and board members were all Keychain Leaders. At 18, I was given my first key in the church. It came in the form of leading a small group. At 19, I was given another key when I became the High School Sunday School Teacher. At 20, the Assemblies of God gave me the key in the form of becoming a Credentialed Minister. At 21, the next key given to me was as a part-time Junior High Pastor. At 22, I became a Board Member. At 23 they gave me the key to full-time Youth Pastor. By the time I was 23 years old, I had 6 keys on my leadership keychain. Not bad for a guy that didn’t grow up in the church and wasn’t saved until 17 years old. I thank God often for this church and what an impact they made in my life.

The idea of Keychain Leadership is not something new. Jesus exhibited this keychain leadership principle with his disciples. His way of empowering leaders is something we should attempt to duplicate

Jesus’ process of empowering his disciples happens through 4 simple steps:

  • First, I do and you watch.
  • Next, I do and you help.
  • Third, you do and I help
  • Finally, you do and I support.

I have learned first-hand that Jesus’ model is extremely effective.

As pastors and leaders, let’s all strive to give away leadership keys and empower other leaders.