1. Throw them in the deep end.
Remember when dads used to teach their kids to swim by throwing them off the dock into the lake? The reason they did this is that it worked…most of the time. Occasionally, dad had to dive in and save a kid who couldn’t figure it out. I think that God does this to us sometimes, but the real danger of this approach is the damage a flailing swimmer can do to those they are learning to lead.
2. Train them.
This is kind of the opposite of the deep end approach – develop a program for leaders to be trained before you give them responsibility. Some churches have set leadership development tracks that people who want to lead must go through in order to garner responsibility. This works for a lot of people, but it tends to weed out the naturally talented or those who have already been trained elsewhere. Also, this approach needs to have an application track, because some people learn while doing.
3. Mentor them.
Rather than throwing them off the deep end or boring them with lessons, take the time to walk through the process with them, helping them face problems, offering resources and prayer.
4. Develop a cohort.
I think this might work well in conjunction with #3. Put leaders together in groups of like interest and have them meet, quarterly. There is a lot you can do with this sort of environment. You could do case studies, practice sessions with 360 evaluations, etc. Most importantly, you are helping leaders develop deep friendships that will be great prayer support for the hard times, and remind them lean on God through it all.
There are people in your church who manage corporations, divisions, and teams. They are already trained at leading people. How can you help them learn to lead in the church, where EQ is important, but dependence on the Spirit is critical?