This past weekend I was in Dallas, TX at the XO Marriage Conference at Gateway Church. Gateway is the third largest church in the US with over 36,000 people and multiple locations. When I see something that is growing that fast I want to know how and why.

On the break I wondered into the book store and went looking for an answer to this question. I stumbled upon Pastor Robert Morris’ book “The Blessed Church” where he outlines his “growth strategy” from starting the church in the year 2000 with 167 people until his 36,000 in attendance just 16 years later. That’s called RAPID growth.

His secret could be found by studying the 21st chapter of John where Jesus has three conversations with Peter and asks him “Do you love me?” Peter, all three times says yes Lord, you know I love you.

In conversation one Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.”

In conversation two Jesus says to Peter, “Tend my sheep.”

In conversation three Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.”

The key to growth of any organization is this:

Healthy people grow. The leader’s job is to “feed the sheep.” So what does that really mean for you in your work?

You, the leader has accumulated an aptitude of knowledge, skills, desire, and confidence. The “lambs and the sheep” desperately need these four things from their leader in a consistent manner to become “healthy” and grow. They need fed. The lambs are not as mature and need a different kind of coaching and attention than the sheep but your message and tactics must reach all of them. This is why we teach the “Whole Person” theory to growth so we are seeking to tap into all four parts of a person’s nature in body (skill), mind (knowledge), heart (desire/passion), and spirit (confidence/faith). Most spend too much time on the body (skills) but never dip into the other most important parts of a person’s nature (mind, heart, and spirit). This leaves a person unfulfilled and fragmented when it comes to growth.

Tangible outcomes of “feeding your sheep” means on-boarding correctly, weekly coaching and teaching, mid-week huddles, and end of week reviews. It means more than ONE performance review per year. It means you are an active participant in the growth and development of your people and their needs. It means you spending time with your people in a regular and ongoing nature.

Instead of asking the question: What can we do to get more out of these people replace that question with, “If we meet out people’s core needs they will give us more.”

Ask yourself this question: How much time are you spending “Feeding your sheep” and is it time to increase the amount of personal time you spend with your people?”

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