Network leaders are distinct from other leaders in their motives, methods, and measurement of success.
The ‘Shalane Effect’
For the first time in 40 years, an American woman won the 2017 New York City Marathon! Shalane Flanagan crossed the finish line of the 26.2-mile race in a blistering time of 2 hours 26 minutes. Running experts are now calling her, “The greatest American distance runner.” But the New York Times explains that Flanagan has an achievement that’s even greater than winning the New York City Marathon:
“…perhaps Flanagan’s bigger accomplishment lies in nurturing and promoting the rising talent around her, a rare quality in the cutthroat world of elite sports. Every single one of her training partners — 11 women in total — has made it to the Olympics while training with her, an extraordinary feat. Call it the ‘Shalane Effect’: You serve as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting forward yourself. Shalane has pioneered a new brand of ‘team mom’ to these young up-and-comers, with the confidence not to tear others down to protect her place in the hierarchy.”
Shalane is not just a great runner; she is a great runner that makes other runners around her great! In a similar fashion, a network leader is a unique leader amongst all kinds of leaders. A network leader is not just a great leader, but also a great leader that makes other leaders around them great.
The ‘Network Effect’
Network leaders are a new and important kind of leader in the church today. They lead their local church to grow and multiply, but they also lead other church leaders across a region or affinity to grow also and multiply. Jon Ferguson is perfect example of a network leader.