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How do mega churches identify and choose the next generation of leaders? A new study gives a look inside the process

Bishop T.D. Jakes is the pastor of the 30,000-member Potter's House located in Dallas, TX (Photo Credit: OWN)EEW Magazine News // Leadership Network

How do mega pastors like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Rick Warren identify and choose the next generation of leaders? A new study gives a look inside the process.

The late Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Trapped inside every follower is a future leader.”

A new study finds that the best interns and residents suitable for future leadership roles come from within the congregation itself.

A recent national study of church internships and residencies, perhaps the largest ever, looks inside the leader training process of more than 300 churches.

The just-released, richly illustrated report, "Leaders in Training: Internships and Residencies Help Churches Shape Future Leaders," sponsored by Southeastern University, summarizes the findings.

The project was overseen and authored by Warren Bird, Ph.D., director of research for Leadership Network.

Key findings include:

  1. Leaders want to see other leaders developed.
  2. Leaders help rising leaders mature.
  3. The number of intern/resident programs has increased rapidly in recent years.
  4. Most churches offer multiple programs and multiple specialties.
  5. The best interns/residents come from within the congregation itself.
  6. Upon completing the program, over a third become church staff.
  7. Almost half the participants receive academic credit.
  8. Churches show a high degree of confidence about the success of their program.
  9. The primary term is "intern" followed by "resident."
  10. Paying for the program is a study in extremes.
  11. Early Fall and beginning of Summer are the most popular times to begin.
  12. The biggest audience for these programs is recent graduates.

To download this free graphic-rich report, go to

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