It's tempting to give away leadership positions to aide in retention but my experience reveals that this prevents establishing a culture of leadership behavior (ownership, initiative, humility, teachability, courage, boldness).
If you are in year one or two of a ministry start-up then you probably have no more than five true leaders (that is someone who has arrived, not someone you are hoping will come around soon). As soon as you give someone a title you are setting up a model for your ministry and thus directly setting your ministry culture.
I've found it tremendously valuable to make people wait to become leaders--the positions that are available actually have meaning to it, and there should be a CLEAR LINE visible to non-leaders about what is required to be a leader outside of personality (in my case it's participation in evangelism).
Micro or short-term leadership roles work well for determining whether a person is a leader or has leadership potential. These positions allow space to demonstrate leadership behavior and for students to develop and grow without a title.
I've written this before but I see many ministries use leadership positions as pacifiers. If more than 40% of your ministry is "leaders" I would guess that your leadership culture is diluted and that your overall ministry culture lacks a clear focus to the mission, vision, and values.
True leaders are scarce--Scripture demonstrates this over and over. When we pretend that they are abundant we end up hurting our ministry more than bettering it.
Does your ministry culture demonstrate leadership behavior or is it saturated with leadership positions?
photo courtesy of billselak