Are You Squeezing the Fun Out of Ministry?
At a seminar, I attended the sectional leader, passed out a rock and instructed us to hold on to it. He explained that far too many leaders approach leadership with the attitude that it is their duty to hold on tight and regulate everything that goes on in their organization. If you are a leader and you safeguard your ministry like you are clinging to that rock, then you restraining your people from being what God formed them to be. Some alternatives to examine your leadership style and see if you are a fun-sponge leader:
1. Are You Doing Ministry By Yourself?
If you are holding ministry so tight, your hands have lost all the color in them, you are hindering ministry for everyone else.
Solution: Share the work of the church.
Leadership Insight: “Most people are bored in our churches, trying to figure out are they are doing all that God has called them to do. They wonder if when they get to heaven if God will rebuke them for failing.” J. D. Greer.
You are not a great steward, if you are doing ministry alone, you are a ministry hoarder. Authentic, godly leadership places its focus on equipping God’s saints for service. God has given His people unique spiritual gifts. Are you standing in the way of them using them? Our ministry is more effective and more fruitful as we carry out the will of our Father and expand that Kingdom. The one thing I noticed this last year is less and fewer people identify as believers. The church needs to broaden its influence and perform the mission Jesus entrusted to His Bride, the Church.
Letting go of the ministry reigns does not come without risk and fear of ministry being done in a manner that is not acceptable to the leader. The other side of that coin is that it is possible that ministry will not get done the way you would do it, but we could do it in a manner that brings glory to God. We could see things that happened far beyond our imagination. Here is an excellent illustration of that.
An elderly widow, restricted in her activities, was eager to serve Christ. After praying about this, she realized she could bring blessings to others by playing the piano. The next day she placed this small ad in the Oakland Tribune: “Pianist will play hymns by phone daily for those who are sick and despondent—the service is free.” The notice included the number to dial. When people called, she would ask, “What hymn would you like to hear?” Within a few months, her playing had brought cheer to several hundred people. Many of them freely poured out their hearts to her, and she could help and encourage them.
2. Do You Believe All the Ideas for Ministry Should Come from the Top?
Solution: Acknowledge the fact that your people have excellent ideas too, and learn to listen to them.
Leadership Insight: “Christians are tired of just sitting around, being lawn chair Larry and Louise.”
Leadership is more than just having talents and imploring the proper techniques; it is humility and caring for those we’re leading. And to care for them means to recognize that they have value, and insight and have been gifted by God for service in his Kingdom. You are not the only expert in the church. And nowadays, you are not always the best-trained person in the building.
Notice the images Paul describes a leader in I Thessalonians 2, verses 7 and 11: ‘‘We were gentle… As a nursing mother... As a father.’’ In verse 9, Paul says he supported himself on behalf of the church. If we’re going to be leaders in God’s service, it can’t be done from a distance. We must lower our defenses and love people for Christ’s sake. That means letting go of ministry. Letting go makes us vulnerable. That means when attacks come, it hurts more, but that is the high cost of leadership. It is easier not to lead but doesn’t the mission of God and his sheep deserve all our best? And isn’t ministry better when you do it alongside your people? May God provide you with the courage and the strength for you to lead. The church needs leaders, to lead boldly, courageously, and missionally.