Author: Pastor Lewis Hemphill Jr.
One of the greatest joys I have being a believer is serving in ministry. There is nothing like using the gifts that God has given you in an area that actually promotes God and advances the Kingdom agenda. I have had the privilege of being a leader and there is so much I have learned that I would like to share with you. If you desire to be a ministry leader or are currently serving as a ministry leader these principles will help you become better at what God has called you to do.
1. Great ministry leaders never stop growing A leader should be passionate about growing in the area that they lead. Refusing to be stagnant is a trait that every great leader has. The effort to grow as a leader is an investment into yourself and the people that you lead. Growing requires constant learning. You can grow as a leader by reading books, watching videos online, reading blogs and articles, listening to podcasts in the car on the way to work and attending seminars that are all geared toward leadership and/or your area of ministry. The moment you stop growing is the moment you stop leading.
2. Great ministry leaders grow ministry leaders If you are not producing leaders then you are more of a manager than you are a leader. Great leaders replicate themselves amongst their teams. They spend time making sure they are not the only ones who can do their job. You grow team members into leaders by giving them responsibilities, giving them opportunities to make decisions and intentionally putting them in predicaments where they have to lead without your assistance. I’ve learned that your team members don’t have to know they are being trained to be leaders and sometimes that is best. The more leaders you can create the stronger your team will be in the long run.
3. Great ministry leaders delegate ministry tasks. Delegation is the act of giving responsibility and authority to another individual on your team. I believe many leaders don’t lack help but they lack the ability to delegate. Delegation benefits the leader and the team. It benefits the leader because they are now free to focus on tomorrow without hindering forward movement today. It benefits the team because responsibility increases the level of commitment. The more people that a ministry team has committed the more that ministry team can accomplish. Great leaders look to see what tasks they can give away first and what tasks they must do second.
4. Great ministry leaders foster a culture of ownership One of my favorite shows is Shark Tank. Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, started a phrase they all now use, “I need more skin in the game”. The phrase means that the percentage of the company that you’re offering me won’t motivate me to get up and work on your behalf. For your ministry team to feel like owners and be motivated to work they have to have a big role in helping it to become a success. Great leaders allow their ministry team members to have a voice and say in the direction of the ministry. Great leaders allow their ministry team members to help make final decisions, suggest changes, call out problems & help solves problems. The more involved you can get your team the more feeling of ownership they will have.
5. Great ministry leaders are committed to the vision of the church not the position in the church. Great ministry leaders are motivated by the vision that the Lead Pastor has set forth not the position they have been set in. At my previous church I was the youth pastor and then out of the blue my pastor moved me from being the youth pastor to the director of planning. It wasn’t a move that I was fond of nor a move that I understood at the time. While many would have left the church I didn’t because I was committed to the vision of the church that God had sent me to serve in and not a specific position in the church. Great ministry leaders put the church and the Pastor’s agenda above their own personal agenda. Great ministry leaders understand that I was sent here to fulfill a vision that was already given by God for that specific church.
6. Great ministry leaders care for their team members Great ministry leaders don’t just use people to make themselves look good but they actually care about the people on their team. How you treat your team screams, “I care more about you than I care about what you can do”. Great ministry leaders care more about the person then they do the assignment. You show how much you care by calling to check on them with no mention of ministry, or by attending their child’s performance or game, or by just being available in the time of need. The more you show that you care the more motivated your team will be to serve.
7. Great ministry leaders set boundaries Great ministry leaders know that being a loving father, mother, husband or wife doesn’t come second to church work. Boundaries allow you to change hats with no interruption. Great ministry leaders know that ministry is not my life, it’s part of my life. Boundaries are created by setting days and times when you don’t work on or discuss ministry related items. Boundaries are created by setting family times and date nights where you don’t answer ministry related calls, texts or emails. Boundaries create a healthy balanced life that God desires for us to have.
If you serve in the area of ministry leadership take pride in the fact that you’re serving the almighty God that loved us enough to send his only son to die for our sins and give us a chance at eternal life. The least we can do is put every effort toward being the great ministry leader that He has called us to be.