Yesterday my leadership group met after spending the last six weeks independently studying, “What does a Godly leader do?” by reading a couple of books and most importantly searching the Scriptures.
In prepping for it, I made my own list of the top things God has taught me concerning leadership during my almost decade of kidmin here at Westwood. They are not in any particular order and I know none of them are original to me, but here they are:
1) We exist to serve: Jesus said, “For the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve.” We are here to serve our pastor, our volunteers, our parents, and our kids. It is not about us, our prominence, our needs, or our reputation. Leaders have to be willing to do what it takes to serve. We have to be willing to do the hard things. Ministry is not about whining about how many hours you worked or any type of privilege or getting people to do what we want. Ministry is about serving others.
2) Relationship: We lead by relationship. Always. Jesus led through loving and investing in the people around Him. When we treat people like they names on a spreadsheet, that is exactly how they will serve. Know names, know families, ask about their lives. Tell volunteers happy birthday, thank you, and “good job”. Pray for them and their families. I try to follow Jesus’ model where He loved the masses, invested much in His twelve, and totally poured into three closest to Him. You can’t have the same relationship with every volunteer, but we lead by relationship not position.
3) Tough skin, soft heart: Sometimes people are just mean. There is not really a politically correct way to say that. And as the leader, you catch a whole lot of that. It could be that they have a bad day, something rubs them the wrong way or it could be their personality. Lots of times it is deserved because I messed up. Way too often people speak or react before they think. I’ve realized that I will never please everyone and whatever we do, there will be people who don’t love it. I’ll never forget when I was pregnant with my first daughter, had spent all morning stressing that nothing fit, came to church and a church member said, “You just had to wear something that showed everyone you’re pregnant, didn’t you.” So silly now, but at that moment pregnant woman did not have tough skin. 🙂
People say stupid things. Leaders must have tough skin. We must listen, try to hear any truth in what is being said, identify anything that we do need to correct, then let the rest just not get to us. Easier said than done, I know. What’s even harder is that Jesus calls us to love those people anyway.
Sometimes when we develop tough skin, we also develop a hard heart. We get so tired of responding to the negative that we decide not to care anymore so that it doesn’t hurt anymore.
more later in the week…