In a life of leadership, especially ministry leadership, there are four key phrases that I’ve found to be extremely true, and healthy reminders.
Be humble before both the Lord and other people. Don’t ascribe to leadership before you’re ready, and always have the heart of a servant. If you want to be a church planter, go set up chairs for another planter for awhile. If you want to lead a department, run errands for the rest of the team and learn their felt needs. It’s okay to do an internship or residency at any age. Be at the first rung on the ladder – you’ll need that foundation later.
Wait to preach the lesson until you’ve practiced it for 6 months. Let your messages sink in, instead of acting like an expert about something you read out of a book last week. I wrote these phrases about 3 years ago. While I was serving in a leadership capacity, I wasn’t yet the senior leader. I took so many notes during that season that this morning I sent a text message to my pastor saying, “Umm, did you write these, or did I?” It’s okay to hold onto some truth for awhile until your life can back up the message you want to share.
Paul (veteran leader) said to Timothy (rookie leader), “Fan into flame the gift of God that is in you” (2 Timothy 1:6) Read. Listen. Get better. Be a lifelong learner. The pastor I mentioned above, Scott Hagan, says, “Just because you were born to do something, doesn’t mean you were born knowing how to do it.” You need to spend intentional time cultivating what God purposed in you. Make sure the firelight of your character, abilities, and relationships is truly burning bright at all times.
Please don’t quit serving God as a disciple first. Walk away from a promotion or a position before you walk away from your faith, your marriage, or your family. If you’re burnt out, take a Sabbath, a sabbatical, get some counseling, find healing. The Church needs you to finish well. YOU need you to finish well. It’s easy to find stories of people who quit. I want my story to be full and vibrant until the very last page.