My biggest discovery at last week’s conference, Leading Today’s Volunteers, didn’t come from the outstanding workshops. It came from what was hanging on a clothesline…
We started our time together with prayer. Everyone identified a prayer request and wrote it on a shoe print, symbolizing that this was the first step in our leadership journey. The prayer ‘shoe prints’ were hung on a clothes line, lengthwise across the room. A walk down that line gave me an alarming discovery of the needs of ministry leaders.
The prayer requests were startling: Health issues. Staff conflict. Feelings of insecurity and incompetence. Loneliness.
It made me realize how vulnerable we are in leadership—when we choose to go it alone. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 reminds us: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Are you going solo in ministry? Does your leadership style reflect isolation or collaboration?
Here’s three leadership steps I learned last week in order to live out the value of being better together:
1. Prayer Renewal – find someone to lift you and your ministry in prayer! The shoe prints didn’t stay on the line at our event for very long. People selected someone they would commit to prayer in the days (and weeks) ahead. Do you have someone – or even a whole team – who will provide prayer support for your most intimate needs? Find a partner who will commit to making you their ministry through the gift of intercession.
2. Personal Retreat – one of the advantages of going to a training event is the personal time you can create for your own growth and renewal. You do not have to be ‘in charge’ or make sure the AV system is working! Plan your 2013 calendar with at least one opportunity to be fed through spiritual growth and continuing education. The networking with peer leaders also creates the awareness that you’re not alone. And you aren’t alone.
3. Pride Reduction – good leaders are also good followers. Who are you following in their leadership to grow your own? Determine to learn from the other leaders in your community, rather than seeing them as the competition.
Two can be better than one when you’re a ministry leader. It really is a journey….so take it one step at a time.