Wednesday, December 3

Leading From Within

Leaders lead... that's what they do. Even if they're not in a position of leadership, they still lead where they are... by their influence.

In a church context, this can be a good thing... or a bad thing... depending on how the influence is carried out. Sometimes leaders who are passionate about an area of ministry get frustrated because they don't see that ministry flourishing in their church. They may even feel like the pastor or leadership team doesn't feel that ministry area is too important...

News flash: they probably do feel it's important... they're just not the ones to do it... YOU ARE! That's why you're so passionate about it! That area of ministry has yet to flourish because there hasn't been a catalyst to move it forward and to help others see the importance of the ministry. But you say, "I've been trying... they won't listen!" Well, maybe you can try a different way... this might be a way to get those around you on board:

1) Align with the church's vision. This may seem obvious, but your pastor and church leadership team will need to see that you've bought into the vision, and not just that you "want things done your way." Believe it or not, people leave churches all the time because they can't push their agenda. Your pastor needs to know that you're not "one of those."

If this area of ministry that you're passionate about does not align with your church's vision, then, in that case, you're probably not in the right place.

2) Begin to carry out your passion in the context of the church's vision. For example, if your passion is missions, but you feel your church is only concerned with "Jerusalem", then participate alongside of them in the community... maybe helping them to see how they can more effectively be missional right where they are. After awhile... because you're a catalyst... you'll help them to see that they've "been in Jerusalem" for awhile - now it's time to spread out to "Judea"... and so forth... until such time as they can sustain global efforts in "the uttermost parts of the world."

No matter what the area of ministry, the key is helping the church to maximize their efforts where they are... and then, in time, helping them to see the need to broaden and push the envelope more.

3) Grow where you're planted. I'm not saying that God doesn't move us... sometimes He allows us to become frustrated so that He can prepare to move us to our next assignment. However, more often than not, our frustration is a sign of misalignment. Or distraction. Or both. Re-commit yourself to God and to the ministry... if He moves you, fine. But know that it's Him. Otherwise, the lesson that He's trying to teach you will simply come back up at your next place of ministry. ;-)

4) Don't complain. Instead of telling everybody how "wrong" the ministry is, jump in with both feet... commit to the ministry, and serve Jesus. And pray. Be a catalyst within the context of the ministry you're in... and lead well.


Doc. K. said...

Pastor Darren,

Great posts. I think you are tapping into a frustration that many people feel in church and para-church ministry. And you are right, most people either complain or give up when their ideas are not highlighted by the senior leadership.

I like to think of it as catching a vision and then casting a vision. Some folks are good at catching a vision--but they do it alone. And then they are not good at helping others to catch the vision. Personally, I find it most effective and most biblical for people to catch a vision in community and then cast that vision in community.

As you rightly say, going with the already-established vision of the church/pastor/para-church is a key.

Here's a follow-up question or two.

1. What if the leadership has no clear vision?

2. What if the leadership is changing the vision unilaterally?

Shawnte said...

So on time! I think the hardest thing to do is to align myself with church leadership when my excitement says 'but you're doing it all wrong!' Slowly learning principle number 1, and believing God in the process.


Gotta believe Him... or we're sunk. ;-)


Doc K:

1. If the leadership doesn't have clear vision, then I'm probably sunk. Unless the pastor and the men around him are humble enough to admit that and is willing to allow someone to walk alongside of them and help, then we're simply spinning plates and I probably won't have much impact anyway.

This actually is an all-too-common problem... but I can't see myself aligning with a church who's vision isn't clear.

2. My question would be, "Does the vision EVER change, really?" I mean, if I said it was originally "from God" then what right do I have to "change" it? Will it be tweaked? Does it "crystallize"? Yes. Change? I don't think so!

So, if ONE PERSON OR GROUP is constantly changing it, it most likely means theyv'e not heard from God.