Get Out Of The Way

Get Out Of The Way
By Becki Manni

You’re a leader who wants to lead well, so you’ve devoured the mounds of leadership information—books, magazines, seminars, this newsletter. And like a good student, you’ve applied the hard-hitting principles to you leadership, I’m sure. Now it’s time to take all that, pack it up, and move on—or at least act like you’re leaving.

If you don’t have a nomad mentality, you’re in the way of God doing all he wants to do in your ministry. In fact, the more entrenched you become as “the leader,” the more you cripple your ministry. If you’re the end-all-be-all leader who knows all, does all, and attends all, you’re in for trouble (and so is your ministry)—even if you stay until Jesus returns.

But what if you don’t stay forever? You do know, don’t you, that there are no tenured positions in the church? You may have the misconception that once God calls you to a particular ministry or task, you’ll retire in that post or die trying. Dream on!

We don’t live in a static world and we don’t serve a static God. God is unchanging, yes—but he’s not stagnant or inactive. God is endlessly creative and shifts his people frequently to achieve his purposes—not ours. A move may be for your good, for the good of your ministry, for the good of your family, or for any number of other reasons. But one thing’s certain: God won’t let you stand still.

So, ironically, your objective as you build a ministry that’ll last is to continually prepare for your departure—a departure that may come in one month or in 10 years. Think about it. What would happen if you were suddenly removed? Would the ministry’s progress continue seamlessly? Would the children continue to grow in their relationships with Jesus?

The answer is no if you haven’t prepared other leaders for your absence. Take all that great leadership training you’ve gotten and get rid of it!

Identify Potential Leaders

Who in your ministry naturally possesses leadership qualities? Don’t just look at those already in ministry leadership, those success ful in business, or those most vocal at staff meetings (don’t ignore them either). To find the less-obvious leaders, use prayer as your search engine. God already knows his future leaders. Ask God for spiritual eyes to see the leaders who haven’t popped to the top yet. Then look for those who may not realize they’re leaders and those capable of developing strong leader ship abilities with a little coaching or one-on- one mentoring. Look for key things such as initiative, follow-through with tasks, and the oh- so-obvious following (leaders have people who like to hang around them and do what they’re doing—even if it’s just going bowling).

Invest Long-Term

Invest in these people over the long haul by building genuine relationships. Beginning a relationship is simple. Let someone know you see leadership potential in him or he and establish regular times to get together. Some may shy away because of the responsibility and commitment that comes with leadership. But keep fishing; you’ll get a bite!

Make no mistake—building relationships is hard work and it’s one of the reasons people choose not to mentor other leaders. After all, it’s always easier, faster. and cleaner to do things yourself. People are messy. They take time and energy. But the compensation is eternal. And exponential. When you mentor leaders, there’s always a God-multiplied return.

Share Spiritual Growth

Leadership grows through mentoring-based relationships and a growing dialogue with God. So encourage your potential leaders to grow spiritually. Ultimately, it’s their personal relationship with Jesus that’ll help them discover the potential he’s hidden in them. Just as you share your leadership tools and knowledge, share Scriptures, Bible studies, books, music, magazines, and other resources that’ll further their faith growth.

Give Away Leadership

Leadership is best learned by doing. So give your mentees small tasks and stick with them to help them succeed. Give them another small task and let them do it on their own. Discuss their experience afterward. Next, give them a medium- sized task and hang with them. You get the progression. You start with a little hand-holding and then you release them, but never leave them completely alone. As they experience the results of using their gifts, they’ll get hooked on leader ship—just as you are!

If you think about it, you’re not giving away anything that’s yours anyway.

Leaders often think of ministry as “mine,” but all ministries belong to God. He just allows us the privilege of serving him in that place at that time. By focusing on developing other leaders, you’re a faithful steward of the time God has you where you are. You also avoid becoming possessive or narrow-minded—and that’s got the stench of death to your ministry.

Article “Get Out Of The Way” written by Becki Manni is taken from Children’s Ministry-Professional Edition the 2006 September Volume 1, No. 1.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”