Leading When Not in Charge

To be effective in Ministry, you must learn to be a great leader.  I have a desire to be a great leader so I look at other great leaders and see how they lead.  As I look at the corporate world, I see many great leaders.  People who want to better themselves, their position, their team, and their company.  One of the driving factors for people in the corporate world is their desire to move up in leadership of the company.  This is something that keeps them constantly looking at how they can grow and become better fit the jobs above them.  This is something that I believe is different in ministry.  This is not a driving factor in ministry because our growth and “Moving up” in leadership is not up to us, it is solely up to God and where he is calling us.  We have to understand that no matter how great of a leader we are, God may never be calling you to lead a church, and that shouldn’t bother us.  With that in mind though, it can be easy for us to get content in our position because we see that there may never be an opportunity for us to “Move Up”.  I believe that even with this in mind, there is still room for us to be great leaders even when we aren’t in charge.  I believe that there are 5 things that we can do to continue to be the greatest leader we can be even though we may not “Move Up” in leadership.
    The first thing that we can do to be a great leader even when we aren’t in charge is to be a servant.  We need to serve our leaders and those whom we lead.  As someone in Children’s Ministry, your there to serve your Pastor and God.  The ministry you work in is not yours, its your Pastor’s and ultimately, Gods.  You are just the one who was chosen to steward it.  Jesus shows us in [reference].  He does only the things that the Father tells him to do and speaks only the things he is told to speak.  We are to honor and serve our Pastor in that way.  I am not saying that you must get your Pastor’s approval on every move you make, but I am saying that you must lead the ministry as a service to your Pastor.  Keeping in mind that it is not yours, it is his and he has just placed you there as a steward.  We are also to serve those whom we lead.  Jesus demonstrates this in Matthew 20:20-28 as he washes the disciples feet.  He takes this time to serve those whom he was leading.  This communicates to your team that you care about them and are invested in them.  Remember, they are the people who are driving your ministry and allowing it to grow.  Find ways to serve them.  Get creative and figure out what works in your church but do not forget to serve those whom you lead.
    The next key to being a great leader is submission to your leadership.  Submission is simply the state of being obedient.  We are to be obedient to the leaders that God has placed in our lives.  This is something that can be easy when you agree with them but true submission begins where agreement ends.  We see Jesus submit to the will of God throughout his entire ministry.  Specifically in the Garden the night of his arrest.  In Mark 14:36 we hear Jesus say “I want your will to be done, not mine”.  We see that even Jesus had disagreements with God.  This tells me that disagreeing with my leader is not a bad thing, but no matter what my desire is, I am to fully submit and do as they ask.  We are to fully submit, not partially. It can be tempting to partially submit and still kind of get our way in some areas, especially where we think the leader may not notice but 99% obedience is ultimately disobedience.
    The third key to being a great leader is to show honor, honor, and honor.  We are to honor our leader no matter what.  As an associate, we will never understand the sacrifice or weight that comes with being a lead Pastor.  That is why we must always show honor to our Pastor, even when they make mistakes.  The only person who was perfect was Jesus so our Pastor is going to make mistakes.  He is going to mis-read situations, he is going to move too quick or move too slow, and he is going to say the wrong thing.  No matter what happens, we are to show honor to our Pastor who God has placed over us.  The next honor involves those whom we lead.  Some churches have multiple staff members for children’s ministry but more often than not, those whom we lead are volunteers.  In my opinion it is even more important to honor those who volunteer.  There is much sacrifice and time that is required to effectively serve in children’s ministry and you have an entire group of people who are doing so for nothing in return.  The third honor is to honor our co-workers.  Many times in Children’s Ministry we can feel that we are doing more than others.  We have large teams to train, multiple places to manage, things to oversee every time the doors are open.  If we are not careful we can easily step into judgement of our co-workers.  Instead of passing on judgement, we should pass on encouragement and help just as we would like t receive as well.
    The fourth key to being a great leader is stay connected with the Vision.  It is crucial to make sure that every move you make falls in line with the vision of the church as a whole.  Nothing is worse than a rouge leader trying to bring in a separate vision.  That will only cause division.  God is a God of order and so we must be sure we are mirroring the church and our Pastor’s vision into our ministry.  A crucial piece to staying connected and in tune with the vision, is to assure yourself and your staff are getting a chance to hear the heart of your Pastor when he teaches.  Your Pastor’s goal of teaching is to convey the vision of the church along with bringing actionable steps for the church to move with.  Why then do we think that we can neglect spending time under our Pastor hearing him cast vision weekly.
    The 5th key to being a great leader when you aren’t in charge is to walk in understand.  You are not perfect.  You have weaknesses and strengths.  A great leader understands their weaknesses and strengths and allows that guide them as they lead.  They can confidently approach things that they know are a strength and on the other hand, they can recognize the areas that they need to better themselves.  We all have places that we can better ourselves and great leaders are always working on that no matter what.  We also must understand our position.  God has placed you where you are for a reason.  If God wanted you to be a Worship leader, he would have put you there.  If he wanted you to be a Lead Pastor, he would have made you one.  A great leader understands their position and what is expected out of them.  They also understand that this may not be their final destination but until God tells them move and do something else, they are going to do the best they possibly can where God has them.  A great leader also recognizes their leaders preference.  They can look at a situation and make a decision that they know  their Pastor will support because they understand their Pastor’s preference.  As you spend time with and catch the heart of your Pastor or leader you will begin to see their preference.  Great leaders look at a situation and can almost always tell you what their leader would do.
    Not being in charge is never a good reason to allow your leadership to slip.  Ministry is defiantly a team sport full of different positions.  Some positions may be more glamorous than others but all positions are necessary to win.  And every winning team always has a coach.  The coach is the one who makes the play calls, brings correction, and looks to the future.  They are the crucial piece that holds the entire team together and makes sure everything is working in sync.  Great teams also have captains.  Captains who are on the field, in the game leading the other players around them.  They may not be the coach but they are great leaders who are filling their position to assure the team brings home a win.  If we were all coaches, there would be no one to play.  That is why we must learn to be great leaders, even when we aren’t in charge.