“As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:16 NLT).
“Superpastor is always available to everyone and accomplishes great things but always has time to stop and talk and never misses anyone’s birthday and if you are sick he’s at the hospital and you can call him at home whenever you need advice and he loves meetings and spends hours studying and praying and yet you can interrupt him if you need something – did I mention he always puts family first?” (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis) Bell’s advice:Super-Pastor Must Die.
Let me borrow something on that train of thought, ministry and leadership:
Faster than a speeding EDS Canteen.
More powerful than an action packed Youth Night.
Able to leap tall problems in a single bound.
But is Super-Officer realistic? -NO.
Are expectations of such a character unobtainable and unhealthy? -Yes.
Will performing these heroic acts lead to burn-out? -Most definitely Yes!
Sometimes it is a matter of pride to some Officers. It doesn’t start off as an unhealthy role, it progresses due to buying into the lie that Super-Officer must be and do everything. I am not begrudging responsible duties and the role of Officers, but I am taking aim at the unhealthy approach at times to the jobs some feel they must perform ALL THE TIME. Everyone needs rest. Everyone needs time away. Even Jesus, in all of His glory, took time away to be with The Father. If we eat, sleep, dream and breathe these unhealthy roles without rest we will lose our identities within the yellow, red and blue. More importantly we will crash and burn and leave nothing left to further the kingdom of God.
Can we put an end to the Super-Officer? How can we slow down and recognize that we were never intended to do everything by ourselves? Oh sure we have important responsibilities, of that there is no doubt, but can we relinquish our red, yellow and blue capes? There are five steps that I would like to outline today that might help us to put to death the “Super-Officer” mentality.
5 Steps to eliminate Super-Officer- S.U.P.E.R.
1. Share the burden of leadership!
trust others to help shoulder the load of leadership. We have an important task to perform, but we do the Army and those we minister to a great disservice when we do not share the workload with those who are capable around us. A shared vision is mightier when the entire body is collectively working together to accomplish it. Allow others to come alongside you and put the cape down.
-Trust Issues and “I can do it better”-…These two crucial detractors of sharing the burden of ministry can, at times, force us to put our capes back on. Have faith and let others help. Don’t let pride or being “in control” stop you from sharing the burden of leadership with those who should take up a certain measure of responsibility within the ministry.
2. Utilize and delegate roles to others!
Moses quickly realized that he could not lead and perform every task required to meet the needs of God’s people. With the help of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses begins to delegate authority and roles to the able bodied leaders. (Exodus 18) Moses had to utilize and delegate roles to others with an entire nation, we in our ministries, need to do the same in a slightly scaled down model.
Let the YPSM be the YPSM.
Let the Women’s Ministries Secretary be the Women’s Ministries Secretary.
Allow the CSM to lead and shoulder some of the “elder” responsibilities of the Corps Council and guidance to soldiers and adherents. Use The Army’s structured system to help better strengthen our corps. I recognize that at times there are some corps or ministries that are operating out of many many weaknesses including very few able bodied souls to help in the delegation process. These issues are complex and frustrating, but similarly to a link of metal chain, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Pray for additional leaders to join you congregation or ministry. Pray that the Holy Spirit provide you with the right opportunity to ask others to come along side your ministry in a capacity of leadership and help.
3. Prepare personal retreats to recharge and reflect.
This is one downfall of many Soldiers and Officers in our Army today. We are so engaged in warfare and the front lines of ministry that we begin to neglect our bodies and minds as they scream out to us for rest. Rest is vital to our continuance in the roles that God has placed us in. Without such scheduled or unscheduled personal retreats, we will grow tired, weary and we will lose a step. Burn out is a very real danger to the Super-Officer. We cannot go full throttle all the time and expect to last. Ministry is a marathon not a sprint. We must get away at times to recharge, disconnect and at times heal from the battle wounds and bruises.
Don’t merely wait for Divisional or Territorial scheduled events which only come around once or twice a year, make time – take time! You will find rest, the Army will survive without you for a little while and you will come back to the tasks at hand having rested and perhaps having gained a better perspective on issues facing your ministry.
4. Expect to be taught by those you lead!
Take a back seat at times and let those you teach, teach you! This is a growing process that we sometimes lack in our army. Along side delegating responsibilities we need to allow soldiers of our army to expand their horizons and teach Sunday School or even preach on Sundays. This not only enables us to free up some of our Super-Officer Schedules, but it also allows vital moments of investment for soldiers and local officers! It provides a testing of what soldiers and possibly future leaders are learning in the corps setting. Take the initiative and take a back seat from time to time in the ministry and allow others to teach, leader and share the gospel. You will be edified, your leaders will be challenged and another voice from the lectern or pulpit might fall upon ears that hadn’t been open in a while.
5. Respect the Kryptonite of failure but don’t let it dictate your life!
Don’t be afraid of failure it is only kryptonite! The Super-Officer that is only success driven looks at failure as something to avoid and at times will only take small manageable risks, but leaps of faith in programming and evangelistic outreach opportunities may be avoided because the risks are far too big. Failure is only an opportunity to learn and to grow. Dare I say, in leadership, we have to be willing to embrace failed risks. If we don’t dare to risk we will never learn. Super-Officers will only go so far. Super-Officers will only risk so much…because failure keeps them from testing the waters in communities that may reject the ministry. If we fear rejection of the gospel, at times we will refrain from even venturing out of our corps. If/when that happens how will people hear of the hope and love of Christ? We cannot be afraid of the Kyrptonite of failure. If we always fear it and its wrath we will have shackled the mission of The Salvation Army to dwindling, vacant pews and outdated ministry…for to be held in fear is to be held captive by protecting the “investments” of the past rather than looking to investments in the future. (Matt 25:24)
It’s time to put an end to the “Super-Officer”!
The pace and vision of it has never been manageable!
Christ has called the entire body to share in His love, hope and grace…don’t sell the army short by being “Super-Officer”! Be holy leaders. Be godly examples that are humble and servant leaders. We were never appointed to ministries to be “Super-Officers”…so stop draping the red, yellow and blue capes of an individual crusade that was never intended to be a solo mission.
Something more for the Army to ponder today! God Bless You and may we allow the “Super-Officer” to die and in its place the body of Christ within our Army to rise up stronger and healthier.