Yesterday, we pondered on the topic of 5 Things Leaders Shouldn’t Do
Today, we’re going to flip the proverbial coin over and explore 5 things Leaders SHOULD do in their ministry and in their lives.
I will not simply “flip” the list we already have explored, but it should be obvious that some of these done in reverse will greatly impact your flock! Don’t ever negate the fact that as an appointed leader you HAVE a flock to tend to! Leadership isn’t easy, it never is. There will be times when you will have to the do the difficult things that will cost you! Leadership might impact your friendships, your family and your relationships in general. I am not deterring you from leadership, if you are about to take up some sort of mantel, but be mindful that there are no short cuts to becoming a good leader; hard work, planning and perseverance are qualities that are required!
5 Things Leaders SHOULD Do!
5) Lead By Example
“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” -John Maxwell
Leaders, don’t just bark orders and expect those they lead to fall in line. Some will follow, but others will down right rebel! Strong, qualified leaders set the trend by their work ethic and physical practice of that work ethic! NEWS FLASH: You don’t need a degree to be a good, qualified leader!
Good leaders will show you how it’s done before ever expecting you to perform. How can we expect laborers in the field to cultivate a harvest if we haven’t first shown them how to work? This cycles back to being good disciplers of those you lead! We can’t expect amazing results if we do not first feed the sheep we have and display for them what Christ-like leadership looks like.
4) Set Realistic Vision THEN revisit, regroup and Persevere!
“People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.” — Howard Schultz, Starbucks
Setting goals and a vision that is realistic is only one piece of the pie. The planning and casting of a vision has to have an end game, or an “outcome”. What do you want to see accomplished? How will you get there? What sorts of goals can you set (realistic) that will help you get there?
Once this vision is cast, you MUST include your flock, your people! They have to be invested in the vision too! It can’t be your vision, because your vision will never move the congregation (your people) forward into realization of that vision. Vision HAS to be share and invested! Once the vision is shared and invested in, good leaders regroup and revisit the goals and steps along the way. Once something is accomplished, celebrate the accomplishment but also analyze and study why and how it became successful…do the same thing with failed goals or visions – assess why they failed or didn’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish. THEN, work harder and keep going!
3) Servant Heart – Compassion!
This goes back to # 5 – Be the servant leader!
That doesn’t mean you get walked all over and you allow those you lead to get a pass on being invested in the mission, it means you place the needs of the many before your personal needs. It means you consider others before yourself and what you want others to remember about you…NEWSFLASH – It’s not about you!
If we serve out of some erroneous notion that it’s about our abilities, passion and notoriety, then we have been sorely mistaken AND perhaps we need to check our egos at the door. Jesus told His disciples that if any of them wanted to be first they had to be last. If they wanted to be a leader they had to first become a servant of all. (Mark 10:42-45) When we remove self from the equation, it becomes much easier to love those you lead because the inward focus of love has been refocused towards others and the vital mission that we as Salvationist believe in – “Save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity”
2) Take Risks!
The plan of William and Catherine Booth for the Christian Mission which eventually became the Salvation Army was extremely risky. They would devote themselves completely to it. The founders left their previous ministries and began something completely new and different. They risked a lot. They tried things that did not always work. BUT they took risks along the way.
I think that today our Army has become a sort of playground for the “play it safes”, if you know what I mean. We invest in the programs we have already done – because there is funding or there is an insulated safety net in place, but when it comes time to wander out of the comforts of that safety net – we withdraw, we shy away. In part it could mean reprisals and discipline from leaders in authority over you, and it could mean loss in possible membership because you were willing to upset the apple cart (so to speak).
Albert Einstein once said,“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.” Let me amend this quote for our purposes here today – “An Army is always safe in the comforts of its corps buildings – but that is NOT what it is built for!” Good leaders not only help set the team vision, but good leaders take calculated risks in helping to build the Kingdom, because this is ALL kingdom building work! Take chances, take risked – worry less about reprisals from your divisional headquarters (gasp) and more about not listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads your corps or ministry! Obviously communicate your plans to your leaders but don’t hamstring yourself because you’re afraid to risk.
1) Plan Ahead – Be Proactive!
Knowing your community and assessing what your community needs is a tool that helps you to become a proactive leader and participant in Kingdom building! When we begin to study our surroundings and surroundings of our ministry demographic we can begin to recognize trends and needs. When we are better in tune with our community and our corps people, we will be more prepared to “meet human needs in His name”.
Do you remember the parable about the Bridesmaids and their oil lamps in the Bible? (Matt. 25:1-13) You know, the one where some of them were unprepared and ran out of oil before the Bridegroom returned? They begged and begged the ones who had prepared to lead some of their oil to them…but it was too late. In order to prevent this from realistically happening to us in our ministries and preparation to usher new people to Christ, we have to plan ahead! Pulling something out of your butt (sorry for the imagery) at the last minute will only be so successful. True success in our ministries, and growth in those we reach is defined by how well we know our audience and how prepared we are to meet them where they are at. Good leaders will prepare and plan ahead. Good leaders won’t always be last minute and harried in the process.
Some of you might contend – but I’m already busy…I have too much to do already – I’m right there with you. I’m also not quite to the point where I would consider myself (by this specific qualification) a Good leader – I still have to work on this in my ministry. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to become better at it! We all have room to grow in this. Other “reports” may have to take a backseat sometimes in order for leader to get back to the important work of planning and meeting needs – by listening and studying their communities and those they love and serve!
These are just 5 Things Leaders SHOULD be doing…it’s a primer, something to spur and spark our thoughts and our imaginations. None of this can be fully accomplished unless we are fully submitted to God’s will for our ministries. Dear Salvationist, you matter to this Army! You set the trend and the motion forward! We continue to need strong leaders who are willing to take up this mantel and to share the burden & passion of ministry! My hope and prayer is that we recognize that we all have room to grow and that we begin to prayerfully consider how we can accomplish this through the power and strength of the Lord.
Something more for our Army to ponder today!
*Disclaimer: The writings and opinions of Pastorsponderings are not necessarily the opinions of the Salvation Army – Reader Discretion is Advised.*