Some of us strive for it before we are ready to handle it. Some of us shirk from it when we are responsible for it. Some of us reluctantly embrace it.
It’s not easy. Perhaps the older we get, the more experience we have in the trenches, the more we understand that truth. It’s not easy.
A wise mentor of ours, a member of the Board of Directors of KidZ at Heart, always reminds us of this truth: each person you lead is completely different from the others and requires his or her own unique handling and motivation. No wonder it isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, it can be quite complicated.
To make matters even more complex, as leaders we really can’t accomplish much of anything without developing groups of people to do the work. And groups of people are even more difficult to lead than individuals.
In Becoming a Healthy Team: 5 Traits of Vital Leadership, Stephen Macchia sharpens the point:
Teams are very difficult to create. They are tougher to motivate. They are impossible to predict. They can be challenging to lead. They can inspire greatness and they can embody pettiness. They can gel quickly and they can splinter apart overnight. They are filled with people who are unique in their backgrounds, hurts, needs, joys, desires, gifts, aspirations, and call. To get a diverse group of people working on the same page is the ongoing priority and challenge for leaders.
But Scripture is quite clear. Our job as ministry leaders is not to do the work. We need to work hard, but not do the work. The Spiritual Leader’s job is to invest in the lives of others who can do the work:
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ (Eph 4:11-12).
We are so privileged to serve as leaders of an incredible team. It's more than a team, really. It's a community. The staff of KidZ at Heart is a joy for us to serve, lead, equip, and watch do the work of the ministry. Staff members work in a virtual office setting in six states and six countries, but we are still able to experience spiritual community because of the Holy Spirit and our hearts dedicated to the work of reaching children for Jesus. We wish every team we have experienced could have been the same.
So let’s start leading. Let’s go before those we lead. Walk more closely with God. Serve him more diligently. Strive to obey him more consistently. Confess more freely. Ask for forgiveness more readily. Go before our teams, our people, our families, so that we may join Paul in saying, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Cor 11:1).