Help them Succeed
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
(Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)
“I just wish I had a budget to work with, it would really help.” A young youth pastor told me once. “It’s hard to do Youth Ministry when you can hardly afford to get what you need.” I had sat in on this young man’s youth group, helping with worship for a special bon-fire, as we drove back towards Sterling we talked. He was an interim, filling in for the Youth Pastor who had to take some time off for family. “I feel like I could do so much more if I just had some support” he said, the frustration in his voice obvious.
It’s possible, that if you ask one of your team members if they feel they are giving them the tools to succeed then you may get a response like this. It may also not surprise you to find that this is very common in churches with very driven, church growing mentalities. These Administrative Cowboys are difficult to work for and the reason that this series has focused on the “Shepherd” form of leadership. I’ve talked about before, in a Director’s Corner that you cannot drive your flock, the same goes for your administrative employee’s, Deacon’s, Associate Pastors etc.
The Administrative Cowboy sees only his or her vision, all too often leaving in the dust the care and success of those they are bringing (or dragging) with them. The shepherd Model is quite different, the shepherd who “Cares for his sheep” can care for them because he knows them. The Sheep are not just pawns or money makers or cattle that serves a purpose, they are meek creatures, unable to defend themselves, needing to be cared for by the Shepherd. Hence Jesus says “I am he good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me…I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15b). The administrative cowboy usually does not know the sheep because he is all too often caught up in his plan. The Shepherd however knows the sheep and knows their needs and knows how to build up and encourage the sheep.
The Shepherd, as stated in Eph. 2:14, is one of the gifts meant for equipping the Saints for Ministry. Everything we have talked about throughout the course of the year is geared to this. By forming your team you are saying that this group is responsible and that you trust them, this is a vote of confidence. By standing up for them you show them they are worth your time. By being teachable you are giving them an example to live by. By imitating Christ you should be encouraging them to be like Christ as well. By Telling them who they are you are equipping them to build up others, and by teaching the gospel and spiritual disicpline you are encouraging them to know the gospel and do the work of the gospel while learning to live intimately with God.
The goal of the leader then should be to help them succeed, serve them so that they have what it takes to do the job. The old adage is true, to create a leader who can do your job better than you. That means, more graceful, more lovingly and wisely than you may have done it. The Goal should be to train a disciple to go beyond you, to surpass you. By denying any right we have to our position we will be able to lead and serve like never before. We may find, that as we humbly pursue the study of scripture that our style of leadership changes completely. That by shepherding instead of driving we will see transformed lives instead of burned out bodies.
So help your team succeed by giving them what they need. That means resources of any kind, that you can afford, and by giving them your service and love. This will very possibly transform their lives as it transforms you. It will also allow God to transform your ministry as well, taking it beyond where you ever imagined.
Let me close the year with this: None of what I have written about this year can be done on our own strength. God has called us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and that is where the secret lies. It is by this transformation in Titus 3:5 (“The washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit”) that makes the difference, we can do none of this without Christ leading the way in our lives, only by His leading can we lead others, only by His love can we love others.
See you at Summer Cell.