I’ve thrown away my trophies, lost track of my plaques. But I proudly display one award.
The two dozen or so trophies I won as a teen have all been trashed. I’ve lost the plaques I was awarded as an adult. But in my office I proudly display one simple framed certificate, filled in by hand “in recognition of all you have done to help me become a tremendous leader.” It’s signed by Anna, our church’s Children’s Ministry Team Leader.
While I appreciate Anna’s kind words, the reason I value this award above all the others is that Anna finally came to see herself as a tremendous leader!
When our pastor first asked Anna to lead our Children’s Ministry Team, she said she wasn’t qualified. Eventually she agreed, not because she felt confident, but because God told her to. A year later I became her coach. Scores of times over the next few years, Anna threatened to quit because she felt overwhelmed.
Anna has now been leading our children’s ministry for ten years. She no longer threatens to quit and has built one of our strongest ministry teams. She has grown into an excellent leader—and she knows it!
I’m a preacher’s kid. My dad was hired to preach three times a week and care for the flock. He did that faithfully. He was a “minister for hire.” Working out of the chaplaincy model typical of his generation, it never crossed his mind that he could or should intentionally develop leaders.
Over the past 40 years I’ve seen more Christian leaders embracing the biblical truth that they are called to be “equippers of ministers” (Ephesians 4:11-12) rather than ministers for hire. This applies not just to ministry professionals (the Ephesian church didn’t have any), but also to ministry team leaders, teachers, small group leaders. In every church, God has called many to be equippers. The power of this biblical model is that equippers multiply ministry
I visited a church where I was blown away by how warmly I and others were being welcomed. When I complimented the hospitality team leader on a great job, she responded, “Oh, I have a great team!” I could tell this wasn’t false modestly. She really did think her team deserved all the credit.
That’s how it is with great equippers. They enjoy hitting homers. But what they love even more is cheering on those they are coaching as they hit home runs.
- Which gives you greater joy—hitting ministry home runs or cheering on those you are coaching as they hit home runs?
- When you describe your leadership role, how much of your explanation focuses on tasks you do yourself? How much focuses on equipping and empowering others?
- How much time do you spend each week coaching and encouraging leaders and emerging leaders—in person, by phone, by email, etc?
- Could you benefit from some coaching on how to transition from being primarily a doer to primarily an equipper?