When I was young in the church and first began assuming leadership positions, I was quite ignorant. My mother was a church secretary so I thought I had a lot of things figured out. (Why is it that when someone you are very close to has a job, you feel like you become a quasi-expert? But, I digress…) My first position was in our youth council and then sub-district and district councils. Once I headed off to college, I began working with folks who I had meet through youth. I taught a worship preparedness course to 3rd graders at the church of a pastor who is now a District Superintendent. (As a side note, this is one of the neatest curriculums I ever taught and I haven’t seen it since.) I became small group leaders at huge youth retreats. Then I began my first “real” church job as a Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries. That was an education (and a story for another time)!
After finishing college and graduate school, I entered the world of paid church work again. I lead a children’s choir and was a section leader in the sanctuary choir. My husband, who also sang in the choir, and I became very good friends with the choir director, his wife the organist, and a young couple, both teachers at the time, now a pastor’s family. We began hosting a Bible study in our home. In our discussions, it became apparent to me that we were all in leadership positions in the church or our job and no one else did what we did. I had felt that my whole life, that no one really understood what it meant to be me. I felt this need for study about how God helps leaders, because I desperately needed help. (I still have notes jotted in a book where I began mapping it out.) We moved on and I kept growing. My next church job was again as a Director of Children’s Ministry. Now I am a Local Church Lay Speaker and getting ready to be a Certified Lay Speaker, and about to take on a very meaningful and important leadership position at my church in January/February. I share this, not to bolster myself, but to provide a frame of reference for what I am about to say.
I still think it’s a good idea to write a study about leading, but as I matured through all these varied experiences, so did the concept. I have learned that no one else does exactly what anyone does. We are all special. We all have challenges and opportunities. We all have that crazy person we have to contend with. We all have portions of our job that we enjoy and those we would rather pass off to someone else. We all need help at times to be us and carry on.
The important thing to remember is that we can’t grow and develop alone. I needed, and God provided, all of these experiences to grow me…and He continues to. What I have learned is this: God isn’t ever “finished” with us and when we want to grow, we need to surround ourselves with people and get involved in activities that can mold us into a better us. The world doesn’t need a study for leaders alone; it needs a study that encourages individuals they pass through this life.
So here are some questions to consider–
Are you connected?
Are there people and activities that help you grow?
*This post is inspired by a group I’m going to tonight. UM Connectional Group is a meeting for any interested United Methodists in our county. It’s a time to study, pray, share ideas, and be encouraged by people in other congregations who are trying to grow too. I’m excited to attend!