Some people dream of pioneering ministry, others fall into it as God calls them toward unexpected ventures. But no matter our role —volunteer, staff or otherwise— or how we came to be there, we all carry a certain status of leadership in ministry. As we go about our work, it is vital that we stay humble in our approach and value the importance of continual learning from positive influences of leadership in our lives.
When I started secondary school, I had a teacher repeat to our class time and time again that, “Good learners don’t stay stuck”— they talk to others, brainstorm ideas, try to fill gaps in their knowledge, and seek solutions to imposing obstacles. At the time, we rolled our eyes. However, now as someone working in a ministry-based role alongside dedicated church leaders and volunteers, I’ve come to understand that all leaders should, in fact, be learners and therefore, good leaders don’t stay stuck.
As it happens, those in ministry encounter some of the hardest obstacles. Whether it’s theological debates around the church boardroom, seemingly unanswerable questions from teenagers in the youth group, or the simple act of heading up a team of volunteers, sometimes we’re left stuck. Sometimes, the weight of responsibility that comes with leadership can crush us in our confidence moving forward. Sometimes, we don’t know how to keep going.
One of my favourite things to do since landing in a ministry role has been catching up with other leaders; people in my life whose ground-breaking leadership style and approach to these challenges I’ve witnessed and admired. Some have years of experience; others are still in their infancy. But all provide discussion around leadership’s biggest hardships—how they’ve struggled, and how they’ve learned from their mistakes. I’ve found this to be helpful in my personal growth as a leader and I think it’s important to value others’ God-given wisdom. There’s a hidden beauty in vulnerability when we are willing to be open with each other about the pieces of knowledge that we’re lacking and the parts of our role that we really struggle with. At the end of the day, none of us got to where we are in our ministry by being perfect or knowing all the answers.
No matter the level of responsibility each of us possess in our leadership roles, we must remember that there is always more room to grow. We’ll never get it 100% right every time and there will be situations where we find ourselves stuck. But good leaders don't stay stuck — they learn from others, talk it through, and try to find a solution. Who are the positive influences of leadership in your life?