Today is my first day in a new ministry and leadership role as I begin serving Mariners Church as their new senior pastor. The day has been mapped out for several weeks. After taking my daughters to school for their first day, I will go to my new office for several planned meetings with my new team. It is “go” time.
If you are a leader, and a ministry leader in particular, this is a new season for you too. The start of a new school year always marks a new beginning. Typically teams of staff and volunteers are back together this week and ready to roll. If you are a leader you likely have a plan, something you believe the Lord gave you this summer, a dream or a direction for those you are leading. As a new season begins, here are five reminders for you and for me:
1. Listen more than you speak.
When starting a new season, leaders must fight the temptation to constantly speak, to unload all the things they have imagined for this next season. Be sure you understand your current context. Listen more than you talk. Or as the apostle James wrote, “be quick to listen and slow to speak.”
2. Discern before you declare.
Mark Twain is credited as saying; “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Understand your current context before you make bold declarations, particularly if you are a new leader. Don’t show up with a photocopied vision for your new team.
3. Fewer goals are better than many goals.
It can be really tempting to show up with a bunch of goals, as all of them can be really good things. The fundamental problem with too many goals is that too many goals always result in very few, if any, being realized. Too many goals divide energy and resources too thinly across a myriad of priorities. Focus.
4. If you lose your integrity you lose.
Plato wrote, “The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.” In the midst of a busy season or a new season of leading others, don’t stop leading yourself first. And the way we lead ourselves well is to follow Christ. Follow Him before you lead others.
5. Prepare others; don’t perform.
The role of a ministry leader is NOT to do all the ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-13). The role of a ministry leader is to train all of God’s people for ministry. Not to entertain, but to equip. As you begin a new season, commit once again to prepare others. Resist the temptation to do the ministry; develop others for it.
New seasons are great! They are great times to adjust your leadership and commit to make the biggest impact you can for His kingdom.