Have you felt the tension between being faithful in your current serving role and your desire to lead in a greater capacity? If you’re like me, the thought “I could do a better job leading than this person” has crossed your mind. Or we think, “I need to be doing more than this.” And then if you’re not careful, little by little, you fall into serving for approval instead of what God is teaching you through service.
So as a reminder to stay focused, I’d like for us to consider three ways we can develop our leadership skills in our current serving roles.
Most of Watermark’s internal ministries and external partnerships started when people saw a need, raised their hands to lead, and inspired others around them to join them in serving. In the process, those early participants have continually become better at how they serve. Some of these initial leaders have even become staff members in these same organizations where they originally volunteered their time and talents.
The truth is, all our Ministry Partners and our Watermark ministries are led by faithful servants who have willingly invested time to see their ministries thrive. They have experienced the ups and downs in serving and have golden leadership lessons we could all learn from. Their leadership is an accumulation of many lessons learned throughout time.
So it would be beneficial for each of us to sit, ask questions, and imitate how they serve. Their experience should equip you to be a champion within the ministry.
Like on many sports teams, a captain is helpful to direct the rest of the team – while knowing they’re not the team’s owner. I believe staff members at our various Ministry Partners – and at Watermark – would state the same thing about their respective organizations. They hold their roles loosely and understand this is God’s team – and He could change captains at any time.
With that understanding, many leaders focus on raising leaders to keep the ministry going, which is no easy task. It’s one thing to serve in the frontlines; it’s another to serve with other leaders.
As you watch staff members in the various places you serve, you’ll see they are often very strategic in how they steward their time and who they spend it with. It’s not that they’re divas or want to be untouchable. On the contrary, most of them would love to meet everyone but cannot, because they must first serve their families, church community, and the leaders under them in the ministry.
Watching staff lead should inspire you to be more like Jesus in how they strategically spend their time and serve those who should be prioritized in their ministry – including their families.
In my leadership journey, I’ve seen that leaders tend to be like tour guides. When you go abroad and pay for a guide, you’re trusting that person has passed through the same experience they’re offering you.
I believe as servant-leaders, we should model what we’d like others to do. The growth of all our ministries depends on people willing to teach others what they’ve learned. This creates an environment of learning, constant betterment, and excellence as we serve. So, learn the processes established by your ministry leadership team, experience them, and help teach others as well. Then if God does choose to establish you as a leader, you’ll be leading out of the overflow of what you’ve experienced.
As I alluded to in the beginning, let’s not open the door to envy taking over our hearts by sizing ourselves up with others, or even with what we believe our own “potential” to be. On the contrary, be faithful in what the Lord has you serving in today, have a humble spirit, learn from those around you, and start by leading where you’re at.
Consider what Paul said in Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
_A blog post about External Focus issues every week? Absolutely: right here.