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Leadership Lessons

August 7, 2014 — Leave a comment

Follow the leader

Earlier this week, I shared about God opening the door for a new ministry role. The announcement about the change was made to the church on Sunday, but I’ve actually been serving in this role since July 1. Over the past month, I’ve already felt God stretching me and teaching me in multiple areas.

One of my new responsibilities is overseeing our Fellowship Kids staff. This includes 7 full-time team members, 1 part-time team member, and currently 1 intern. I love that I’m getting the chance to lead leaders, but I’ve got a lot to learn. Here are a few leadership lessons I’m learning as I do my best to lead this team.

1) If you want respect from those who follow you, show respect to those who lead you.

The boss/leader sets the tone for a team. When you show respect and submit to the authority over you, the team gets the chance to see the behavior you desire. I love the guys who are leading me, and I hope our team has the same confidence in me.

2) People need to know why just as much as they need to know what

The team needs to know what is expected of them, but more importantly they need to know why it matters. I’m learning that to being a good leader means taking time to help the team understand the why behind the what.

3) Leaders need the freedom to fail

I’m 100% positive that I will make mistakes. It’s only been a month in this role, and I’ve probably made more than I even realize! To keep the team dreaming and pushing forward, there has to be freedom to trying something new, change things up, and be innovative. Sure, it might end in some epic fails, but I always want to be thinking about how we can better reach children with the Gospel.

4) Value and respect go a long way

I’ve had the privilege of hearing leadership-guru John Maxwell speak a few different times. In each of his talks, I remember him stressing the need for encouragement, respect, and value for every team member. I want each team member to know that they are valuable and critical to our mission of making disciples. I’m slowly learning what that looks like and how to apply it to our team.

5) Lead with confidence and humility

This one is tough for me. I’m working hard to find the balance between confidence and humility in leading. I need to be someone who others can follow, this takes confidence. I want to be someone who others want to follow, this takes confidence and humility.


What other leadership lessons would you share with me?

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Yesterday, our church announced some exciting changes happening in our Family Ministry. Our lead student pastor has moved into the role of Family Pastor and our Jr. High Pastor has stepped up to lead the student ministry. These guys are gifted leaders. I’m excited to see how God uses them in their new roles.

I’m also excited that I will get to work with them as I transition to my new role as FellowshipKids (FSK) Pastor. I will continue to provide leadership for our preteen ministry, but I will also be overseeing staff and programming for all of children’s ministry (birth thru 6th grade). I love this church and I love our children’s ministry staff, so I feel incredibly blessed.

I know this change will stretch and challenge me. It already has! I am praying and seeking God for direction, and I’m trusting In His grace and power.

As for the blog, I’m hoping to get back to sharing ideas, questions, and experiences. When I started in preteen ministry, so many of you gave me encouragement and insight. I’m counting on you to keep it up!

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It’s 9:00 pm Saturday night and Bill is frantically searching his email for the lesson that was emailed to him earlier in the week. When he finally finds it and prints it off, it’s 10:00 pm. He glances at it (not really to read it but just to make sure it all printed), and then shoves it in his Bible so he’ll have it when he leads his small group on Sunday morning.

Is this how your volunteers prepare to lead a small group? In the busyness of your life and theirs, how can you help them prepare to lead their small group well?

To help our small group leaders, I included a page in our training manual called “How to Prepare for Sunday Morning in 15 Minutes or Less.” The idea was to give them a practical way to be well prepared for Sunday by spending a little bit of time with the lesson each day. Here is what we included:

I adapted this schedule from an example found in Wholly Kids from Lifeway:Kids. This is an amazing resource on how kids learn, how to design engaging environments, and how to lead volunteers.

 HOW TO PREPARE FOR SUNDAY MORNING (in 15 minutes or less!)

Monday

  • Read the Fifty6 Team Email and print a copy of this week’s lesson
  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible

Time: 5 minutes

Tuesday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Read the Large Group teaching time

Time: 10-15 minutes

Wednesday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Read the Small Group portion of the lesson—Think, Discuss, & React

Time: 15 minutes

Thursday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Write down your responses/answers to the Small Group discussion questions

Time: 15 minutes

Friday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Pray for the students in your group by name

Time: 10 minutes

Saturday

  • Read the Scripture passage for this week’s lesson from your Bible
  • Write down some fun or engaging questions to use during Huddle Time
  • Review the lesson and rest!

Time: 10 minutes

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On a day that honors him, I wanted to comment on this letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. I decided that my comments would only cheapen it. So, here is an excerpt from the Letter from Birmingham Jail and a link to the full document. It is a great example of leadership and grace in the face of opposition.

April 16, 1963

MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN:

While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine goodwill and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every Southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns: and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom far beyond my own hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.