September, 2001 was a month that will forever be burnt into my memory. I was interviewed for my first ministry position as a student ministries pastor at a church outside Anderson, IN. This was so shocking to me… the leaders of this church entrusted me with keys to the building and the actual student ministry.
They might not have liked all the things that happened in my ministry this just so happens to be setting up an obstacle course for students to go through while while myself and other leaders stood on schavelding shooting paintball guns at them like we were on American Gladiators. They might have liked the fact that a group of 3 students grew into group of 40 + and at times 50 students showed up and destroy the gym. But they actually gave me the keys of leadership when it came to this part of the church. Rev. Jerry Snyder is one of my hero’s when I look back over my life because of this.
Jerry and I had plenty of conversations about the events, games, and challenging messiness of this student ministry, but to his credit he just kept trusting with leadership in this area.
In this area I want to follow in his example. Over the past 16+ years I’ve learned that empowering leaders is part of the process of making a lasting impact as a church. This is crucial for churches. Empowering is so much more than simple delegation.
When we are delegated a task we are simply handed a task that our leader really didn’t want to do in her job responsibilities. But if that leader empowers others she moves into a completely different role.
Empowerment is where things get fun. Delegation simply implies that the task gets done; there is no thought of it getting done or accomplished in a better or more efficient way.
When we empower someone it requires we explain the “why” behind the what. I️t also means we trust the person to accomplish the task in a completely different way than we might have hoped for. It also means we are ok with things being accomplished in ways that we didn’t expect. This forces us to explain why we would do something or make a decision. If we neglect to do this, we have only delegated the task. If that is the case as a leader we must be ok with the task being done in a different manner than we envisioned.
Empowerment kind of implies a relationship between the leader and the other person. I personally haven’t seen empowerment take place void of a relationship. So if you’re a leader and want to expand your leadership capability it probably starts with your relationships. Make sure the people you work with know you and know you care for them. Invest in their lives add value to them on a personal level and professional level.
This might mean having a line item in your budget for ‘value adding’ for your staff, bring them coffee, learn their love language and make sure you communicate this ‘value adding’ part in a way they will understand. You can find more information out athttp://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Take time to explain why you make the decisions you make. Taking the time to explain to your team why you make the decisions you make helps them understand how you think, and what you value. As this takes place you’ll start to see them use this in their own areas and lives.
As a leader you have the challenge to empower others so that they can make a decision within the parameters your as the leader set. As this takes place allowing them to see the why behind the what helps them understand how you think.
80% of our church are under the age of 30. We love that statistic! We also love the fact that from the very beginning we want to empower young leaders to lead the way God has gifted them to.
This summer we held a 8 week course called Leadership Academy. We invited anyone who had graduated high school and under the age of 30 years old to learn from Heather and I and especially from each other. During this time we offered them the reasoning of how we made decisions and how they could use this not only at RE.THINK Church but also at their own workplaces. At the end of this time they got to lead a community event that RE.THINK Church would host. This might have been my favorite thing we have done as a church.
During this process I couldn’t help myself but reflect on the leaders in my story who invested in my life and leadership. I long for the day that some of these amazing talented leaders will do the same thing and remember our investment in their lives.
It’s messy handing keys of leadership off to people, but we love watching leaders lead in ways God has gifted them to!
WHy a blog?
RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.