Monday, January 24, 2011

The Stuff They Don't Tell You.

As far as I know, there's no handbook for going into full-time ministry. And for full-time church work, the closes thing you're gonna' get is an employee manual, but that doesn't really do all that much for you.

Now, there are plenty of resources. There are DVDs and downloadable videos and books and blogs and conferences and songbooks and music forums and all sorts of stuff that can empower you in your job, but there's a lot of stuff nobody tells you.

From time to time here on the worship leader toolbox, we'll examine a few of the very important, but sadly elusive principles in leading a church.

It doesn't take long before you learn that vision is the thing. As a leader, you have to get out in front of people and communicate strong, memorable images and goals for your people.

The problem is that nobody warns you that you might just get so far out in front of your people that they can't even see you.

I can't tell you how many song services or videos or blogs I see where a worship leader or pastor has dreamed so big and so fast that the people are left scratching their heads. And when do that over and over and over and over, something tragic happens - our people don't trust us. In fact, our image can quickly change from that of a shepherd to one of someone pursing glory or success in some way that's not even connected to the congregation.

When we talk about numbers or growth or new programs or building campaigns, we have to make sure that we're pursuing those things because they will best and most efficiently produce God-glorifying results in our congregations. If we build buildings or start new ministries and our people don't get a better, more clear understanding of God and His call on their lives, why are we doing it?

So how do we do it? How do you "go to them"?

Keep your ear to the ground.
We can't just stand around waiting for the stampede to come around the corner. We have to put our ear to the ground so that we can be aware of the slightest rumbling! We have to look for feedback from our people. We certainly don't have to believe that every person who has feedback for us is absolutely correct, but we DO have to listen. (And they'll be more right on that you think.)
Making this effort to be aware of what's actually happening in the day-to-day lives of your people will encourage them and it'll make your job a lot more fun because you'll know the needs you're meeting!

Let other folks shine.
As much as we'd like to be the star, it's just not gonna' happen every time. Find folks who know more people than you or different people than you and bring them on board! Benefit from their experience, sure, but let them do what they do best.

Let them connect and instruct and follow their example. And when you hit that goal (whatever it may be,) don't be a jerk - acknowledge to folks who made it happen.

It's good to be reminded that church isn't a one-man show. It's a community and that community should serve and encourage itself. Make it happen by letting someone else make it happen.

Warp speed. Then dial it back just it a little.
As you learn your people and they understand that you care about them and not just some idea of what good church looks like, you'll be charged and ready to go. Dream big! Imagine great things! Go as hard as you can!

But dial it back just a hair.

We're an excitable lot, and pulling back our ambition just a little goes a long way in remembering that we're leading a group of very unique, varied people. Not everybody wants to move as fast as you do...dial it back. Just a little.

What about you?
Ever seen a church move way too fast?
What happened? What could they have done better?