I believe in you.
Has anyone said that to you recently? I believe in you.
I want to partner with you. Walk with you. Pray with you. And pour into you. Because I believe in you.
It has been my life’s calling to believe in you as ministry leaders, and I do. Who am I? Well, I’m no one special—just a broken guy in need of a Savior whose name is Jesus. He’s our Messiah. He’s our friend. He believes in us.
I am the product of a Southern Baptist pastor’s home whose mother and father are in heaven right now. My daddy’s megachurch was 45 on either Easter or Christmas (it was booming). My mother played the piano and although not good, she’s playing it really good now. All that to say, the numbers may not have been big, but my dad was a leader worth following. He was a leader no matter the numbers, and no matter who was looking. My dad believed in the church. He believed in people. He believed in me.
What does a leader worth following look like? A man or woman with character. Confidence. Humility. Honesty. Transparency. Passion.
And what about challenging? A good leader sees what others don’t. She sees who people can become. She sees potential.
A leader worth following knows her strengths and weaknesses and is constantly growing. But keep in mind that no two leaders are the same, just like no two people are the same.
Care more about your soul than your role.
(You should tweet that. It’s pretty good.)
A leader worth following is someone who’s more concerned about your soul than how well you work with glitter.
Do you remember this song from ‘back in the day’? We would sing it at my daddy’s church.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
How’s your soul today? Answering that question is hard for a lot of us. It’s sometimes easier to say good and leave it at that. But in all reality, some of us are weak, worn out, discouraged. Some of us even want to quit. Some of us don’t have Jesus in our homes. We help kids learn about Jesus every week, and yet our own children want nothing to do with Him. It’s painful. But it’s reality.
Above all else, we need to have healthy relationships with God and one another.
Painting the vision.
(Expected, I know.)
We’ve all talked about vision, the need for a vision, and painting the vision for our ministries. We talk a lot about vision in the kidmin world. I bet some of you are over it. I get it.
But a big piece of being a leader worth following is about having and communicating a compelling vision.
Why? Because vision trickles down to the team that’s under you, to the teachers are under them, to the kids who show up, and to the parents of those kids.
So what does painting the vision look like? Well it probably feels like you are walking through the church with buckets of paint, waving your brush, painting vision every day, 24/7/365. You have conversation after conversation about vision, and you may feel that the people who need to hear it most are not even there. You know I’m right. But keep up the work, because these conversations lead into other conversations. And whether you feel the effects instantaneously or not, your vision is spreading through these conversations.
Vision is always about the destination. It’s what you want to become, and where you want to end up in the future.
Without vision, you’re scattered. You’re heading in multiple directions all at the same time and may end up where you don’t actually want to be. Vision keeps you, your staff, your team, and your ministry on track. Your vision sets the tone for everything else.
Check it. Align it with your church’s vision and mission. And make sure you know where you’re going.
Pour into people.
(Even if you’re an introvert.)
Let’s just say without people, there is no ministry. People make it all go ’round! So it’s essential to pour into them—like oil! Spend time together. Take a look at your budget and allocate money just to love on your people.
This is vital. (Seriously, write it down.)
Pour into those who pour into your ministry. It really is that simple.
Walk in the front door.
Have you heard this one? Walk in the front door. You’re likely thinking this guy has lost his mind. But stay with me.
A while ago, I was going to get my haircut. I’ve been getting my hair cut by Cindy forever. She even cuts my grandson’s hair—this is how close we are. On this particular day when I walked in through her front, I was shocked. There were smudges all over the door, the windows looked like dogs had licked them (you know what I mean?!), the rug was tattered, and there were magazines all over the place. I mean, it was like bacteria city. I didn’t want to touch anything.
So, when I sat down, I asked… Hey Cindy… Have you noticed what the front of this place looks like? (And, mind you, I said this respectfully—don’t worry.) It’s really bad. The TV up front is just static buzzing—it’s not even on a channel. Cindy had NO IDEA the front looked so bad. She wasn’t paying attention to what it’s like to come in through the front door, because she always comes in the back.
Get a new perspective on your ministry.
I tell all of this to say, don’t rely on only one perspective. Make sure you are looking at your team and your ministry with different lenses all the time. It’s not about the glitter up front or how fancy your building is (obviously, or I wouldn’t get my hair cut by Cindy). It’s really about the ministry taking place, the relationships being nurtured, and keeping the gospel at the center.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to have clean facilities—we should be good stewards of God’s house. But my point is that if we are just walking around on Sunday mornings with a note pad worried about having enough diapers in the pail, instead of being focused on whether or not the Gospel is at the center, then we are missing the point.
Is the Gospel missing?
Every story is about God—about His Gospel—not Esther, not Peter, not Job (poor guy). It’s about God’s work through them. It’s about Jesus.
And it’s about helping dead people become alive again.
When you embody the gospel, it overflows into your team, and your teachers, then to your children, your church, your communities, and beyond. The Gospel is alive, and we should treat it as such.
I might not be very good at details or the admin thing. I might pray too long, and I might not be on top of every little thing, but I want you to know that you matter to me. As leaders, we need to be concerned about the souls of those around us.
Evaluate and ask questions.
(Then ask them again.)
Do you have another kidmin leader who is a friend of yours? I hope you do. Ask them to join you on a weekend to roam the halls, observe what’s happening on a typical Sunday, ask questions, and evaluate your ministry. As a result, your ministry will get stronger and you’ll be a better leader.
Some other ideas for evaluation include:
- Read a book! Take time to search for new ideas and be inspired by the world around us. There is life in community and looking outside our 4 walls.
- Talk to people. I need people—I would die without people. I need them, and they need me. Don’t forget that you are needed too. You are important. You need people, and they need you.
- Get a coach. Find someone you respect in ministry or in life and let them coach you—especially when you’re facing a challenging situations. It’s always good to seek Godly council.
- Take a break. I mean it. Take a vacation and get away from the busyness of ministry. Take even an hour a week to get away and soak God in. Breathe in the air and soak up some rest. Remember that it is okay to rest—we’re told to rest—and Jesus gives rest freely.
- Join a network of ministry leaders. Find other leaders in your area, go to lunch, and talk with them about life and ministry. Connect and pour into one another. (We offer local networks too!)
Some of you are self-feeders. Some of you need to be poured into. While others of you need to find someone else to pour into. Some of you need to take a minute and rest. Some of you need to feed your souls. If you’re not feeding, if you’re not even grazing, we’re in trouble.
Make sure you are evaluating your ministry and your heart.
Wrapping it up.
(I know some of you are thinking “finalllllllllly.”)
Whether you are tired or thriving, you can be a leader worth following. Regardless of whether you are looking for volunteers or you have an overflow, you can be a leader worth following. And it doesn’t matter if you are in a church of 45, 450 or 4,500—YOU can be a leader worth following.
Listen to God’s Spirit in all that you do, and He will direct your path. Put Him first and keep Him there. I think in the busyness, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the ministry we were given belongs to Him. It’s His, so let’s treat it that way.
I pray that your ministry will be blessed. That lives will be changed. Hearts will be opened to the love of Jesus Christ. And I pray that you would know and live in the power given to you as sons and daughters of the Most High.
Thank you for sharing the Gospel with children. Thank you for leading families. The Kingdom of Heaven is expanding because of the work God has given you. Let’s be good stewards of that work.
Let’s be leaders worth following.
We love this resource because ministry coach Byron Ragains empowers you minister TO your volunteers, not just through them. It’s a game changer! Once you’ve read it, you’ll know how crucial it is to invest in strong relationships.