“With great power comes great responsibility.” —Mufassa to Simba in The Lion King
I live a life devoted to ministry. Leading a team of women (and a few men) in an online community that seeks to encourage women in their daily walks of faith is a privilege that I do not take for granted. I am also a ministry spouse—my husband is a staff pastor at our local church. Both of these settings have taught me some valuable lessons about what a good leader comprises. Below are five of the most important things I have learned along the way.
You Cannot Be Best Friends With Everyone
God set a divine purpose in all of our hearts from the moment he breathed new life into our redeemed bones—regardless the size of our current or our potential reach. That mission is to love the Lord our God and to love others as He loves us. But let me tell you something, friends, you simply cannot be best friends with everyone. There is a stark difference between loving everyone and being everyone’s best friend.
“As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.” —1 Corinthians 12:19-21 (MSG)
I interpret this scripture as Paul’s gentle way of reminding the church that the Holy Spirit has work for all of us to do. If I assume the role of best friend to everyone, I am assuming the work and responsibility of the entire body of Christ. God never expects this of me—ever. He has a unique role for each of us to play in His ultimate plan.
I learned early on in my ministry roles that being best friends with everyone is just not a reality. It is not possible, but the enemy certainly does his best to make me feel otherwise. In fact, he would much rather have me feeling like I am being ineffective by highlighting all the people that are still in need of being reached. Attempting this impossible task will most certainly end in heartache for someone, in addition to taking the chance away from someone else that God is nudging to reach out.
A good leader listens well to who the Holy Spirit would like them to invest a deeper relationship in—and knows that cannot be everyone.
You Cannot Do It All
Too often I see ministries operated by a leader whose plate is overflowing with responsibility. The leader feels called to the ministry work; however, because of an overload of responsibilities, their best efforts are not being applied anywhere and mediocre or less effort is given to all things.
Delegation is an art. It absolutely requires the humility to say: “I cannot do everything.” When you place some of your responsibility into the hands of your peers and trust God to complete the vision and dreams He put in your heart, you experience a truly profound freedom. Your effect on the kingdom will be so much greater when you share credit with the body of Christ.
“Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.” —Exodus 18:22b
A good leader embraces the art of delegation.
You Cannot Let The Bossy-Boots’ Run The Show
Every church has one. My guess is you have already imagined one or two…or maybe more from your church already! I promise you that each and every time you are given the responsibility of a leader, there will be someone ready and willing to tell you exactly how to do your job better.
Knowing this, it is vital to be solid in the ways in which God is leading you to roll out His vision and plans for your assignment. Prayer and time in God’s word will give you a firm foundation upon which to stand and will prepare you for the winds of frustration that will surely blow and push you to react to the bossy-boots in your life in unholy ways.
I want to be clear, however. Being firm does not mean that you steam roll over every suggestion that comes your way. Hearing someone else’s idea may just be the missing piece to an incredible puzzle. Being firm in the direction in which God is leading you will help you discern the difference between who is coming alongside you and who is looking to steal away your position.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” —James 3:17-18
A good leader is solid in the direction and purposes of the assignment God has called them to.
You Cannot Be Proud
Humility is never a favourable topic of discussion, is it? Yet, being humble is one of the most important qualities a good leader can possess. No leader gets it right every time. In spite of that, the best leaders take time to evaluate what went wrong with the plan, and decide whether or not the same plan is something worthy of investing more time and effort into, or whether it is simply time to move on to plan B.
Pride promotes and protects one’s self, where humility promotes and protects the greater good. Pride and humility cannot be roommates of the same heart. A heart in tune with the Spirit has no room for self-preservation. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6:8
A good leader embraces a life of humility.
You Cannot Withhold Grace
We live in a sinful world, friends. People make mistakes. People will disappoint you. You will make mistakes, and you will most definitely disappoint people along the way. Make it your habit to offer grace—often. You never know when you will require the same kind of grace.
“Let your speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” —Colossians 4:6
A good leader knows how both to give and receive grace.
Being a leader in any ministry is such a privilege. Be sure with every opportunity you are given to lead people in ministry that you handle your portion of power with integrity.
Now go—lead well.