As I have been believing God to lead my wife and I to a place of full-time ministry I’ve had a lot of time to think about what it might look like walking into a place where there is already a pretty core team in place and perhaps even other leaders (worship leaders, tech leaders, etc...). I’ve thought about what would be important things to establish from the beginning, and what things shouldn’t be messed with at all (at least in the beginning stages). From these thoughts, and from being intentional about learning leadership principles from great leaders, I’ve shared with everyone a lot about vision the last couple of months. Today I want to share something else that has REALLY been on my heart lately, something that I feel needs to be a foundational part of any leadership team. The culture we build as leaders will really determine how we do our week to week ministry. While I would want this concept to penetrate its way down the whole team, I would start by communicating it to other leaders who are under my leadership because it really has the potential to change how we do leadership, how we handle conflict, how we handle tension, how we relate to people, what we choose to be “picky” about, etc... Plus, when we model this and THEN communicate it to the entire team it has a greater chance of “landing” with them.
Without any further ado let me just jump into this. Like I mentioned, I believe this to be a foundational part of leadership, but also a Biblical one. In any group of leaders can be found a wide range of passions, talents, and competencies represented (the WHAT), but there is one simple truth that I believe is, or should be, common among all of us, a servant’s heart (the HOW). In John 13:3-5 it says, “3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” This is amazing! Jesus, knowing he’s the most powerful person on the planet (v.3) decides to model for his disciples, and for us today, extraordinary leadership by leveraging his power, his influence, his leadership for the sake of everyone around him by taking a towel and serving them. Jesus knew that most of those guys in that room would become “rockstars” and have huge followings so he modeled for them what they should do when they are the most powerful person in the crowd, in the group, in the room. In ministry there can be changes, questions, uncertainties, and challenges along the way when it comes to the WHAT, but the one thing that remains the same, and will always remain, is the HOW. There are times (for whatever reason) that our WHAT lens may become a little blurry, and in those moments we need to really allow the HOW to rise up and become our clarity, our drive, our focus. I’m sure we can all think of huge changes that have affected us in positive or negative ways. We have to cut the number of songs we do, or we have to pull off a set without our drummer who didn’t show, or we get sick, or whatever. I know, that’s change, and that’s tough, but that’s WHAT. Even in the most difficult changes my response ought to be like that of my Leader, of my Master, of my Savior, “I will serve,” because that’s HOW. See, if our WHAT overshadows our HOW we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment, conflict, and lack of success, but if we allow the HOW to drive the WHAT we find ourselves serving like Christ served. We find ourselves laying down our wants, our desires, our motives, our agendas for the sake of serving others. Guys, just imagine the level of success we can have as leaders if we led like Christ led. Imagine the example we would be setting for those under our own leadership if we modeled HOW over WHAT. Imagine the incredible amount of freedom and flexibility those under our leadership would have, and those under their leadership would have, to succeed because we chose to focus more on the HOW than on the WHAT. I love this quote from John Maxwell, “A successful person finds the right place for himself, but a successful leader finds the right place for others.” Let’s really pray that God would develop and maintain a servant’s heart within us, and let’s be amazed together at what God does in our ministry and in our own leadership when HOW moves WHAT!
“15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” - John 3:15-17