Leading Well When You're Not The Leader
As a Children’s Ministry professional, once upon a time, I use to believe that obtaining a title in a church was the ultimate thing. I will never forget when I was hired to my first position in a church. Man, If I could tell you how hard I stared at that glass placard outside my door that read “Esther Moreno-Children’s Ministry Director.” No matter what type of day I was having, I can remember staring at that little sign affixed to the door and I felt like somebody. It was like a public service announcement that screamed, “Hey! I’m the leader! I’m the one kids run to! I’m the end-all-be-all authority in this church for all things Children’s Ministry!" Now imagine the last statement I just said in your head and think of me in the scene out of the 1950’s film Sunset Boulevard when actress Gloria Swanson says, “I’m ready for my closeup Mr. Demille.” Yeah…I was that bad. And if you’ve read my other blogs, you know that distorted thinking led to burnout real fast!
Of course, since then my thinking when it comes to leadership has drastically changed. I have learned over the years that you don’t have to be the designated leader to be a dynamic leader that stands above the crowd and makes an amazing impact for the Kingdom. Why? Because true leadership isn’t about having a title. It’s about being an influencer! A children’s ministry worker who chooses to lead well and give their all regardless of an official title, has the ability to make the greatest impact in a room. I love how Sar Haribhakti captures this concept when it comes to Title vs. Authority. He states, “When you have a title, people NEED to work with you, respect your position, and for the most part, agree with you (at least to your face), When you have influence, people WANT to work with you, voluntarily respect you, and have honest conversations with you.” Now of course if you combine these two, that makes for a killer combination but for the purposes of this blog post, I wanted to focus on the worker without a title who’s not necessarily “in charge.”
Not being the official Children’s Pastor or Director is no reason to be careless in your commitment to the Children’s Ministry department. Besides, we’re all in this together and a leader is no better than it’s weakest team member. Together we stand and divided we fall. A healthy Children’s Ministry department that is thriving is not ran by one leader but by many influencers that take the job of reaching the next generation for Christ seriously and works together towards that end.
Yes, I use to think that obtaining a title was the ultimate thing, Now I think that being an Influencer is the ultimate thing so choose to lead well even when you’re not “the leader” and become an influencer today! Need help in that department. Here’s a few tips to help you get started.
1. Be intentional about supporting your Children’s Pastor or Director. Show up on-time to serve enthusiastically. Help recruit others you feel would be a great fit for the Children’s Ministry that your Children’s Pastor might not know about otherwise. Check-in on your Children’s Pastor periodically and see if there is anything you can do to help.
2. Be intentional in getting to know the children you serve. Don’t just limit yourself to manning a room. Get on their level. Let them know you see them and that they matter to you.
3. Interact and engage with the parents in your ministry. Some of the parents that come in feel like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Greet them with a warm welcome. Ask them how they are doing. Make them feel like you are just as happy to see them as the children.