As promised, here are the last five “Leadership Commandments” I gave to my friend as he entered into ministry.
- (6) Thou shalt remember that people need you to lead them; don’t be afraid to. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, people actually crave legitimate leadership. If they trust you, they will entrust a lot to you, and they will do it willingly. Don’t miss an opportunity to lead just because you’re afraid to speak into someone’s life.
- (7) Thou shalt remember that it all starts with what God is doing in your life. Though I don’t necessarily agree that you can’t take a person somewhere you haven’t been yourself (because God is way, way bigger than that), you do need to take your spiritual life seriously, and you do need to minister out of the fullness of your own life. Tend to your soul.
- (8) Thou shalt realize you reproduce what/who you are. I learned this the hard way. You can talk and lead until you are exhausted, but ultimately you will reproduce who you are, not what you do. In one of my first ministry callings, I worked extremely hard to build a great team; we did great work together. However, I began to notice that a couple key members had become cynical and sarcastic, and lost the sense of wonder that they’d had when they began their journey with me. I realized that I had helped them become that, because that’s what was stirring around in my soul. That’s who I was becoming.It still crushes me.
- (9) Thou shalt lead by faith, not by sight. When you lead musical worship, it’s tempting to either watch people “really getting into it” and decide that you’re doing a great job, or watch people sitting on their hands and decide that you’re doing a horrible job. Both are error. We minister to God first, and we trust that He is working. If you watch the people who are enthusiastically responding to your leading and decide that you are really hitting it, you are actually closer to idolatry than it is to leading faithfully. If you watch the people who are not responding at all and decide that you are failing, you are allowing yourself to become needlessly discouraged. Do your best, and trust God for the results.
- (10) Thou shalt immediately begin working yourself out of a job.More than any other vocation, ministry is not meant to be hoarded. There’s a fine line between allowing yourself to “do the things that only you can do,” and just holding on to ministry roles that you really should be giving away. Ministry is meant to expand, which means you need to actively look for people to pour into.Caveat #1: It will take a long time to find them.
Caveat #2: There will a couple instances where you think you’ve found “your replacement”, and you will be disappointed.
But keep looking.
So that’s it. There will probably be a “third tablet” of commandments, someday, but these were enough to get him started.