Yesterday I went to work. I’m a youth pastor, so I don’t have a real job, but my friend Russ does work. As I found out, he works real hard. He owns an A/V installation business and he’s also a ministry parent/volunteer.
For the past couple of years I’ve been asking him to take me to work with him so I could see what he does for a living. Spending the day with him I came away with an even greater appreciation for the men and women who serve in our ministry in addition to having families and careers. These people give selflessly to the cause of Christ without getting paid to do it.
As a kid I used to think that people didn’t really exist outside my presence. People just came in and out of my life like actors in a scene. When they were off stage they were waiting around for their next scene. I think we can view our volunteer leaders the same way. We forget that they have lives outside of your ministry and the church. Yesterday I got to see Russ have a really stressful day. I’m sure I didn’t help when I broke one of his brand new ladders. Seeing Russ in his world helped me appreciate his investment in the church all the more.
Your leaders are more than bit players in your ministry story. They are not here to fulfill your ministry desires. I appreciate and lead leaders better when I remember these two things:
Their presence is a valuable commodity. Even by being involved in your ministry they are sacrificing greatly. It’s no small thing for a mom to spend all day with a toddler and then lead a small group. Just showing up is a sacrifice. Honor that sacrifice by making their involvement worth their time. Give them meaningful responsibility and relationships instead of busy work.
They don’t have as much time to prep as you do. Chris, one of our leaders, is a dad, husband, has a career, and coaches his sons archery team. All this while trying to pour into his neighbors and our middle schoolers. He loves to teach the word of God to middle schoolers. He does his best, but he doesn’t have 20 hours each week to put together a super amazing Bible study. Bless them by giving them the resources they need to succeed instead of making them struggle to find it on their own.
You will be amazed what they can do. I saw Russ in his element making tough decisions and solving difficult problems. It made me wonder if maybe I had underestimated his gifts and abilities. When a leader is a bit player in my story I don’t get to see them as stars in their own right. How can you best equip your leaders if all you know about them is what you see for an hour on a Wednesday night?
You ask leaders to come to your job and help you out. Is there a leader or parent that could take you to work with them? Ask them if you can. Tell them it’s an assignment from your senior pastor. It will help you appreciate your leaders in a new way.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]