A couple of years ago, our church sent a group of adults and students on a week-long mission trip. It was the first time that a trip took place under my leadership that I didn’t lead. Over the years I have become very comfortable in the leader position. I have led many, many trips; camping, summer camp, bike rides, hikes, mission trips, etc. So when I take a step back to let someone else lead, I have to remind myself, I am NOT the only leader!
I think it’s hard for any leader to turn the reigns over to someone else without having certain expectations. But what we have to remember is, not everyone will lead like we do. And despite whatever amount of experience and know-how you might have, when someone else leads, it’s okay that they do it in a way that is a little different than you!
I want to share with you three thoughts I have that will help us think about how we let others lead.
My Way is Not the ONLY Way.
When you are the leader, and responsible for all that ministry does, you develop a way of doing things that works for you and the ministry. For instance, one of my ministries participated in a Christian music festival each summer. The trip involved a significant amount planning, preparation, and coordination. There was the sleeping in tents, cooking of meals, management of resources, and oversight of the group while at the festival. It was one of our largest events. After a couple of years, we developed a pretty solid process for getting ready for the trip. It was what worked for me as leader. After leaving that ministry, the trip continued for a few years under the direction of my formal volunteer leadership team. At one point, I met up with my old group at the same festival while I was working with a different group. To save costs, we decided to shared the site, food, and experience. While there, I noticed that a lot of what I had developed was still being used. But, I also noticed a number of things that were different, maybe even better.
My way of doing things is not the only way of doing things. When we allow others to lead, we must let go of the thought that says, “I Know Better.” Those placed into the leadership role must be allowed to lead according to who they are and how they are wired for leadership. Sure, they’re not going to do things just like you, and that’s okay! If God has equipped them to lead, he will let them lead, and so should you! Expect them to do things differently. And as long as the goals and outcomes are the same, encourage your leaders to lead in ways that best suit them. We’re not making a bunch of “Mini-Me’s” to work with our students. We are to be equipping our leaders to lead according to their personality and strengths.
Letting others lead is important to the health of our ministries. We need others to lead. We should want others to lead! So let’s put others into places of leadership.
Written by Jay Higham.