03 Sep 2019

The Joy of Leading

Scottie Ritzheimer

I recently had the opportunity to work directly with about 20 of our staff to help them set their goals so that they can have their best quarter at StartCHURCH. It was wonderful! 

Time and time again, I saw trepidation turn to enthusiasm and uncertainty into a crystal clear path forward. I could even see a physical transformation as their shoulders lifted, eyes widened, and smiles brimmed. More than anything, I was reminded of the sheer joy that comes from the privilege of leading others. And what a privilege it is.

Unfortunately, as leaders, it can be so easy to lose sight of the joy of leading. Our attention is drawn to fixing problems, putting out fires, completing our tasks, attending meetings, and even pursuing our goals. We get busy and then busier. In all that busyness we can begin to forget the people around us, or worse, we can begin to believe that they are the problem we need to solve. 

This is what happens in business, and all too often, it affects leaders in the church as well. I once heard a pastor say, “My church would be perfect if it weren’t for all these people.” If you’ve been in ministry long enough, I’m sure you have felt that way too. Some of you reading this may even be feeling this way right now. Let me offer you some hope.

A problem or a calling? 

Did you know that your frustrations can be a critical help in identifying not only what is wrong, but, more importantly, what your most deeply held values are? You see, as a pastor or ministry leader, you’ve likely struggled with people at some point. The reason that this is so prevalent is not because people are broken. The real reason is that you were called and equipped to take them from a place of brokenness to healing.

Don’t mistake people as problems to be solved when they are actually a calling to be fulfilled.

I’ll admit, this is much easier said than done. However, I’ve found in my life the joy of leading, the satisfaction of helping, and the reward of healing all come about when I approach people problems as people opportunities. Here are three ways that I’ve found help me to stay on my mission: leading well.

  1. Find out what matters to them.
    It all starts here. As leaders, we are action-oriented visionaries who are ready to take the next hill. Our charisma, enthusiasm, and passion draw people to us and to our vision.

    Once we’ve drawn them in, it is also important for us to take the necessary time to step back and find out what matters to them as well. What are they good at? What are they passionate about? What is their God-given mission?

  2. Find out how you can equip them.
    Having put them under your leadership, God is giving you the opportunity to equip them for the mission He is birthing in them. You have the gift of vision and clarity, and you can put it to use in their lives to bring their vision and clarity to light. How does their mission tie in with yours? Or, how can you send them out and launch them into their own calling?

  3. Call them up.
    Sometimes as leaders, we are so afraid of problems, failures, or division that we actually push people down. We create boxes or rules. In Jesus’ time, each Rabbi had a yoke. His yoke was a set of rules and guidelines he created in addition to and based on his interpretation of the scriptures. This is why Jesus said, “My burden is easy, and my yoke is light.” Jesus, the ultimate leader, routinely held his disciples accountable not to a set of rules or behaviors, but instead to a higher view of themselves, to the belief that they would do even greater works than His. His final commission is the greatest calling up of any leader at any time. 

    “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

As a leader, called by God, the real difference you make is in the impact you have on the hearts and minds of those you lead. 

Now, it’s your turn

If you are a leader now, I hope you find courage in these words to once again take hold of the joy of leading. Take the time to find out what matters to your team and to your congregation. Help them find their calling and equip them richly. Then, call them up. Encourage them to take in the fullness of what God has for them, and uniquely them.

If you are not yet a leader, but you feel your heart coming alive as you read these words,  I would encourage you to prayerfully consider what God is calling you to in this next season. It may be to lead a prayer group or a small group or become more engaged in your church. It may even be to start a new church or ministry.

Whatever the case, we’re here to help each step of the way. Feel free to give our office a call at 877-494-4655 and speak with one of our church planting specialists. We would love to hear your story and partner with you in pursuing the call of God on your life!

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Raul Rivera

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