Yesterday I had a chance to sit down with some great leaders and get some quality insights on leadership. In youth ministry we have a microcosm of the larger Church, which means good Youth Ministry should contain good leadership. It is a conversation we don’t have much because it falls on the side of praxis rather than theology. The conversation yesterday was brilliant, Scott Ridout shared some leadership insights that are valuable for anyone in ministry anywhere.
As a leader we sit in the middle of a 4-way tug-o-war. On each side there are tendency’s that we will show in our leadership based on our giftings and skills. Within leadership we have 4 conversations taking place systems, goals, problems and idea. Depending on our giftings and skills we will lean towards particular conversations.
Managers – All about Procedure. Can confuse activity with productivity, they can get lost in details. A manager is going to focus on Systems and Details. Their vision is based in the moment, on the day and they are focused primarily on the tasks at hand, they show an aptitude for defining reality but struggle with defining pathways to preferred futures.
Implementer – All about Process, can confuse process with productivity. Movement and progress are two different things. Systems all have shelf-life. An implementer will look at systems and goals and establish pathways to move people to new places. They have an aptitude for defining paths and have the ability to understand reality and move people on. Implementers struggle to catch a vision for preferred futures and move people towards them.
Visionaries – Frustrated about Pace, can confuse people easily, will become bored easily. A visionary is looking to preferred futures and pointing out a simple path to get people there, they lack the ability to adequately define reality or create the realistic paths. They do have a grasp and a direction for preferred futures.
Creatives – Become bored easily. The difference between a creative and a visionary is execution. Creatives like to dream and struggle to create paths to dream destinations. Creatives like to invent an idea to solve a problem but have no desire to execute the solution. Many high level Christian Authors and creatives who tour conferences fall into this category. They have many solutions, but rarely attempt them.
Which leads us to our conversation about the role of a leader in a Church. A leader has 3 primary functions;
- define reality (know where your at?)
- dream a preferred future (what if? where could we go?)
- design the path (set up a course for you to get there.)
This conversation is important because in leadership we are trying to accomplish something. In Youth Leadership I am trying to develop prepared adults who love Jesus. Because of this I should be regularly assessing reality, charting a course and casting vision for a preferred future. As organizations go along in time, they become more complex. Often vision can get clogged up and lost in complexity. Vision and mission drifts and leaks over time. So as leaders we need to constantly assess the vision and maintain the mission of our groups.
Be aware that as your group grows both in time and numerically people can lose track of the vision and the mission of your group. Your goal as leaders is to help people progress along a path to that preferred future.
Here are some helpful questions that will be critical for your ministry to help guard the vision of your ministry;
1) Make a list of all the processes and tasks that you do. Does this get you to the vision, the best process is the one you can accomplish in one step. Simplest is always the best. If the idea doesn’t get you to the vision, then you have to say no.
2) Is the event/program and destination or a pathway? (If the destination is not your vision or end goal it probably needs to be shelved. Often times we want to create a pathway to our preferred future, not a cul-de-sac alternate reality)
3) If this event was successful, how would we know? (What are your KPI’s for success? How do you measure the effectiveness of the ministry, is the event achieving its mission and goal?)
4) Does this event/program make competing energy or sideways movement? (You only have a certain amount of help, is this program taking resources from other more important areas. It may be a good idea, but if it is stealing resources from a critical ministry…bench it.)
5) Is it reproducible? (The issue isn’t that the ministry is personality driven? Can it continue if the person leaves?)
Having this conversation regularly with your leadership in your ministry will help maintain a clear course. Mission drifts so you have to cast vision regularly so people know what we are trying to achieve. The end goal is seeing people come to Christ and grow in their faith, that requires a path to that destination, cast that vision regularly.
When assessing your activities in your ministry here is some helpful insights…
IPOD – Asking these questions
I – Initial things, what are the essentials for our ministry
P – Priority, what are the next steps, what are the things that would add to our ministry.
O – Optional, enhance, speed-up, specific
D – Don’t, why are we doing it now? End it!