About 6 years ago the middle school youth ministry at our church was a 1 1/2 man show. The 1/2 was our worship leader Erik and everything from tech, activity, message and set-up of the room was me. I had plenty of small group leaders and a few people to help me out with the worship portion of the ministry. But I utilized them as room decor more than ministers. Some of them left, a few of them stayed and eventually told me, “You don’t always have to be in control.”
It was a little shocking at first; however, the more I thought about what I was doing, the more I realized that I was doing too much. Not only that, but I was doing too much of the wrong stuff. In the end I felt like I had to be in control over everything.
As the leader of your youth ministry you need to steer the ship, and lead the troops towards the vision. But, that doesn’t always mean:
- Making The Decisions: While you might hold ultimate say over what happens in your ministry, it’s healthy to allow others to make certain decisions. Those decisions might be when to start the program to what order the message, activity and music flow for your ministry. When you entrust someone with decision making power, it allows the ministry to move when you are not always present.
- Having Creative Authority: You do not have perfect taste or perspective on what is quality. There are volunteers in your ministry who have artistic and visual backgrounds that can bring your ministry to a new level. Allow them to share their creative gifts with the music, activities and environments of your ministry.
- Working Within The Details: You might love numbers and data, but it can be a time sucker that prevents you from extending your true capacity. Allowing others to track expenses, growth and handle overall paperwork will allow you to spend more time on the relational aspects of ministry.
- Getting Your Hands Dirty: As a leader no task is beneath you; however, if you are constantly stacking chairs, sweeping floors and repairing that ping-pong table for the 100th time then you are missing out on a lot of ministry. Build a team that is willing to get their hands dirty. Just because you delegate it doesn’t mean you are ignoring the importance of the task. Just realize you need help.
Being a leader means knowing when to delegate and when to get into the trenches. That’s why you must always seek:
- Accountability: When you are in the trenches it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. Always have a group of people to call you out when you’ve taken too much control. Give those close to you the authority to point out where you need help and where you need to step up as a leader.
- Sabbath: When you are stressed, pushed and pulled it’s easy to grasp for control. The problem is you are acting out of desperation, which means a foggy mind. A Sabbath is not only time to enjoy with the Lord but also a time to refocus and clear your mind. If you are rested you can think clearly on where to give and what to take.
It’s a scary concept not to be in control. While you understand the importance of delegating and sharing responsibility, it can still be exhausting. Trust that the Lord has surrounded you with the right people. In the end when the responsibility is shared your ministry’s reach is much further.
What area of ministry do you struggle to share with your team?