I still remember the first student council election I took part in. 8th grade. We made speeches from the stage. I had friends draw posters. We all voted. And when I won, man, it was exhilarating to step into that leadership.
That was the first moment I realized I had a lot of ideas, loved learning how to make things better, and enjoyed leading others to do great things.
When I began following Jesus in college, I had this false belief that those leadership gifts I had developed and used so far were what would make me qualified to lead within the ministry context. But I was wrong.
Odds are, if you’re reading this, you have some sort of leadership gifting deep within you. Whether it’s upfront leading masses of people or behind a computer screen using your words to encourage, you probably have something deep in your soul that God wants to use.
But, unlike leadership in every other area of your life, ministry leadership doesn’t start with an engaging personality, brilliant ideas, or even a pretty social media page. If you want to lead in the ministry context, here’s 3 important leadership steps you need to take.
3 Leadership Steps
Spend time daily in God’s Word
This seems like a given, but it is not. When you are a strong leader, you are used to getting by on your own ideas, smarts, personality, and giftings. If you want to lead people in ministry, you must start by making sure every.single.idea. that runs through your head lines up with scripture. You must start by making sure God’s Word is the first priority or you will soon get burned out by the ministry life.
This is actually the first question I ask women who want to lead with me. In the past, a few who taken a year out of the spotlight and to focus on falling in love with God’s Word. Let me tell you, when they come back and say they are in love with God’s Word and are ready to lead now, I release everything I can to them.
Pray more than you talk
As leaders, we move fast and talk often. Ideas just seem to flow at times. But, before you get caught up with the creating, you must be willing to sit and be still before God. I love to ask the question “what does your prayer life look like?”. If your prayer life consists of fly by requests to God, you might need to take some time to develop a deeper communication. Ministry is about pointing people to Jesus so you must know His voice and commune with him on deep levels before you are qualified to lead others to do the same.
Believe the best about others….even when it is not reciprocated
Ministry is a weird thing. Everyone surrounding you will love God but also still struggle with sin. Which means, just like everywhere else where there is sin, there will be turmoil and struggles.
You won’t always agree with those in authority over you or those walking in ministry besides you. However, you have to learn to believe the best about them anyway. If you can’t, you will become bitter and lose heart. There will be times when it feels like you are being judged unfairly, silenced needlessly, or dismissed as trivial. And for the record, you will feel this in any job. But the difference in ministry is this is your community and your church. Your whole world revolves around this community. When people are hurtful towards you, you can’t escape and leave the work behind you at the office.
As a leader in ministry, you must be able to go to Jesus and let him heal those parts of you and enable you to give grace to those around you. Not everyone will believe the best in you. BUT, as a leader who’s very job is to help people know and follow Jesus, it is imperative that you learn to believe the best about others. Regardless of their words or actions.
Don’t be scared
God gave leadership abilities to you to use for his kingdom! Spend some time working on these 3 steps before stepping into leadership. Then ask God to give you this firm foundation as you begin to step into leadership within the ministry context.