This is the 5th & last post in a series of posts about critical leadership lessons I’ve learned as a Children’s Pastor. These lessons are in no particular order, but you can see the previous four here:
- Lesson #1: The Most Important Person In Your Ministry Is . . . YOU!
- Lesson #2: Being A Children’s Pastor Is Not About The Kids
- Lesson #3: Ministry Happens Best In The Context of Relationships…Period
- Lesson #4: Everything Rises & Falls On Leadership
Critical Children’s Ministry Lesson #5:
It is critical for you, as a leader, to think beyond your own job description.
It is very easy to get completely wrapped up in our own little world of children’s ministry. It’s a complex world. It’s a demanding world. It’s where we are comfortable and have the greatest sense of meaning.
But it is not the only thing happening in the church. And we are not the only leaders with a vision. In fact, our vision MUST be aligned with that of the senior leadership of the church (if it’s not, you need to get it aligned or find a new place to serve).
Here are a few thoughts that I’ve learned are important about thinking beyond your own job description:
Support your pastor.
Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when you agree with him. Not because you want a raise. Simply support your pastor. This means you carry their vision and verbalize it positively. It means you defend them (appropriately) and disable negative talk. It means you actively seek ways of encouraging and engaging with them. It does NOT mean you can’t seek clarification or greater understanding or more support, etc. – you just need to do this in private and with appropriate respect for their position.
Engage your co-workers.
Their are other people on staff who are just as passionate about their ministry as you are about yours! Never diminish what they do. Don’t seek to “out-do” or undermine them. Instead, view and approach them as partners. And keep doing that – even when they don’t reciprocate. 🙂
Network with peers.
There are few better ways to learn how to do what you do better than learning from others who are in the same trenches you are. So broaden your network, both locally (yes, call the church down the street, even if it’s not the same affiliation as yours!) and nationally (yes, that might mean you need to create a Twitter account, or create connections via Facebook or some other way, like investing in a trip to a conference. Here’s what you gain through networking: education and encouragement. And don’t discount the fact that it goes both ways – you have a tremendous opportunity to educate and encourage others who might just need exactly what YOU have to offer.
Learn from mentors.
I have life mentors that go back to my days at my first church (Skyline, under John Maxwell). These include John (not personally any longer, but I’m the first in line when he publishes something), my former Executive Pastor Dan Reiland, and my former mentor Tim Elmore. I have learned TONS about leading effectively in Children’s Ministry from my friends Craig Jutila, Chris Yount-Jones & Dale Hudson (among others) who I consider peers, but also mentors. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”, or accept the fact that we all need to learn more. Identifying and learning from mentors is a great way to do this.
Thinking beyond your own job description should not be intimidating – in fact, it is empowering, enabling you to grow as a leader and, as a result, more effectively grow your ministry.