When I was a kid, Stretch Armstrong was all the rage. Who would have thought that a stretchy figurine would grab the attention of 10-year old boys for hours on end? This was obviously before the days of iPads and iPhones.
My friends and I made it our mission to find Mr. Armstrong's breaking point for weeks. Fortunately for him...he never did break. However, we found that days of pulling Stretch Armstrong and leaving him tied up in weird configurations caused him to no longer go back to his original shape. Eventually, my Stretch Armstrong looked more like a stringy blob with a face instead of a person. He was stretched beyond recognition.
As church leaders, we are often stretched for weeks in our respective ministries. Things like sermon prep, scheduling volunteers, worship rehearsals, outreach, and just plain old manual labor are all part of the job in most cases. Yes it's a labor of love...but we do run the risk of being stretched to our limits to resemble something we don't want to.
Being a better leader is something we are all striving for. Nobody wakes up and says..."gee I hope I really drop the ball today and let my church family down". That's just crazy! Despite this, we as leaders can embody the definition of insanity week after week in our respective ministries.
We do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. We try repeatedly to do things all by ourselves in hopes that "this time it will actually work".
Sure, the methods we use may change...but there's always one common denominator that never changes that is the problem: US
Just because we are the leaders of the [fill in the blank] ministry or the head pastor of [fill in the blank] church, it doesn't mean we are the person that's supposed to lead every single little thing. In fact, sometimes it's best to step out of the way on certain occasions and let another person shine. Why?
It gives us a break
It brings fresh ideas to the table
It trains up the leaders of tomorrow
For pastors, it means you do things like have one of your upcoming pastors lead a sermon series during the summer or tag team a special series that they may have personal experience in. For someone like me that's a worship leader, it means I step aside and let others lead out a week, share scripture, or give a word of encouragement. If you're a Youth Pastor, that may mean you challenge some of the young adults or college students to being more than just a summer trip chaperone, but a big brother or big sister to your students.
The best leaders make other leaders.
I heard this a long time ago by a pastor who was filling in for the head pastor. Ironic isn't it? It's as true today as it was back then. It's the ultimate level of humility.
This is the type of humility that will Not get you special recognition. It can be downright terrifying.
When we temporarily step aside to let others lead, we can become filled with doubt in our own leadership ability. We've all had those thoughts race through our minds that "if so-in-so is better than me...they may get my job!" The fear of being outdone by someone else under my leadership has personally caused me to withhold opportunities to those I was mentoring. Thankfully, those moments were short lived as the Holy Spirit has a funny way of exposing our sin through God's Word. But that's me, I'm sure you've never had this happen to you! [Insert Sarcasm Here]
Stretching our leadership looks different in every ministry...but it all ends with one commonality: Humility.
When we humble ourselves before the Lord, it causes us to elevate Him. When we elevate Him, we elevate the church. When we elevate the church...God is magnified again. ??