Volunteers in children’s and youth ministry are often very humble people. Let’s face it. If you want accolades, there are easier ways to be the center of attention in ministry. So whenever we mention the concept of all Christians being leaders at a workshop, we usually get quite a few people denying they are leadership material.
The reality is that in a spiritual way all Christians should be leaders. We should be leading people to Christ and in growing spiritually. With young people, we should also be leading them to find the gifts God gave them to serve Him and helping them find ways to develop and use their gifts.
When we are so humble we deny our leadership possibilities, we need to realize we may also be hurting our students. Accepting responsibility for the ways we can lead them spiritually – by sharing our knowledge of what God wants for them and from them – is in the best interest of our students and ultimately of our own personal spiritual growth.
Why? If you have ever been a part of any organization or business for very long, you have probably experienced some type of dysfunctional leadership. How did those leaders make you feel? Did they help you grow? Did they help the organization or business grow in healthy ways? Probably not.
Unfortunately, most leaders have very little training in how to be a healthy, effective leader. Even Christian leaders (who have God’s wisdom at their fingertips in the Bible) often have poor leadership habits. We need to spend more time developing strong, godly, healthy leadership skills in all Christians – especially those ministering to children and teens.
If you want to study healthy leadership from a Christian perspective, someone will probably suggest the books of John Maxwell. He has a new book coming out next week – Leader Shift – which I was given an advanced copy to review.
I usually place tabs in books that have wisdom I believe will help me or others in their ministry. This book was full of tabs when I finished reading it. (I’m not generous with my tabs. Most books I read end up with no tabs.) Maxwell covers what he believes are important shifts leaders need to make to move from unhealthy, toxic leadership to healthy, growth oriented leadership.
While he writes from a Christian perspective, Maxwell doesn’t point to a lot of scriptures. Which is fine, because most of his advice I do believe he could have found scriptures to support had he tried. There were a couple of places where I believe his advice is more applicable to a business than a ministry – mainly references to everything can be changed and nothing is perfect – which to me seems to ignore the absolute truths of God’s commands and wisdom. Those truths are eternal and meant for every time and place. I think as a Christian there will be times when we have to say something is not open for change, because change would mean disobeying God.
Otherwise, this book is phenomenal! I wish more church leaders and volunteers would read it and incorporate the principles in how they work within the church. It would improve many of the unhealthy and sometimes ungodly habits we have allowed to creep into church leadership.
I’m keeping this as one of my reference books that I suggest to those to whom I minister. Read it as if it were written for a business and then use all of the great material that will help your ministry – while ignoring the few places it might make you think you can change God’s commands. (In all fairness to Maxwell, he never claims this book is for only church leaders. Had he thought about it, he may have added a caveat or two as he did one other time in the book.) I think you will find whether you are a ministry leader or a volunteer, it can help you be a better, wiser, healthier and ultimately more godly and effective leader.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.