December 20, 2016
By Amy Thompson
When we turn to scripture, we find numerous examples of God calling persons into leadership roles. The roles range from individuals involved in one-on-one ministry to specific situations to leading the masses. Ultimately, God calls all of us to lead. In the Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell references Genesis 1:26-31 as evidence that we are all born to lead.
He highlights some points based on this scripture.
- Being made in God’s image means we were created to lead.
- God commanded both male and female to have dominion so leadership is not gender specific.
- God created everything for a purpose so all of us are to serve one another in our areas of gifts.
- Leadership is best exercised in your area of giftedness.
In the local church, January brings a time of new leadership and new individuals serving on committees within the life of the church. Often times within the life of the local church, leadership is often related to time spent in meetings. Some of us carry icky feelings with us when we think about meetings.
The vibes from meetings include: endless hours, topics discussed and no decisions made, worries of disagreements, leaving with the feeling of not accomplishing anything. While these vibes may be present for some, the work of the church can also be life changing for individuals in our church and in our communities if we stay focused on the mission.
Start your meetings with a question – Where have you seen God at work recently? This will set the tone and remind everyone why you are present. As you serve in positions, committees or with projects in your church, identify how you can focus on the mission and vision as decisions are made. Our human side will creep in but our focus must remain on the mission of the church. Include prayer in your meetings. When making ministry decisions, time should be given for prayer and discernment before making decisions to ensure that decisions are grounded in God, not ourselves. As you lead in your ministry area, consider how you will strive for conversations that promote listening to one another and respect for differing opinions.
As a leader in your church, have courage to make decisions that support the mission of the church not the popular opinions. Celebrate the fruitfulness of ministries in your church. Share the stories of how ministries are impacting the lives of individuals. In all of this, do not forget to nurture your own spiritual growth.
If you are someone not officially serving in a position within your church, you are still called to leadership by God. God calls every believer to lead others so they may discover a relationship with Jesus Christ. We all have a place at the Lord’s table. Embrace your place at the table.
If you are serving in a new leadership position, you can find resources on the website for Discipleship Ministries of the UMC. You will find access to videos or webinars about various positions. You will find articles outlining duties as well as links to books about specific positions. As you build your knowledge base around your position, remember to consult with your pastor and Nominations and Leadership Development Team to understand the expectations within your local church. Visit www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/church-leaders