I remember when I had my leadership development wake up call. I was fresh out of seminary working as an associate pastor at Pawleys Island Community Church. I was young, enthusiastic and thought I could do it all. But it wasn’t long before I was overwhelmed and overcommitted. I was responsible for weekend worship, midweek teaching, small groups, Sunday school, outreach, youth ministry and the summer children’s program (I had a slight case of Superman complex).
After a year and a half of this madness I told Cindy, “They’re going to fire me.” She told me I was crazy, the church loved me and there was no way they would get rid of me. So I explained, “Oh, they’re going to fire me, they just don’t know it yet!” I was juggling way too many responsibilities and was about to drop the ball with all of them. My enthusiasm and inability to lead through others had painted me into a corner and I was headed for trouble. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I wrote down the names of the volunteers who reported directly to me. I was shocked when I saw the list totaled 88 people.
God showed me two things in that moment: First, I needed to make leadership development a priority and second I needed a leadership development strategy. That night I decided to build a wall of protection around myself by choosing seven key leaders to oversee the various ministries. From that point on I started pouring into those leaders so they could pour into their teams. For the first time in my life I truly started doing leadership development and it saved my ministry.
I look back at those days and see 6 signs that I needed a wake up call.
- I was a doer not a developer
- Replacing myself wasn’t even on my radar
- Others leadership success threatened my sense of leadership security
- I gave people responsibility but not authority
- I had no intentional plan for developing or equipping leaders
- There was a severe shortage of leaders in our ministry
Do you see any of these signs in your ministry? Have you had your leadership development wake up call?