“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.”—1 Peter 5:2-3
One of the keys to servant leadership is modeling appropriate behavior and attitudes to those you’re leading. Here are a handful of critical ways that you, as a leader of volunteers in ministry, can mentor others and establish positive discipleship relationships.
Model team. Don’t do it on your own. If you’re traveling, take someone with you. If you’re tackling a big project, find others to help. Take time to meet regularly with teammates to talk about your next steps in ministry and in your spiritual journey. Provide organizational and spiritual leadership for the ministry. Ministry isn’t something you do on your own. Implement a team-based approach.
Model serving. No, you shouldn’t do everything. It’s problematic when the ministry leader is the only person who does the ministry. Model serving for all volunteers. It inspires others to serve when they see leaders get into the trenches from time to time. As the leader of a ministry, you’re already doing a lot, but are you serving in ways that serve as an example to others?
Model balance. People need to see good examples of balancing family, work, social, recreational, and spiritual lives. Too many members of leadership in growing churches are burned out because they’ve failed to make space in their lives for rest and renewal. Ministry is a marathon. Though there may be seasons in which you must sprint, they should be the exception. Begin modeling balance by observing a day of rest each week. (Sunday doesn’t count for many ministry leaders!)
Model outreach. One of the challenges of being involved in ministry is often a decreased interaction with people who don’t yet know Jesus. If most of your time is spent at church, you’ll need to intentionally create opportunities to hang out with “normal” people. Take time to build relationships and share life with people who don’t attend your church.
Though not all of us will ever walk the runway, we can all be supermodels if we imitate Jesus and model team, serving, balance, and outreach in our leadership roles. Commit to leading others by your good example.
Adapted from Simply Strategic Volunteers: Empowering People for Ministry by Tony Morgan and Time Stevens (Group Publishing).