A natural tendency for any leader—and people in general—is to get comfortable in routines, roles, and relationships. To keep your ministry’s perspective fresh, content relevant, and efforts fruitful, it’s important for leaders to engage in relationships with two types of people:
- Leaders from other ministries.
Strong relationships with other ministry leaders offers many advantages. When you connect in relationship with other ministry leaders you have the opportunity for:
- Accountability in areas of weakness.
- Encouragement and prayer through difficult ministry seasons.
- Gaining new ideas, perspectives, and insights.
- Combining ministry efforts on projects, events, or retreats.
- Sharing costs of leadership tools.
- Resource swapping of templates, books, kits, and printed materials.
Search for opportunities to connect with local leaders through social events, mutual friends, or by supporting or attending other ministries’ outreach efforts. Other leaders will appreciate your encouragement and support! Also try connecting with fellow leaders through local leadership networks and online leadership groups. While some networks are more specific in nature—based on gender, denomination, or age group—gleaning wisdom and experience from a variety of leaders will add depth and strength to your leadership skill set.
- Neighbors who don’t attend church.
A neighbor is anyone God brings into your life for a season—long or short. Co-workers, teachers from nearby schools, bankers, realtors, grocery store clerks, next-door neighbors, or folks down the street are all neighbors. In addition to extending Christ’s love to a world that desperately needs it, genuinely seeking opportunities to love others grows you as a leader in these areas:
- Compassion and grace deepen each time you engage with and pray for those who don’t yet know Jesus.
- Prejudices of those with different lifestyles are challenged and transformed.
- Your community’s actual needs—not simply those perceived—will be brought to light.
- Faith is challenged and grows in the moments you rely on the Holy Spirit to help you articulate hope, love, and joy when addressing another person’s needs, sorrows, or questions.
- Each time you extend an invitation to a barbeque, block party, small group, or church you become braver and bolder.
- Experiences outside church and ministry walls will stretch you to grow your ministry in more relevant ways.
When others watch your life—and they’re always watching—and they observe the beautiful fruit as a result of networking with various leaders and loving people outside church social circles, they’re encouraged to seek relationships outside their social circles as well. Be on guard against comfort and complacency in your roles, routines, and especially your relationships! Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Melinda Adair serves as the ladies’ ministry team leader at Kennewick Baptist Church in Washington and assists her husband, Cliff, in the youth department. She homeschools two of her three sons, blogs, and loves networking with other leaders.