Friday, May 13, 2011

Leading By Encouragement

Leadership is a fascinating study. All of us want to be better leaders. When I was younger I thought there was only one way to do things, my way. The older and wiser I become I have come to understand there is more than one way to do things. That’s also true with leadership. There are different ways or styles of leadership. One of my favorite ways to lead volunteers is to lead by encouragement. Three things I have learned as a children’s ministry leader are: 
1. People need to be needed. 2. People need to be helped to the next level. 3. People respond to encouragement!

If people respond to encouragement, we must learn to lead by encouragement. How do we do this?

1. Realize God has gifted people to help you. Ephesians 4:8 says, “When he (Jesus) ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” Jesus has ascended, and every person in your church is part of mankind. The way I read this verse, every Christian has at least one gift to use in serving others, glorifying God, and building up the Body of Christ. So far I have yet to meet a person who couldn’t do something in ministry. Let others participate in the ministry. Make room for helpers. God gives us what we make room for. You can’t lead by encouragement if you are insecure. Don’t be threatened by others’ gifts, talents and abilities. Insecurity is based on the lie, “God has not placed you where you are!”

2. Believe in people. I believe God equipts those he calls. None of us know as much about something when we first begin doing it. Experience makes a difference. It’s harder to believe in new volunteers. But that’s a risk that I’ve learn makes a difference. I am so glad some of the leaders I’ve served took a chance on me. We must do the same for others, take a chance. I have discovered that people will accept correction better when they know you believe in them. Let others know they can do what you’ve asked them to do. If God has placed a call, a desire, an assignment on your life to do for Him, then He believes you can do it! If He believes you can do it, who are you to tell Him you can’t?

3. Communicate your love and care for those you are leading. Be a friend to your volunteers. I know what you are thinking. “I don’t have that much time to be friends with all my volunteers.” I don’t either but I make time to show myself friendly. Rejoice with them and cry with them. Get involved in their life every chance you have. Show an interest in them and their big picture. It always pays to say thanks and to show thanks. Watch your workers and catch them doing things right. Support your volunteers and be their biggest cheerleader.

It’s your choice to choose to be an encourager! Yes I want to lead by example, yes I want to lead by vision but everyday I ask Jesus to help me to be the kind of leader who leads by encouragement!

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