Less is more when it comes to church leadership
John was enjoying a rare night at home with his family. It was unusual for him, since typically he was attending meetings at the church a minimum of two nights a week. And then there was Wednesday night dinner, which he also helped with, plus other suddenly called meetings requested by the pastor.
The phone rang. “Hello, this is John.”
“Hi John, it’s Samantha. Our Nominations and Leadership Committee was meeting tonight and your name came up for a unanimous choice for the Chairperson of Worship for next year. We really believe you would be better at this than anyone else we could think of, John, and so I am calling to see if you would accept this position.”
“I appreciate your call, Samantha. What is involved with this position? Do you have a job description and clear information of how much time it would involve for someone in this position?”
“Those are great questions, John. I know you are a very thoughtful person. And this position really makes a great difference in the quality of worship in the church. There’s really not that much to the position – working with Pastor Susan and occasionally meeting with the Worship Committee. And I know you are already a regular attendee at the monthly Church Council meeting with some of your other positions. Remember we sat together last month?”
“What about the other questions, Samantha? How much time and a clear job description?”
“Yes, John. I will be getting a job description for you. I am sure Pastor Susan has one. And this should not take much of your time. You are such an experienced and awesome leader.”
“I’m glad you called Samantha, because I wanted to have you all on Nominations Committee remove me from my present positions.”
“I’ll be getting the information to you John, but two things I need to share with you. First of all, we started and ended our meeting with prayer, and we asked the Lord to bless those names we came up with for the open positions. And as you probably know, we are having Charge Conference in only a couple of weeks from now. This was our second meeting of Nominations. Would it be possible for us to go ahead and put your name down for this and then if you decided not to do it, we could get someone else? That way we would have the report ready for Charge Conference.”
“I’ll go ahead and say ‘No,’ Samantha. I have really felt led by the Lord to do outreach ministry for the past two years, but had no time left during my week since I was already serving as Lay Leader and Chairperson of the Finance Committee. I want you all to take me off those for next year so I can devote my time to outreach ministry.”
“Oh, John. That would not be good. We had planned on you keeping Lay Leader and Chair of Finance at least another year. You know there’s just no one else who would take those or could do those as well as you. Besides that, we have our Charge Conference coming up so soon.”
Questions for reflection & discussion:
1) What is incredibly wrong with the above scenario on Leadership, which is repeated in too many of our churches?
2) What is the difference between “being persuaded to do something” and “being called by God to be in a leadership position” at church?
3) How important was prayer in the decision to ask John to become the Chairperson of worship?
4) What was significant about John saying, “I’ve really felt led by the Lord to do outreach ministry for the past two years but have had no time left during my week, since I was already serving as Lay Leader and Chairperson of the Finance Committee.” How can we avoid
having anyone else repeat John’s frustrating experience?
One of the major truths we are seeing confirmed again and again across churches is: Less Is More In Leadership. Churches may have 35 names on the official Church Council and no one doing consistent Outreach for the purpose of loving others unconditionally and building friendships. We can free up a number of our top leaders to graduate into new ministries, such as Small Groups, Prayer Ministry, Laity Led Outreach, and Worship Ministry Teams.
I would love to talk with you all about how you can actually increase life-transforming ministries in your church by using the principle of, “Less Is More In Leadership.” May the Lord bless you!
Rev. Jim W. Hollis is the founder and Executive Director of Proactive Ministries. He is appointed as a General Evangelist of the UMC. His ministry has worked with more than 900 congregations across 40 states since 1993. You may contact Jim at Offices: (770) 803-9988; Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Facebook (Jim W. Hollis).