Leading Within Your Role
I’m wired to lead.
I’m a Type A with a healthy dose of “brash” with a dash of “bulldoze” mixed in. I like to make leadership decisions when I see problems, and I’ll work my tail off to make certain things happen. When I see issues or situations that involve or affect my ministry context, I want to jump in and fix it.
The problem is doing so within the boundaries of my given role.
Now I can go talk to my senior pastor and pitch why and maybe how we need to address this issue. But what happens when he don’t feel the same urgency I feel? And what about the issues that I know I can handle on my own? I’ve got 11+ years of youth ministry experience to draw from. Surely I can’t be completely off my rocker right?
When I bring up issues that don’t get heard the way I think they should, I tend to walk away frustrated, and with a fair amount of tension welling up in me. I get frustrated that my “leadership voice” wasn’t valued or used. I attempt to try and have upwards influence. But really how much can I expect to have? I’m just the youth guy, right?
But, over the years I have come to view this a little differently. I’ve often wondered how much energy have I expelled focusing on things that are outside my ministry responsibility? How often have I become distracted because of issues I want to solve that really don’t need solving by me? How many students have I not been able to meet with because I was focused on issues out of my control?
This isn’t a pitch to not care about your church. But it is a serious challenge to look at our job descriptions with eyes wide open. It is a challenge to apply a key word for our jobs: submission.
I’ve seen several friends move from youth ministry to a senior pastor role. Each one of them has echoed the same thought, “If most youth pastors only knew half the stuff we have to deal with.” Those friends whom I respect and trust know what they’re talking about. What they need are people to stand by them and support them, not second-guess them.
I know that my desires to lead and to address the needs I see will always be there. But the best thing I can do for my church is be the best youth pastor I can be. That means knowing my role and doing it well. I need to be accountable to what’s in front of me and not what I go looking for.
I believe in have upward influence. I believe in being a team player. I believe in supporting the leadership that has been placed above me. I support being proactive and not reactive with ministry for people. I want to be a leader who is a catalyst for change . . .
and nothing is keeping me from doing any of this in the role I’ve been hired for.