This year, I took on the position of Children’s Ministry Leader. In some ways, this feels like nothing that special at all. Pastors and worship leaders are the important ones at church after all, yes? Yet I stand where I have always stood: I think Children’s Ministry is one of the most important ministries at church. Children are so important.
As I have stepped into this position and role, I have thought about being a good leader a lot. Because the thing is, some people are better leaders than others. But we all can grow in this area. So what is a good leader like? What qualities does a good leader possess? These are some qualities that I think are essential for a leader to have to lead well.
The good leader needs to lead. There is a difference between being a boss and being a leader. A boss tells others what to do. A leader shows others what to do by example. And the good leader truly wants to be a leader, not a boss.
So to lead well, we need to lead by example. This means that I teach Sunday School, and I try to position myself to teach every group every now and then. This way I know what teaching these groups of children looks like. I also get a better idea of the struggles and blessings that come. And on Sundays, if at all I can, I like to go up to those who were teaching and ask how their time went. This gives space for raising up concerns, for discussing the hard things, and for sharing the sweet moments.
What I have found in these months, is that my presence makes a difference. Whether it is to talk with the parents about what they hope and wish. Or whether it is to talk with those who teach Sunday school, those who pour into this ministry. My presence makes a difference — for me, for the big people (the parents and teachers, that is), and for the small people.
For God to use us, we need to be available. And we are only available if we are present.
2. The Good Leader Prays and Gives Thanks.
We know, as believers, that prayer should be the way we cover the road before us. Whatever is before us, we need to pray. Not because God cannot act if we don’t pray. But rather because in prayer, our hearts turn toward God.
To be honest, I have been blessed with a great team. There are times when we are stretched for various reasons, and so it is not always easy. But I think it is essential for me to realize that I have been blessed with a great team of people. It might not always be like this. Therefore, I give thanks to the Lord for His blessing. I give thanks for these people, for this ministry, and for those people we get to minister to.
With a heart of thanksgiving, it is easy to turn to God in prayer. I realize He is with us, and He is working in us and through us. Still for every Sunday, I pray for those serving. I encourage them to reach out with their prayer requests. And then I make sure to pray for them — whether it is personal or for their upcoming service. I want to, as a leader, to lift my people and leave them in the hands of God.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
3. The Good Leader Listens.
Whether it is the people we minister to or the people we minister with, we need to listen. To the good and the bad. The concerns and suggestions. The criticism and ideas. All of these are valuable, and we need to listen for ourselves to grow and for our ministry to grow.
That being said, not all things that come our way are true. Some criticism isn’t justified. Some ideas just won’t work out. To be a good leader, we don’t need to say yes to everything. We don’t need to take everything to heart. But we do need to listen.
4. The Good Leader Takes Their Relationship with God Seriously.
This one, I find, is the most important one. To lead others, we must follow God’s leading. And this can only happen if we have a good, healthy relationship with the Lord.
To take care of that relationship, we need to be in the Word daily. We need to pray daily. But we also need to rest. This one can be a difficult one for me at times. I tend to do quite a lot, and leave little time for rest. But resting is crucial for our well-being, and if we are worn out, we won’t lead well. So take your relationship with the Lord seriously. See your need for Him; but also see your need for rest. In my case, I try to have one Sunday a month where I am not serving. That Sunday I can just come and be fed, which is good for my soul.
This also means being in fellowship with other believers. There are many commands in the New Testament that include the phrase “one another.” Therefore, to stay true to God’s Word and those commands, we need to be in fellowship with others. This often doesn’t happen if we are set out to do everything by ourselves.
Taking our relationship with God seriously also means recognizing and confessing our sins where needed. Please do that. Leaders are people, just like everyone else. Leaders sin just like everyone else.
5. The Good Leader Walks Humbly.
For any and all of these previous points to actually work out, the good leader needs to walk humbly. We can’t accomplish these in our own power. It is only God who can work these things in and through us. Pride is the one sin that destroys immensely without making a sound. That is because we don’t recognize pride in ourselves. And we definitely aren’t receptive when others confront us about being proud.
So we need to confess our sins — not just to God but to others as well. We also need to be transparent in our ministry. So let’s tell others what is hard. Let’s tell others what we don’t know or what we cannot do. Then let others use their skills, gifts, talents and wisdom to help us in our ministry and service.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)