In your leadership journey, there will certainly be times of uncertainty. How will you grow your ministry? What week of camp will we attend? How will you get enough volunteers for next Sunday? Not knowing all of the answers is okay, but in all cases, you must have clarity when leading your team.
The word “risk” can send shivers up your spine or can invigorate your curiosity. These steps toward “what’s possible” can, at times, feel impossible. Whether it’s a financial investment, a new ministry, or a different model for your team, risks ultimately mean change. In leadership, responsible risk taking looks a lot less like gambling and a lot more like calculated chess moves.
As a leader, you must be willing to guide your people into the unknown. Not on a careless journey, but one with promise to benefit all. Though the path will be new for your footsteps, as the leader, you must be willing to forge the trail. With risk comes both uncertainty and possibility; we must face the risk before us with both hands open wide. As you begin this endeavor, consider the following:
1. Count the cost
Consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of your possibilities. Make a pros/cons list. Sit down for discussion over coffee with people you trust. Consult your mentors and teammates. And most importantly, seek the Lord’s guidance through meditation and prayer.
2. Make your move
Once you’ve decided to move forward on this new road, set your eyes on what lies ahead. Map out a game plan and stay faithful to your calculations. Heed not the words of naysayers and unbelievers. With peace from the Lord, take each stride in confidence.
3. Stay focused
A bare bank account, a tough day, or words of opposition will be discouraging. Resolve to stay resilient. When pursuing the call God has for you, continue to run your race. Face the obstacles as they come and move on to your mountaintop.
Leaders are seldom remembered for simply what they intended to do. Leaders take action. Taking risks will not always mean success, or improvement, or reward. But, without taking that chance, you’ll never know what could have been. Don’t meekly evaluate your choices. Recognize your goal, and take that leap of faith!
As I notice the leaves changing outside and the trees as they seem to shift their stance, I posture my heart to a place of quiet thankfulness. In this new season I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on those who invested in me in different seasons of my life. By the Lord’s grace, I was surrounded by some who loved the Lord and showed His love to me. I was steadily demonstrated the Lord’s character as it flowed so freely from these folks, even in the midst of the everyday. Today I lift prayers of gratitude and sing a song of thanksgiving to our Father because of this crowd.
Remembering the people who sang their verse, no matter how big or small, into my song fills me with overwhelming gratitude. I think of the monotonous mornings spent by my faithful nursery teacher; I remember the countless hours poured out by my youth pastor who later baptized me; I remember my college basketball coaches who instilled in me the love of the game and the greater value found in serving Christ; I think back on the memories shared with my first CentriKid camp director who took time to show me more than just how to solve logistical issues; I rejoice in the patient moments shared at the lakeside or on beaten-down field path with my grandfathers. These folks didn’t just pass their time, they shared with me their life. In both times of great excitement and in the dull day-to-day, these people showed me Jesus.
Use Your 60 through Thanksgiving
At CentriKid, we challenge leaders to “Use Your 60” by making the most of every moment with their kids. Why waste even one opportunity? I’m grateful for those in my life who saw the value in investing in me. These folks were heroes in hindsight. I’m sure few felt their importance in the moment of impact, but the waves of their intentional moments are felt today and into eternity. Let me encourage you, leaders. You may not feel like you’re bringing life-change in any given moment, but what you do in these moments adds up. Take for granted not a single one!
Spend a few moments today thanking the Lord for those who invested in you. Reach out to these heroes and remind them of their significance in your life. Ask yourself how you’re spending your moments. Time is fleeting, friends! In an overflow of thankfulness, be challenged to “Use Your 60” and make the most of every moment today.
Leading your team, whether it be three people or 300 hundred people, is huge. As Christian leaders, we want to serve Christ faithfully and steward the opportunities He has given us well, but how do we do this best?
I’ve learned (and am still learning) that one of the primary ways to lead your team spiritually is through prayer.
Looking at the life of Jesus, consider just a few of the times we see Christ pray to the Father. We see Jesus praying in the solitude of the wilderness (Luke 4 and 5), praying for guidance and help in the garden (Matthew 26), and praying for His disciples as He knows His time is soon drawing to an end (John 17) .
We serve a Father who is faithful to listen to His children. Scripture shows us this —
1 John 5:14 says, “Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (HCSB)
As we step out in leading others, may we remember our God who never fails and may we, in humility and with boldness, go to our Father in prayer. In leading your team spiritually consider these ways to pray:
PRAY FOR THEM. Before the throne, with genuine devotion, intercede on your team’s behalf. We have a Father who listens to the prayers of His children. Knowing this, create a routine to continually pray with your particular team in mind. No matter the circumstance, you can always remember your tribe in a loving, Christ-honoring way when you go to the Lord.
PRAY WITH THEM. It’s important to be a leader who prays with your team. Your team should be comfortable to pray with you and quick to come to you with their needs. Be mindful to create an atmosphere where authentic prayer is paramount.
PRAY OVER THEM. As the shepherd of your flock — be it an entire congregation or a volunteer group of four — you should regularly pray over them. This means to visibly, boldly, honestly pray over them, standing at their sides. Lead your team in group prayer and ask that the Lord would guide you all to walk together in faithful obedience to Him.
PRAY FOR YOURSELF. Remember that before you can lead anyone else spiritually, you must first be in a place of pursuing Christ. This does not mean you have to be perfect. As a spiritual leader, you do not need to appear as one who has “arrived”, as if you’re pulling others to meet you at your destination, but you have to simply be walking toward a life that looks more like Jesus.
“May you look more like Christ when you lay down tonight than you did when you got up this morning.”
Leading a team spiritually is an important task, but it is not a complex one. Rest in knowing that leading others spiritually is a gift – a simple and genuine gift. Your care and devotion to this gift in which you’ve been entrusted will reap great reward when you humbly and wholly present it before the Father.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you won’t get to experience the program you’ve put all your hard work into to make happen. You constantly feel like you need to have a clipboard in your hands, checking off the daily schedule as things happen. Do you want to hear some good news? It doesn’t have to be that way!
Sometimes being in charge of things doesn’t make it easy to be involved. I’ve been an Assistant Director for two years with CentriKid, and as we all know, a lot of detail work goes into making camp happen.
Camp is something I do, because I enjoy being a part of the daily camp programming with campers and adults. Part of being in a leadership role means planning.. Planning meal times, planning pool rotations, planning travel details, but also planning “free time”. My ideal free time means going out to the Recreation Field and playing Mosquito Tag with the campers! One of my other favorite things is taking the time to go sit down with our Adult Sponsors and talk to them about their lives – these people love their campers so much, and it is so refreshing to hear their hearts. Taking even just a little bit of time talking to kids shows that you care. It builds relationships with them and creates an environment that makes it easy to invest in the lives of the kids!
Kids can sometimes think that their leaders at church are like teachers, but we never want them to feel like they are in a classroom setting. That is why we want to be involved with the kids so they know we like to have fun too!
Take an hour or two. Step away from the clipboards and computers, and just HAVE FUN! The coolest part of being in a leadership role is seeing the fruits of your labor. You get to see your kids learning about God AND having the time of their lives all at once. What could be better than that?!
With hundreds of logistical details to deal with each week, sometimes being sure to lead out spiritually can take a backseat to the things that “have to happen” or the fires that pop up which need to be put out. In order to make sure you are leading your team and the kids spiritually, it is important to remember these three things:
Seek the Lord for yourself
You cannot truly lead a kid or an adult to a place that you are not seeking after yourself. This does not mean you must have all the answers. It simply means that you need to be seeking after the Lord and maintaining that relationship with Him, growing and maturing in your own faith. Hebrews 11:13 tells how some confess that they are temporary residents on earth. In verse 14, it goes on to explain that those who say this “make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.” I encourage you to do the same: “seek a homeland”; seek the kingdom of heaven through a relationship with Jesus.
This means that in any conversation you have with a child or adult that you are leading, point the conversation to Scripture. Why would we not direct everything to the written Word of God? Nothing on earth is more powerful than the words written out for us. When you direct conversations to the Word, all involved will gain more knowledge of Jesus and can build up their own faith through such conversations.
Make a plan
Don’t expect it all to just happen out of thin air as you are playing dodgeball. You need to set out a plan to bring the kids together after dodgeball is over and talk about how it relates to our relationship with Jesus. With whatever curriculum you use, be sure the gospel is being presented and that Scripture is being used. Beyond that, I point back to being intentional about bringing Scripture into other conversations. Make the plan and trust that God will make your efforts fruitful.
When you begin a new role in ministry, you are sometimes just trying to keep your head above water, and you think that you could never be bored. However, after you finally have your feet under you, and you have everything running like a well oiled machine, you may have an unfamiliar sense: BOREDOM. Let’s look at three methods that can help as you continue preventing boredom in your ministry.
One of the first instincts that you can have when you settle into boredom is to change things up. Change for the sake of change is never the right answer. If you are feeling bored with what you are currently doing, this is a great time to step back and evaluate the programs in your ministry. Are your programs lining up with the mission of the church and your ministry? Is your team working toward that mission? When boredom settles in, this is the perfect time to step back and evaluate the correlation between your mission and your programs.
When things are incredibly busy one of the first things to be put on the back burner is relationships. Instead of giving in to boredom, take a look around and see what relationships you can begin to invest in more. See if there are parents or volunteers that you can meet for coffee. Not only can you get to know the people in your ministry better, but they can get to know you better. A laugh between friends is the best cure for boredom.
Another way to fight boredom is to focus on your own personal spiritual growth. What are you reading? What is challenging you? You should always be striving towards a goal. Currently the CentriKid office team is going through the book “Spiritual Leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders. This book has really been challenging me as a leader and a Christian. Intentionally take the time to stimulate your mind and find motivation outside of normal everyday tasks. Intentional growth will help keep things fresh for you!
Boredom is something that always seems to creep into our routines from time-to-time, but it doesn’t have to stay for long. By evaluating your ministry, investing on relationships, and focusing on your own spiritual growth, you can give boredom the boot and continue to passionately make the message of the gospel clear to the kids and adults in your ministry.
In my first summer as a Camp Director, I learned more about leading well than I thought possible. The Lord walked beside me through new challenges, before me as I faced unforeseen obstacles, and with me as I navigated the sometimes murky waters of leadership. In this journey I was not alone, as I was blessed to serve alongside 29 of the most servant-hearted, hard-working, like-minded followers of Jesus that I’ve ever known. The Lord taught me much and continues to teach me from my 2015 camp experience. Let me share with you two lessons in leadership that I took away from my third summer with CentriKid Camps, and first summer as a camp director.
Trust the Uncomfortable
Be vulnerable. Have tough conversations. Embrace sacrifice.
No, these things aren’t easy, but they are absolutely necessary as you seek to lead a group in Christ. As a leader, don’t be afraid to open up. Look past the lure to avoid the problem and see the worth in wading through messy circumstances with someone in the hope of a better end. Surrender your ease to lighten the burden of someone beside you.
Being responsible for a group of 29 staffers along with 300-900 campers weekly is quite the challenge. I learned quickly to plunge into the trenches. Choosing to get messy and invest, no matter the cost, always brings forth the richer reward.
Honor your team
Romans 12:10 says, “Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
I was lucky enough to not just lead a bunch of college kids who were labeled as a “camp team,” but to serve brothers and sisters in Christ who became my family.
We did not just “love on” one another, we loved one another. A way that I did this as a leader was making my best effort to never take credit for something that I didn’t directly do. I learned that as a servant-leader you should always be quick to give recognition and credit where credit was due. Keeping the mindset that Paul spoke of in “out-doing one another in showing honor” was a driving theme throughout the summer.
I value each lesson I learned throughout the summer and hold them dearly. Leadership, at camp and in life, is a life-long journey that I am happy to walk. In this pursuit, I hope to always walk in step closer to Christ.
About the Guest Blogger:
Meg Brown has worked CentriKid since 2013, and has served as a Bible Study Leader and Assistant Director, and most recently as Camp Director at Lee University, Austin College, Lousiana College, and Shocco Springs. She’s a senior at Campbellsville University where she studies Educational Ministry and Public Relations.
Over my first summer as Camp Director, I traveled over 6000 miles, met hundreds of new friends, ate fast food way too many times, and learned several key leadership lessons along the way. One of the best things about working CentriKid is getting to work with about 20 fellow staffers. The Christian fellowship we enjoy is uncomparable, and I have incredibly fond memories of times spent with these friends over my 4 years of working camp. This summer, beyond the incredible time spent with my teammates, I learned the value of two leadership tools: investment and preparation.
Now, I’m not talking stocks and mutual funds here… I mean investing in those who you are leading. Investment goes a long way. It shows you care and allows you to build a better relationship with your team, which improves how you get tasks done together. This action can be a game changer in your ministry. Individuals love to feel valued and poured into especially from those who are leading them.
Investment begins with knowing those you are leading. Knowing about their day-to-day lives (where they went to school and where they work), what hobbies and interests they have, and about their family is vital. Once you begin knowing them, you may start to dig deeper to a more personal investment through providing helpful tips and guidance. Beyond this, spiritual investment may begin as well. Encourage them to spend time in God’s Word and in their walk with the Lord, in general.
Preparation is a key leadership tool in all things. Time spent in preparation is always worth it. Taking the time to prepare allows you a few benefits:
Take the time to prepare for events, conversations, etc. that you have planned or foresee occurring in your ministry. Mentally walk through everything that will be taking place and however works best for you, prepare for it. For me, that involves typing up plans and a breakdown of the order and flow of things. For you, that might just be providing yourself with outlines or simply thinking about what needs to be done. Different events and people will lend themselves to different preparation, but whatever it looks like for you, it is important to prepare ahead of time. These skills I learned are incredibly important in leadership, and it is always good to raise our skills in these areas as we go and grow as leaders.
About the Blogger:
Vincent Thomas is the newest member of the CentriKid office team! Originally from Georgia, Vincent has served as a team leader, recreation leader, and most recently, Camp Director of CK8 this past summer! In the office, Vincent oversees all things recreation and tracks times. We love having Vincent as part of the office team, and are excited about God is going to use him to make CentriKid even better!