The words and actions of a leader are the strongest indicator of what’s most important.
Exhibit A: The leader always talks about reaching our numeric goals and making sure we are getting visitors to come back. This leader walks around dreaming up ways to contact more people in the community so they can be at the next event. This leader verbalizes a fear that we’ve failed if we aren’t growing in attendance over last year.
Exhibit B: The leader always highlights stories of life-change in the context of your ministry. This leader dreams of having everybody involved in some sort of spiritual growth plan and always asks those he mentors about what God is teaching them right now. One fear this leader articulates is that we fail in our ministry if we stray from God’s direction for our team.
Both of these are charicatures, and are not detailed pictures of real people. But the illustration is that each can be leading ministry teams with a good heart, they can be serving as good stewards of the time and resources available for ministry, but the two hypothetical teams following these leaders will go about their work with very different mindsets based on the vision that is being cast by their leaders.
Let’s depart from the hypothetical leaders and talk about you and me. We talk about lots of things with our teams, but what are you known for? The team will value what the leader talks about most….whether good or bad…. sarcasm, joking, complaining …. or sharing the gospel, hard work, reaching families, and ministry results.
Take a moment to self-evaluate. Also, have the courage to ask a teammate or trusted friend about your reputation. It may be painful, but wouldn’t it be valuable to realize it if your reputation isn’t what you want. There is time to change your language and show your true heart for ministry.
(WARNING: The point of this is to help realize how your words will affect the way the team views what’s most imporant. If its just going to be lip-service and your actions don’t reflect your words, don’t go to the trouble.)