You and I live in a social media society that is self-centered and glorifies our self. We tweet, update our Facebook status, post photos to Instagram, then eagerly wait for the all important notification that someone retweeted our tweet, favorited a tweet, commented on our status or liked the Instagram photo of our latest dinner creation. Is anyone guilty of that? I know I am.
As ministry leaders, we can be slowly sucked into a self-centered ministry, often times unaware that our ministries are built around our leadership abilities, successes, and strategies. Although leadership strategy is important in leading people, we must ask ourselves does our ministry structures point people to programming or to the presence of Jesus Christ? We must protect ourselves from the problem of pride that tries to pry its way into our hearts.
The solution to severing the self-centeredness from our leadership is humility. Consider reading about the humble leadership of Christ in Philippians 2:1-11.
Philippians 2:3 (ESV) “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
To be honest, this is not my feel good favorite verse. When I read these words, I slightly cringe on the inside causing me to examine my motives, the ambitions of my life and it forces me to face what is in my heart. Overtime, I have identified a few questions that I regularly ask myself in my journey to conforming into a Christ-centered, servant leader:
Question #1 “Will you pray for me?”
We often pray for people in our ministry. We feel good praying for people. We enjoy being used by God to minister to a person through prayer, but conceit can creep into our hearts and ministry when there is a constant flow of people who come to us for spiritual care and guidance. When was the last time you asked someone the question “will you pray for me?” A while ago, I could not recall the last time I had asked someone this question, which was convicting and humbling.
By far this is the most important question that can help humble the heart of your leadership. Asking for prayer exposes your heart, worries, fears, and needs. Asking for prayer avoids the appearance that you have all the answers and have it all together. Prayer positions your heart in a place of humbling dependence upon God.
Suggestion: Form a personal prayer network of people who you can ask for specific prayer regarding your personal life, marriage, family, ministry or work.
Questions #2 “What areas of my leadership do I need to improve?”
Once a year I do formal, one on one evaluations with my staff. In this evaluating process, my staff has the opportunity to provide me with critical feedback that will help me be a better leader. It’s a tough question to ask along with hearing the areas of where I need to improve.
In the culture of our staff leadership, we are constantly putting ourselves and our ministry underneath the microscope of improvement. Throughout the year, I ask my staff members to critique me after presentations or messages that I do. While making a decision, I ask my staff members occasionally “if you were in charge what would you do in this situation”.
Far beyond being a better leader, I found this question has kept my heart humble, it helps my staff know they are being heard, and cultivates an overall servant leadership attitude amongst the team.
Question #3 “How can I serve you?”
Each week I have a staff meeting with my team. On the top of the agenda are what I call “connection questions”. This is always part of my meeting agenda, and it always precedes the business aspect of the agenda. One of the connection questions is “How can I serve you?”
I remember when I first asked this question I received blank stares. I was not sure if I received that reaction because I am that selfish and they were in shock that I would ask such a question or they just didn’t know what to say!
Regardless, this is part of the role that I choose to play in the lives of my staff members. As leaders, we are calling people to a cause, which requires some sort of service. As a leader you expect people, whether they be employed or volunteers to serve in accomplishing your mission.
This week I challenge you to ask these humiliating questions to humble the heart of your leadership!
What are other helpful questions to humble the heart our leadership? I would love to hear your thoughts.