You’re sitting in a meeting. You know the one. The one where you disagree with what everybody is saying. A fellow staff member brings an idea to the table and you just KNOW it’s a bad idea.
You can probably recall a time you tried that idea and it didn’t work, or maybe you spent an entire seminary class talking about how this particular idea is on its way out.
As young church leaders, we have been given a gift that almost no other generation before us has been given. That gift is unparalleled access to knowledge. More than almost anyone before us we can access the history, insight, mistakes, and successes of the legendary leaders and churches of our time. This truly is a gift. But it can come at a cost.
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Solomon was known as a wise dude, and that benefited him in many ways, but it also cursed him at times as well.
I think Solomon knew that knowledge, improperly used, could be the most divisive, destructive thing ever. He knew that knowledge could tear people apart, one person thinking they were better than the other. He knew that knowledge could destroy the heart; man unintentionally becoming his own god.
Knowledge truly is a gift in the hands of a humble leader, but in the hands of the prideful, it is the very gasoline that can burn your career, church, and life to ashes. The building up of knowledge can subconsciously lead us to believe that our end goal is to be right. We can tend to believe that our success is dependent on getting others to agree with what we know and believe to be true.
But that is not the call that God has placed on our lives. God hasn’t called us to be right. God has called us to serve him, to serve others, and to build up his church… So how do we do that? How do we take this unparalleled access to knowledge and use it for good?
We serve the situation.
Serving The Situation: Accomplishing The Common Goal Of Your Team
1. Do a heart check
Anytime you are tempted to correct someone, ask yourself “Which desire is greater right now in my heart, the desire to be right or the desire to serve the situation (accomplish the common goal)?”
2. Know yourself
Are you a visionary? Chances are your bent is going to be towards trying to shake things up, which is a good thing. Are you a processor? Chances are your bent is going to be towards organization and systems. Or maybe you are an operator. If that’s you, you are probably going to want to stop talking and just get back to the work of ministry!
Knowing yourself helps you understand where you are going to be tempted to try and steer the conversation.
3. What does the situation need?
Once you know yourself you need to act on that knowledge. Maybe you know you are a visionary but you’re in a conversation with a bunch of processors trying to figure out a good system for a project or new ministry… You may be frustrated because you are a visionary! You know the systems will work themselves out (at least that’s what you think).
But if you ask yourself “What does this situation need?” you may realize that you actually need the systems to uphold your vision, and you need to talk them through. In this situation, you check your visionary ambitions at the door and you serve the situation.
4. Don’t stop learning
Knowledge is a gift from God and we have so much access to it. Keep learning, keep growing, because your input is valuable and it may change the face of your ministry, church, and community.
But don’t ever forget that your first duty is not to be right, it is to serve the situation. Knowledge in the hands of a humble leader who is serving the situation and not themselves will be a kingdom force to be reckoned with.