Tag Archives: leadership

How to Unplug From Leadership

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One of the times of year my family looks forward to the most is our annual camping trip to Lake Michigan. We sleep in a tent, cook around a campfire and spend a week without a schedule, alarms or obligations. Because my husband and I both work at a smaller church, it has taken us years to figure out how to completely unplug from our roles when we go on vacation. The tendency was to open work email daily and bring our laptops “just in case” something was needed from us.  Through trial and error, we had learned that the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for our family is to disconnect.  

Here are a few simple steps that can help you not only be less worried about leaving, but will allow you to fully recharge while you are away.

Plan in Advance

While spontaneous time away sounds fun and, at times, extremely tempting, not planning your vacation in advance will do you and others in your ministry a disservice.  We need to respect our team members by allowing them time to prepare for our departure.  Look at your calendar, chart out a week or two through out the year where you can spend quality time away.  Then schedule it!

Delegate Leadership

Once you have your vacation time scheduled, line up a trust worthy person to take your role while you are away.  Give them authority to make decisions that you would not be able to make in your absence. Let all your team members know who their temporary point person is while you are gone and make sure they have all contact information needed.

Equip Your Team

Before you leave, make sure that positions are scheduled, team members contacted, service plans are in place, media is up to date, and lights are programed. Do everything you can do to make sure things run smoothly in your absence. The more you equip those who will be leading, the more you can relax and feel safe to disconnect.

Disconnect

Once you have a leader in place, and you have done all you can to prepare the team for your absence, UNPLUG.  Turn on an “away message” for your email, leave your laptop at home, and avoid checking in on your team.  If you need to have an emergency back up point of contacting you, be restricted to who has that information and make it clear that they are only to contact you if absolutely necessary (i.e. the media computer is on fire or the entire band did not show up for service).

Unplugging is not only healthy for you as a leader, but for your team. 

Whenever a ministry depends solely on one person, it can crumble in time. An effective team is one that knows that even in your absence, things can still go smoothly.  Putting more responsibility on your team temporarily will give them a sense of ownership and, ultimately, give you and your family the healthy rest that you need to truly lead well.

The Voices in Our Head

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A while back, I had an experience that you might be able to relate to.

We had just finished our church service with worship and communion.  As the music team was slowly unplugging and turning off their equipment, we felt encouraged by how God had used us.  Just as I was turning to one of our vocalists to thank him for singing, a visibly angry woman approached the stage.  With pierced eyes, she sternly said, “Kim, I need to talk to you.” Realizing that I was being lead into a potentially unpleasant conversation, I came down off the stage and walked to a corner of the room. What I experienced for the next ten minutes was an onslaught of hurtful accusations and emotionally charged characterizations of who she believed me to be.

I left that conversation, shaken and confused.  I knew what was spoken to me was not truth and even more so, not a word from God as she had claimed, but I couldn’t help hanging onto the names and accusations that were put on me.  I wrestled with it all week and though I was so very thankful for the leadership that stepped in and the prayers from family and friends, I still had a difficult time not replaying the one sided conversation over and over. The next Sunday, I found myself struggling as I was trying to lead the worship service again. Was I really the person this woman thought I was? Do I really have the characteristics she claimed I did?

Whether you are a music director, pastor or a volunteer, you most certainly know what its like to fight the voices you hear in your head that negatively impact your ministry.

So what do we do? How do we affectively battle against them?  I believe these three simple, yet immensely important, actions can radically change how we handle those internal voices.

Know WHO you are

Its always important to filter what is said about us.  When someone accuses us of being something we know not to be true of our character,  we need to dismiss it right away. The process to do so can be difficult, but the longer we dwell on false labels that are put are on us, the more we will struggle with keeping them. Its also very important to ask those who work with us or those in leadership above us for feedback. If there truly is something in our lives that needs to be worked on, we must willing ask the hard questions and receive the potentially hard answers.

Know WHOSE you are

Dig into scripture and remind yourself of who you are in Christ. The book of Ephesians is a great place to start. Remind yourself you are chosen (1:4), you are a child of God (1:5), you are redeemed (1:8) and you were made for a purpose (2:10).  The Enemy would like nothing better than to try to take away your identity in Christ. When we remind ourselves who we are because of Jesus, we put those lies to rest.

Remember You are CALLED

Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1 that we should “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” We each have a calling on our lives. Your specific calling may look different from mine, but we are all to be a light in the darkness. I heard it once said that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. When facing a challenge, we can ask why it’s happening TO us, or we can embrace it and decide that it might be FOR us and grow through it.  Ask God to use the hurt you may be experiencing to strengthen your ministry and the mission He has equipped you for.

Words are powerful, but when we embrace these three simple truths we will have the tools to overcome the internal voices that threaten to discredit us.  Don’t allow the words of others to define you, allow GOD to. Live out your ministry in the light of “the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant” and who will “equip you with everything good that you may do His will.” (Hebrews 13:20,21 ESV)