How I Discovered My Sweet Spot In Leadership

Year number nine was my best year on staff as the director of premarital ministry at Watermark Community Church. The ministry I helped lead grew like crazy, premarried couples were challenged, encouraged and heard the gospel, and we were having a great impact in both our church and in the Dallas community. In April of 2015, the staff team I was on just put together a national conference like none other, and my boss and I stacked hands and agreed to continue to partner together in marriage ministry for years.

Then Came Year 10

In May of 2015, our leadership team presented me with an opportunity to increase my leadership capacity, by leading a large staff team and considering the possibility of becoming a future campus pastor on our growing church staff. In hindsight, I think I was a good candidate for the role, and the opportunity was a great potential use of my gifts and wiring. The downside would be leaving a job I loved in the marriage ministry at our church. I prayed, processed and journaled, and then prayed, processed and journaled even more. In June 2015, I accepted the offer and for the first time in vocational ministry, I moved away from full-time marriage ministry.

Related Reading: 3 Essential Ways to Identify God’s Vision

Trying to Fit a Square Peg in a Round Hole

In January 2016, a mere seven months after taking on the new role, I moved back to marriage ministry. Outside looking in, it might have appeared as though I failed. I had the opportunity to increase leadership, take on more responsibility and be a part of meetings that I was never invited into in the past.

And while it might’ve looked like I failed, these job transitions have been among the best things that have ever happened to me.

What I Learned:

  • I am a better soldier than a general. In other words, I am better at executing a plan than directing and crafting the plan. Give me a direction and I’ll execute the heck out of it, but I’m more wired for others to direct the course. In my moments of insecurity, I somehow believe the general is more valuable in God’s eyes than the soldier. While the world and the church may more highly esteem the general, God values each one. He loves us all the same and doesn’t value one ministry role more than the other. Looking for evidence? See the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There is no distinction: equal need for a Savior, equal recipients of His love.
  • I learned how I am wired. I like going deep in one area of ministry (marriage) rather than going wide and less deep. Rather than leading a large slice of the pie, I do better with one narrow (yet highly significant) sliver of the pie. I’d rather lead one area up close than many areas from a distance. No one grows up wanting to be a marriage pastor, but I am so thankful this is the area I get to serve and use my gifts.
  • I gained a better respect for those who are wired differently than me. I learned to respect the skill set required for senior pastors, campus pastors or ministry directors who lead multiple, large teams. I relearned that God gives different gifts to different people for different purposes, but all for His glory and for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). I was reminded that God chooses for some to be an ear, some to be a foot and some to be the colon! All are necessary for the body to function in the way He desires and designs.
  • I learned this all could change at any point in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point down the road, I move to another role, either as a campus pastor or maybe even another job at another church. I sure hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And, I hope I’m not the same person in five years that I am right now. I pray God will continue to grow and sanctify me in whatever way He wishes.
  • Related Reading: Change Before You Have To 

And What About You?

How are you wired? What are your gifts? Are you in your sweet spot in leadership?

  • Ask yourself some honest questions:
    • Do you think some gifts are more valuable than others?
    • Do you covet a role higher in the org chart? If so, is it for the right reasons (because it fits your gifts and skills) or for the wrong reasons (more money, more power, more worldly esteem)?
    • Are you being faithful where you are right now or are you waiting for the next opportunity to come your way?
  • Ask others you work with if they think you’re in the right spot.
  • Ask your boss for his or her thoughts on your ministry sweet spot. Ask how you can grow, and when they respond, be teachable, humble and don’t be defensive.
  • If you’re married, ask your spouse the same questions. Again, don’t be defensive!

Hindsight being 20/20, I don’t think I should have changed roles. I don’t like change, and the last year has been a year with a fair amount of transition. But, I have learned much in the process and I have gained a much greater perspective on how the Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made and designed me . . . and you.

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