My wife’s grandfather made the best baked macaroni and cheese. Each time he would come and visit the family, it was the immediate request of all the grandchildren for him to whip up a batch. Year after year, curiosity about grandpa’s secret recipe for his sacred blend of ingredients grew—until one memorable day.
The family had just finished another plate of grandpa’s liquid gold creation and finally asked, “Grandpa, how do you make the macaroni and cheese taste so good? What is your secret recipe?” Slowly, Grandpa’s gaze moved from face to face, as our anticipation built. The room fell silent as everyone waited with baited breath. And then grandpa broke out into laughter saying, “I just follow the directions on the box.”
Try This! ❯
Take the time this week to give a student or a leader an opportunity to lead the ministry. It could be teaching the message, running a game or leading a discussion group.
Some secrets aren’t really secrets at all—in the sense of being “confidential” or “hidden.” In fact, there are an overwhelming number of books that you can buy on “the secret to”…weight loss, business, relationships and time management success. Trying to sell trade secrets and skills is a multi-billion dollar industry. But what if I were to tell you to give away all of your secret recipes? That’s right…just give them away. Sounds like the message of a fool, but is it? But if you want to develop an effective, life-transforming Gospel Advancing Ministry, then don’t be afraid to share the recipe and teach everyone the skills they need to be active participants in this dynamic, challenging and rewarding process.
Equipping the People of God
There is nothing wrong with selling or marketing a skill you may have—or writing books about it, for that matter! But what I’m talking about here is equipping and discipling the people God has put in your life. As leaders, we must never let our desire to be unique or our pride in our skill set interfere with our mission to equip others to be more effective in their efforts to advance THE Cause of Christ.
Share the skills and life lessons that you’ve learned. Your youth leaders and students can glean from your life experiences. The choices you’ve made—both good and bad—can help someone else make better life choice of their own. The God-given skills you have are exactly that—God-given, so actively work at teaching them to others for the sake of the kingdom.
You Don’t Have to Hold the Cards
When Paul talked about the church, he compared it to a body (Romans 12:4,5). Within the body there are many members, and each serves a unique purpose (1 Corinthians 12:12). Paul recognized that God had gifted each individual person with different, yet complimentary, skills. These gifts, when blended together, better envision the complete picture of Christ’s church. If you are to help your leaders embrace and model gospel advancement, then you need to be able to work together well—with each of your team members bringing his or her own unique gifts and skills to the larger whole. You don’t need to hold all of the cards.Be a part of building the kingdom of God by training and equiping the people in your ministry. Click To Tweet
Providing Opportunities to Practice and Grow
I’ll never forget my first time preaching. I was interning for a large church in South Florida that had hundreds of students in its middle school ministry. The middle school pastor told me it was my turn to preach. He was a fantastic communicator, so I was nervous that I would not live up to his expectations—or more importantly, the students’ expectations. Well, I probably didn’t win any awards for my sermon, but I got through it and had a blast! That single opportunity to preach grew into a passion for pastoral ministry and a desire to be excellent in communicating God’s Word. Never underestimate the impact opportunities to lead will have on your student and adult leaders!
After you’ve cast the vision to your leaders, figure out ways to give them opportunities to live out the skills you’ve taught them. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a bit of “quality” in order to give your adult and student leaders the opportunity to…well…lead! They are leaders, after all. Over time, training your leaders will actually help you better achieve your ministry goals. Plus, this is a great way to avoid burnout. Having other leaders who can do what you do takes some of the weight off of you and distributes it across your leadership team.
The Blessing of Work
Believe it or not, we were designed to work. Oftentimes Christians mistakenly view work as a result of the Fall. Yet Genesis 2:15 shows that God’s original design was that Adam and Eve work. This means that working is a good thing and, even though we sometimes struggle with our work, we should still see the blessing and peace of God when we work unto Him. By giving your leaders opportunities to live out their skills and share them with others, they can receive the blessing and joys of working for the kingdom of God.
Figuring out ways to equip and train the people within your ministry glorifies God, advances the kingdom AND blesses those get to see God using them in the lives of your students. So don’t keep your recipe for success a secret! Equip the saints to do the work of ministry. By doing so, you will strengthen your ministry and, more importantly, better demonstrate the multi-member nature of the church—the way Jesus designed it to function best.