Guest post by: John Keim
As Christ-followers we are constantly looking to Scripture for insights, for wisdom and in many instances a person or scenario we can relate to and learn from. And for GOOD reason! We all know the Bible is full of people that we can learn from and wisdom we can glean from the situations they found them in. Another thing we often do with Scripture is to take a character and seek out that person’s qualities in our own lives. I’ve often heard (and probably given) the advice that I need to find someone equivalent to a Bible character in my own life. For instance;
- Find a Paul—because everyone needs to have a mentor they can learn from
- Find a Timothy—because everyone should be passing along what they’ve learned
- Find a Barnabas—because everyone needs an encourager in their life
So, while you won’t find this next character in the Bible, I’d like to suggest that everyone needs to find a Phil. Let me tell you a little bit about him. Phil has been serving in the ministry with me for a decade now and he’s been engaged in different roles and different levels of commitment over all those years. He’s helped lead behind the scenes on our guest services and camp work teams, he’s led a small group of middle school guys, he’s run point on a mission trip and he’s coached student leaders who are new small group leaders. He’s done a little bit of everything and has been faithful throughout it all.
Basically, he sounds like the uber-volunteer we all wish we had an army of, right?!? But here’s what takes him to the next level and why I want to encourage you to find a Phil. Phil is as committed to the mission of our ministry as anyone I know and has demonstrated that through his faithfulness, devotion and loyalty for over a decade! Because of his commitment to Christ and the mission, he has the ability to speak truth into my leadership in a unique way. So, when Phil brings a critique or concern about the ministry or my leadership it holds a different weight for me because I know his heart is true. There’s no need for filtering or defensiveness, because I know that he is for the ministry and he is for me. He has demonstrated a public loyalty and commitment to the ministry and me as the leader that has earned him the right for private critiquing and concerns to be shared.
And as a leader who has the chance to critique, what’s amazing is how often he chooses encouragement and to find the good. In fact, over the last five years as my speaking responsibilities have grown in the ministry Phil has had a huge impact on me without even knowing it. After I teach I’m often frustrated with how something went or feel like it just didn’t land and on those nights, I’ll always make sure to “bump” into Phil after youth group. Without fail he will grab a hold of me and say something like “You really had them tonight!” or “That’s just what our students needed to hear!”. Phil helps to level me out of my own self-criticism and he “spurs me on toward love and good deeds”(Hebrews 10:24).
So, do you have a “Phil” in your ministry? Do you have a leader who you trust enough to let them offer up sincere critiques? Do you have a leader who is helping to spur you on in the frustrations and self-doubts of ministry?
If you answered yes, then take a minute to write them a quick note telling them how much you appreciate the unique role they fill in the ministry.
If you answered no, then begin praying that God would bring a leader like this into your ministry. The one thing you don’t want to do is move a volunteer into this role without peace from God that they are devoted to Him and His Church. Maybe it’s time to take a look around your ministry and consider who God may have already placed there, maybe their name even is Phil!