The following is an article I wrote that originally appeared on our friends over Youth Ministry 360‘s site:
When I look at the nativity scene, I see the amazing story of the incredible lengths God will go to in order to redeem humankind. But I also see some pretty great leadership principles we can applly in our ministries.
Here are a few places I see lessons we can learn as leaders of ministries. I wonder what lessons you would add?
The Angel and Mary
There is no way Mary could fully comprehend what the birth of Jesus meant. Certainly, she had an idea. But she couldn’t fully see where it would go. All she had was what God told her through an angel. And she had faith to keep moving.
We can find ourself in a similar situation when God gives us a glimpse of what’s possible in our ministries. Don’t apologize for the vision God has given you for your ministry. People might not understand or be on board at first. But the best thing we can do as pastors who lead ministries is to stick to the vision God has given us (if we understand it or not), and keep our faith that His promises are true. God will always come through, often in ways we never even imagined.
The question is, “Are you listening to God for what He has to say about the ministry you are leading and have faith to keep it?“
I can’t even imagine what this could have been like. A pregnant fiancé and the kid is not yours? It’s God’s? What?! We know that Joseph was planning on divorcing Mary quietly before the angel came to him. Joseph showed major character for handling the situation.We can learn from his example.
In ministry, we will have plenty of hard situations come our way. We need to remember that a good leader remembers that inside character is far more valuable than outside reputation. We need to keep on building our character and not worry about what the other church is doing down the street.
No Room In The Inn
Mary and Joseph were told “no.” And yet, they adapted and overcame. The rest is history.
Sometimes when leading, people are going to tell you there is no room for an idea of a plan. Take it with a grain of salt. One of my favorite things is when people tell me, “We can’t do that.” Now, maybe we can’t. But if we feel our idea is going to reach the most students for the Gospel, I’m for sure going to try it. I’d rather fail trying to reach kids in ways that have not been done before than not try at all. We need to be creative. We might not have everything we want, but we have everything we need to reach students.
God used a dirty stable to bring glory to Himself. God can use our resources to reach students for Him.
The Wise Men
They were seeking after God, following the light. In ministry it can be really easy to fall into doing what you want to do and not seeking God in the process. If He is not in it, no matter what happens, it’s not considered successful. We have to constantly be asking, “Is this what we feel God is leading us to do or is this what I feel the cool thing is to do?” I have to ask myself this all of the time. As a pastor, we need to be seeking after God in everything our ministry does. I’m sure I am preaching to the choir here. But even so, we all need to be reminded of this. We only can minister out of the outflow of the Holy Spirit in us. So let’s make sure we are like the wise men and keep headed towards Him.
These are my takeaways. What leadership princples do you see at work in the Christmas narrative?