Leadership is a pretty lonely place. This is my first position where I am the lead of the ministry, a staff team, two separate ministries and a full volunteer staff. Even though you are surrounded by people all of the time it still is a very lonely place. No one else knows the conversations you have with the leadership of the church. No one else gets the phone calls of upset parents. No one else gets to deal with volunteers who drive you crazy. You get to do all of that.
Whether you have a team or not, I’m sure there are times where you have felt alone as the lead of the ministry. So what can you do? How can you get people around you?
Find someone who has the same “status” in the church – At Christ’s Church of the Valley, I am considered to be on senior leadership of the church; all of the department heads. One of my best friends is on senior leadership as well and we use each other as sounding boards. We both lead a team and when we feel like we have no one to bounce off conversations or ideas, we go to each other. It really is helpful.
Find someone who does what you do at another church – Having a third party who is outside the church is extremely refreshing. They get it. They understand you ministry. You can surround yourself with a network of other youth pastors who can come along side you and support you, encourage you, and pray for you. I go to Josh Griffin (DYM guy here) for my stuff. It’s nice to know he will be there for me and tell me what I need to hear when I need to hear it.
Find someone a step above you – I know this one might be harder, but having someone in leadership above you to chat with is a gift. My supervisor has an open door policy where I know I can come in and chat, brainstorm, run things by him, complain, whatever. It’s really refreshing and he makes me feel like he has my back, which he does. Makes it feel less lonely.
I’m sure there are more ways, but these are the ways I tend to cope with the loneliness of leadership. What do you do? How do you combat that?