I mentioned in an earlier post that every other week I have been having some of my staff share something with the team. It’s been awesome. This week’s post is from Kyle Bunyea, our Lake Arrowhead youth lead.

Pride. 

It’s a word that can sneak up on the best of us. We’ve seen the sin of pride take down many strong leaders in the church over the years, especially in 2020. 

Many people believe that they will never struggle with it but the reality is, all it takes is one message, one worship set, or one youtube video to look at yourself in the mirror and think “I’m awesome.” That simple thought can snowball on you and before you know it, you have disqualified yourself from ministry. 

Here are 3 thoughts to help us as leaders, fight against the sin of pride.

  1. It’s not about you

Nike is not going to make a shoe with your name on it for your work in ministry so get ready to be offended…you suck.

I say this strictly in love. Romans 3:23 paints it as clear as day…

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 

Romans 3:23 NLT

We, by ourselves, are broken people. Yes we all have gifts, skills and talents but we need to remember who refines those things into perfection. It is God alone that blesses the work of our ministries. 

I think back to Moses and the burning bush in Exodus chapter 4. 

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?” Exodus 4:11 NLT

Contextually, Moses was resistant to God’s calling to go back to Egypt. God’s words here are a reprimand of Moses’ doubt but I believe these words can also be a reprimand of us when we do ministry in our own strength and utter phrases like “I got this.”

If you truly want to see God bless your work as a leader, surrender not only your ministry to Him but also your talents. 

  1. Allow iron to sharpen iron

We’ve all heard it before, and almost every single one of our men’s ministries uses this Proverb as their key verse…

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT

We hear this verse and we say “Yeah, that makes total sense!” But this is something that can be easier said than done.

When I came on staff at my current church, I joined an already existing youth team. This team was made up of other youth leads that were younger and “less experienced” than myself. 

I put that in quotes because the only advantage I had on them was years worked, not actual skill or experience.

I sat in the meeting room for my first youth meeting and I easily could have shrugged all of them off and said “I can’t learn anything from them.” If I took that posture, I would have missed out on amazing wisdom and insight. Each one of them has spoken into the youth ministry at my campus whether it was directly or indirectly (me stealing their idea). 

I’m very thankful that I get to work with such gifted people, but maybe you are a youth worker who is flying solo. What do you do?

Build a team of volunteers that is skilled and passionate in different ways than you are. Allow them to speak into the work you are doing, because “our idea” is always way better than “your idea.”

  1. Trust the leadership that God has placed above you

“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be to your benefit.” 

Hebrews 13:17 NLT

“My pastor doesn’t get it!” 

“That won’t work here!” 

“That’s a bad call.”

We have all uttered or thought phrases like these about those that are in charge. This posture is a sinful one. If you and a leader aren’t seeing eye to eye on an idea, TALK TO THEM!

Speak your mind in a respectful/honoring way, allow your leader to speak into your concerns and give 110% to whatever decision they land on. 

If an idea your leadership has doesn’t work or isn’t as successful as envisioned,check your response. 

If you take the “I knew it” or “I told you so” posture, that means part of you wanted the idea to fail. It means you held back from giving 110% and maybe, just maybe the idea failed because you didn’t give your all. You should be just as disappointed as your leadership when an idea falls short, because that means you were bought into the vision of the idea.

If you are in a place where you can’t honor or trust your leadership, maybe it’s time for you to move on. My pastor always says “vision + vision=division.” 

Don’t be a divider, be a uniter.

These 3 thoughts have helped me navigate church ministry for 10+ years and they have served me well. I pray that each of us would be leaders that seek to build God’s Kingdom and not our brand.