If your ministry setting is anything like my ministry setting, you have a lot of people telling you what they need from you and your ministry. There are so many voices speaking into how you should lead, what decisions to make and then when you do make a decision some people get mad at you and then when you decide to not do something other people get mad. Sometimes students think they know how to do your job because they think service should be this way for these people and the elders think it should be this for these people.
So who do you listen to? What voices do you allow to speak into you and allow to influence your decisions?
In order to keep on our vision for our ministry and make sure I allow the right people to influence my decision-making, I ask myself three questions. Now I will be honest, I heard this somewhere but I cannot remember where I heard this (so if you know, let me know so I can give credit) but it has changed how I lead and move forward.
The three questions are:
- Does the person speaking into me love Jesus? Are they actively pursuing a life that honors Jesus? The life they live is characterized as a fully devoted follower of Jesus and it shows. I am trying to follow Jesus and if someone I know is giving me advice and they are better at following Jesus than I am, I would be wise to listen.
- Does this person love me? This is not romantic love, but a respect kind of love. Do they care for my well-being and healthiness in decision-making or are they wanting something out of me to benefit themselves or their own agenda? Are they trying to gain something out of me for them and not for the benefit of me as a person or leader? Lots of people have an opinion on what I should do but they don’t care if it’s going to kill me and cause me to burn out. They have plenty of things they ask me to add because it’s “better” which it might make the ministry better, but it would make me bitter to work there. Does this person care about me as a person?
- Do they love my church/ministry as their own? They are not pushing something they need for their ministry or their benefit, but they legitimately want to see your ministry thrive like you want to see it thrive. Do they see the vision I have laid out and they want to see it come to life? Lots of people have their vision and version of the ministry in which you lead and they want to see their vision over your vision.
Now if the answer is “NO” to any of these questions, my response is, “Thank you so much for your input, I’ll for sure think about it.” If it’s something worth it, I’ll really think about it and if not, it’s done.
If the answer is “YES” to all these questions, then I would be wise to allow this person to speak into me and what is happening. It would be a good and beneficial thing.
I know there are a lot of opinions, but not all of them should hold equal weight. I have heard enough youth workers crumble underneath the many voices and people-pleasing tendencies and this could be a way to combat some of this.
Hope this is helpful!