I remember the first time I stormed into my senior pastor’s office and demanded that he allow me to hire an assistant. I also remember him telling me “no.” I remember leaving his office that day thinking he had absolutely no clue what I was dealing with on a day-to-day basis. I had a ton of kids and a ton of volunteers to manage. I was trying to keep our ministry creative and on the cutting edge so kids wanted to be there. I felt like I was drowning and I was positive that having a person on staff that reported to me would definitely ease the pain. I was so frustrated that he didn’t see it that way.
So I did the only thing that I knew to do when the situation seemed hopeless and I was feeling misunderstood. I prayed. I didn’t get what I expected though. Instead, I felt God speak a word of correction to me. I slowly began to realize that I wasn’t being taken seriously because I had some glaring leadership problems that needed to be fixed before I could be trusted with more. I needed to follow through on some of my ideas. I needed to communicate and delegate to my volunteers better. I needed to manage church funds more responsibly. There was more but I think you might be getting the picture.
After God revealed these shortcomings to me, I began to realize why I wasn’t being taken seriously as a leader in our church. I wasn’t a serious leader to begin with.
Just about all of us start out as immature leaders. We need to learn and grow into what God wants us to be. Fortunately for me, I worked with some awesome leaders who had grace and patience as I stumbled through my early years. Their “no” from time to time helped shape me into the leader I am today.
So if you feel you aren’t being taken seriously in your leadership role, ask yourself these questions and be as authentic as you can with the answer.
Have I done everything I said I was going to do in the last six months?
Leaders in NextGen ministry can be notorious for having great ideas that we communicate as plans that we don’t close in on. Have you proven to your church leadership that you can have more than just a great idea? Can you prove that you can plan a strategy and implement it to the end?
How well do I delegate?
This was a big one for me… back in the day I thought delegating was asking my wife to do something for me. That doesn’t quite work. Listen, we are called to be EQUIPPERS of believers. Your volunteers are ready and waiting to take on big responsibility. Can you loosen your grip on the reigns just a bit and trust someone else with important things?
Can I communicate?
I once worked with a NextGen leader who never put text into the subject line of his emails (you know who you are). All I could think is “are you a caveman or something?” If you can’t communicate effectively both written and orally then you will never be taken seriously as a leader. As a side note, ALWAYS put critical information in emails using bullet points with bold titles (similar to this post). People don’t like reading books in their inbox.
Am I organized?
I once worked with a guy who couldn’t open the window in his office on a nice day because he would get a tornado of papers flying around his office. His interns sometimes cried if he asked them to go find something in his office. I think one is still lost in there from a past adventure to the depths of his office. It is true that a cluttered workspace is the sign of a cluttered mind. Be organized and develop a system to stay on top of things.
Do I look like a slob?
I can’t tell you how important this is. It is probably one of the most important pieces to this list. I have decided not to hire some job candidates because of this issue. Not because I am all about looks but because I believe the way a person takes care of themselves is a solid indicator of their quality of work. I am not saying you need to wear designer jeans or anything. Just look nice. Wear clean clothes. Iron your shirt!
If you want to be taken seriously then you need to present yourself seriously. Remember he who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much. Now all you have to do is prove it!