If you want to see your ministry grow, then you must be committed to growing as the leader of the ministry.
If you personally stop growing, it can cause the ministry you lead to become stagnant, complacent and lukewarm.
And once you think you know it all, you will stop growing.
Great leaders don't think they know it all...and they don't act like they know it all.
I love writing articles for this site. I write it to encourage and equip people in ministry. But I also write because it stretches me. It causes me to research and spend time thinking. It often forces me out of my comfort zone. And that's a good thing for everyone...to be pushed out of your comfort zone. Outside of our comfort zones is where we grow as leaders and followers of Christ.
As you prepare to enter a new year in a couple of weeks. I want to encourage you to be committed to your personal growth. If you want to keep growing, then here are 10 things you can do.
1. Spend time with Jesus. You might be thinking, "Duh...isn't that obvious." Yes, but living it out can be a challenge at times, can't it. We can get caught in the trap of working for Jesus but not spending time with Him.
There is something about spending time with Jesus that causes you to grow as a leader. It gives you wisdom. It gives you an anointing on your life. It makes God's Word come alive and truths jump out as you read it.
Spiritual growth comes from having a growing relationship with Jesus.
"Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."
1 Peter 2:2
2. Ask some friends, coworkers, etc. to help you identify your blind spots. There are some areas you need to improve in. The problem is...you can't see it. And you can't improve what you can't identify. That's why you should ask other people to help you with this. Ask them to be brutally honest with you and don't get defensive when you hear things that make you uncomfortable. Remember that it's through discomfort we can grow as leaders.
3. Go to a conference. Make time each year to go to a conference that will challenge you and inspire you.
4. Get a coach. All leaders need a coach. Someone who will push you, challenge you, walk with you and invest in you. I have a coaching program. Dozens of leader have went through it and are better leaders because of it. If you'd like more information about the Coaching Program, you can go to this link.
5. Spend time with someone who has more experience than you. Find someone you look up to in ministry. Ask if you can talk with them about ministry. Come to the meeting (or telephone call) with a list of questions to ask them.
6. Read books. Readers are leaders, right? Set a goal to read 4-6 books in the next year. If you haven't read my most recent books, here is the link to them.
7. Listen to podcasts. There are tons of leadership and personal growth podcasts. Use those free moments during the day to listen in. Some examples are while you are working out, while you are driving, while you are working around the house, etc.
8. Learn from leaders who are younger than you. I talked earlier about learning from someone who is older than you. But don't stop there. Find some younger leaders and learn from them as well. They have fresh ideas, input, dreams that will help you stay relevant and knowing the pulse of the culture and next generation.
9. Ask a lot questions. In order to grow, you have to consistently be asking questions. Ask more questions and give less answers. No matter how long you've been in ministry, keep asking questions. Stay curious. Stay thirsty to learn new things.
10. Embrace feedback. It's not always easy to absorb feedback. You might see it as threatening, judgemental or hard to hear. Feedback can bring out your insecurities if you look at it as a personal attack.
To grow as a leader, you must see feedback as a gift. No matter what is said, you can learn something from it if you will listen with an open heart. There is something you can learn even from feedback that is off base.
I'm believing and praying that your next 12 months will be a great time of growth for you. Everything rises and falls on leadership...even in children's ministry.