I played softball. I wasn’t the best on the team. However, I had a couple of skills that secured a spot in the lineup. I could hit the ball where ever the coach told me to, consistently. Right field, left field it didn’t matter, that ball was going exactly where the coach wanted it to. I was fast in the outfield and could throw from fence to pitcher. Just because I had this knack doesn’t mean I brought joy to my coach all the time. You should have seen one coach after missing three practices in a row and then the game, it wasn’t pretty.
The Word gives very specific strategies for dealing with our leaders and our coaches.
Hebrews 13:7 Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That certainly can’t be to your benefit.
God gave us gifts – people
The people God has placed in your life to help you walk out your soul purposes were put there for a reason. They are there for your benefit. We could even consider them as a gift from God.
God gave those gifts, those leaders/coaches instructions. One of those instructions was – if we don’t receive them with peace, then they are to move on. They are told to shake the dust off their feet. As a leader we need to recognize when people are moving on and shaking our dust off, but that’s a different post.
Moving on without you
The last thing you want is the people God sent to you, to benefit you, to coach you (particularly your leader) is for them to move on without you. Maybe one of the reasons, you are where you are and haven’t experienced any progress in your ministry is because the leaders God has placed in your life has moved on without you, or benched you.
Reason to lead you with joy
We all love leaders that share the same vision and strategies we do. We love leaders that are compatable with our temperments. We love leaders that we click with, they are easy to serve and bringing them joy isn’t a big deal, probably because they like us too.
But what do we do when we don’t click with our leaders? How do we handle conflict with our leaders? Is there a strategy for bringing them joy instead of grief?
1- Be upfront with them first and privately. Before you go to anyone else talk to your leader about being conflicted. The last thing you want to do is discuss with everyone else the problem with your leader. The last thing you want to do is hang on to all the ill will and then spread it to the rest of the team. The last thing you want to do is publicly correct your leader. Why? Take a wild guess who God is going to side with? When you go to others first you have put your leader and worse, God, on trial. You have questioned God’s pick for that position. God will defend His choice in leaders.
2- Plant seeds of peace and harvest crops of love. Be the kind of team member you would want if you were in charge. There are a lot of people wondering why they haven’t been promoted. This is because they haven’t planted the seeds necessary to lead. It’s amazing how many times Satan gets you off track with a simple thought “Well, if I was in charge I would….”
3 – Do the best you can,with all your might and attitude. When you agree to a task, do the best you can. Become the kind of team member your leader can count on. That might mean being flexible and allowing the leader to change directions. A great leader is empowering for sure, but sometimes we might have to take a back seat for a while, be okay with that. That’s all part of doing your best and maintaining a good attitude about it.
4 – Welcome correction. To think a leader will never have to correct you is delusional. What about you as a leader? Do you like to correct people? Most leaders don’t. Some have had such bad experiences with it they actually dread doing it and even worse avoid it. Yet, correction is part of their job description as a leader. When you get around someone that makes correction easy it brings joy (to you and them) Let me put it in another way. I know leading me isn’t easy because of my tendency to jump from here to there, reigning me in is a huge job. When I need correction, and believe me I need it, it’s good for it to come from the leader that enjoys leading me. It’s easier for them, and easy for me. When I welcome it, receive it and even thank the leader for even noticing it, not only is it cultivating a humble spirit in me, it’s bringing joy to the leader.
5 – Be loyal. Loyalty doesn’t mean you will always agree. In fact, loyalty is really tested when you and your leader disagrees. Loyalty means you are willfully submitted. Sometimes we will submit to others, however our hearts are far from submitted. I’m not saying being loyal to something that is criminal, sinful and just down right wrong. But before you take off pointing fingers and harboring an offense take it up with God first.
5 – Quit. Sometimes you just need to quit. If following a leader is causing you to severely stumble then you need to quit. If you can’t get past the differences with your leader then don’t be a coward talking behind their back, resign. Quitting just might bring joy to the leader – just saying.
Q4U: What other ways can we give our leaders cause to joy?