Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Freedom of Admitting Our Weaknesses

"Good leaders are aware of both their strngths and weaknesses. They are not afraid to admit to the latter. The know how to find support and are humble enough to ask for it. There is no perfect leader who has all the gifts necessary for good leadership."

Leaders, by their very gifting, like to run things. We like to be in charge. We like to be in control. Our problem is that we sometimes take on too much responsiblity or try to control things that would be better left in another's hands.

I know. I've been one of those leaders.

When I first started leading small groups and teaching classes, I felt like everything was up to me. I assumed responsibility for content devlopment of the study or topic, for discussion facilitation, for hospitality, for refreshments, for soul care, for leadership-liason roles between church leadership and the group, for social activities... and well, you get the idea. Like a one-woman band, I tried to play all parts simultaneously and ended up flat and off-key.

Then I learned about delegation. I studied the Scriptures about the Body of Christ and how we need each other. God humbled me and let me know I wasn't indispensible, and that, in fact, He could accomplish some things far better without me.

By trying to do it all, I in effect denied someone else the chance to use her gifts or to develop her gifting. I denied that someone the privilege and blessing of serving others with her gifts. My compulsion to do everything barred her from becoming a vessel of God's grace in the lives of others (1 Peter 4:10). Father, forgive me.

Through a painful process of growth and learning, I've finally found rest in knowing I'm free to use only my gifts and no more. I can focus on what God as prepared me to do and leave the rest to those who are better equipped.

So now, in our Bible study classes, each class has a leadership team: two teachers, one hostess, and one care team coordinator. The teachers are responsible to prepare content, teach the class, and foster small group interactions within the larger classes. The hostess handles room set-up, refreshment coordination, and overall responsibility for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The care-team coordinator is responsible for creating a class care-team (a small group of people) who will see to the group's special needs (meals, visitation, notes of encouragement, condolences in loss, support in injury, etc...).

Each role requires gifting specific to the task.

And what a relief it is for me, as one whose primary gifting is teaching, to turn over the reigns of hostessing and care. Though I was competent in those roles, I was not gifted. And when I tried to assume those roles too, the responsibilities of care and hostessing drained me and compromised my ability to teach.

What fun it is to focus on teaching! And what grace it is to serve with a team. Team leadership beats one-woman-band leading any day.

I'm thankful for my team. I delight to see God in and at work through them. I'm releaved to be able to focus on my strengths. And the class is far better for it, as are we all.

Consider delegating. Try team leadership. I suspect you'll be glad you did.

'Til next time,

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