By Carey Nieuwhof
For is much better than from. However, we don’t naturally operate that way as leaders. Think about it. How many times have your thoughts drifted to, “What can I get from my team?” You want a great worship experience on Sunday mornings from a worship leader. You want a gospel-centered discussion from small group leaders. You want top performance from your church staff.
What can happen is that you get so obsessed with what you want from your team that you never think about what you want for your team. Shifting to a “for” mentality isn’t an overnight fix, but over time, it creates a sense of trust and loyalty and multiplies your ministry leadership.
What You Want For Your Team
So what do you want for your team?
When you have a one-on-one meeting with a key volunteer or staff member, how often do you start by asking, “What are you doing?” Instead ask, “How are you doing?” If you haven’t asked this question in the past, it may take this individual time to open up. You may have to ask the question multiple times over multiple meetings to get them to respond honestly. Very few people take the time to listen these days, so it may catch this person off guard to know that you care about them.
What you may learn is that there’s a problem in their life or family that has nothing to do with ministry, but the reality is that you bring who you are into everything that you do. If things aren’t going well personally, it may be impacting their ministry and leadership. You may not be able to solve the issue, but sometimes just knowing that they have a safe place to discuss their challenges creates deep loyalty.
What Your Team Needs From You
Next, ask “Is there anything I’m doing that’s getting in the way of your success or you being able to fulfill the mission?” That’s a powerful question to hear from a leader.
Maybe there’s something they need to do their job well. For example, one of my staff members was responsible for uploading weekend messages to our website. I asked him why it was taking so long to get the videos on our site each week and found out that the rendering time took him hours, if not days, because he had an old computer. Not only was this causing a delay in messages being available, but it wasted my staff member’s time as he waited on a glacially slow computer to get his job done. I quickly approved the purchase of a new computer for him. What previously took him 8-16 hours then took him 45 minutes. He was happier, and so was I!
When you show that you are for your team, it becomes contagious. You see it in those you lead and in their ministry teams. And people line up to volunteer and serve under leaders who are for them.
Check out Carey’s exclusive Ministry Grid leadership courses here.