I did a Multiple Movements training with AIA last week. At one point, someone asked, “What if a person is not ready to lead?” My first response may have been a bit simplistic. “No one is ever ready to lead.”
True there are character issues and time constraints. But rarely does the person we ask to take on responsibility, think they are ready for that next step. In short, most lack confidence. They know you can do it; you are staff. But they often do not believe they can do it. The person we are working with is able to do something. It is up to the staff coach to figure out what that something is, equip them to do it and instill confidence that God will use them.
Tom, our youngest son is 16 and a sophomore in high school. I am still teaching him to drive. I can drive better than he can. That is not the point. I do model periodically, but the focus now is to get him behind the wheel and put him in various situations where he can gain experience. The more experience he has, the greater his confidence.
Tom runs track and cross country. His coach knows that he is built more for long distance than sprints and has trained him in those events. He would be foolish to enter Tom in the pole vault or shot put. Last week, he won the Freshman/Sophomore 1600 meter race (the mile run) with a personal best time of 4:58. Much of our encouragement leading up to the race was “You have it in you to run faster.” But I noticed that everyone on the track team participated in at least one event. The coach had to put thought into what every athlete would do.
As we give students opportunities to minister, we want to encourage them that God will use them. In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in the first chapter of his letter, he wants them to know the hope their calling, the riches of their inheritance and God’s power toward them. Let them know that what they are doing has eternal consequences. God cares more about them and what they do than anyone else ever will. They do what they do with an audience of One. God hears their prayers and He will honor their efforts. Not everything will turn out the way we expect, but God is the one at work in and through them.
Our pastor said last week, “A leader values others and empowers them to do what they believe God has called them to do.” In looking at various resources on this topic, I noticed an article on steps to instill confidence in others about our own leadership abilities. But we want our students to gain their confidence in what God can and will to do as they step out in faith. Often we can think, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” or “By the time I set someone else up to do a task, I could have done it easier myself.” But we miss the developmental opportunities of involving others in the mission if we think that. Sure this can be messy, but they gain confidence by the way you come along side them and their seeing God work.
Finally, here is a practical thing. Say you have tried to call someone a couple of times and you have not reached them. “Leave a gift, not a guilt.” It would be easy to say, “Hey I have been trying to reach you and haven’t heard from you. Please give me a call sometime.” But, rather, “I have been thinking about you and prayed for you today. Hope you are doing well. Say, I wanted to let you know about this resource/idea/event. I hope you will find helpful.” You are leaving a gift rather than a reminder that they have not done something. If you do that every time, they will look forward to hearing from you. That instills confidence.