Friday, August 28, 2009

Sample Letter to Overwhelmed Leaders

Dear Overwhelmed Leader,

Thanks for talking with me the other day. Most leaders are overwhelmed at some point. Whether it is the amount of work they have and not enough time to get it done, or because they don’t know what to do next, there is a way out of it.

First, it takes considerable prayer. Most leaders get overwhelmed and fail to pray. From personal experience, I’ve found that overwhelmed leaders need to pray more. They need to pray for guidance, wisdom, and strength. Commit yourself to pray more, even if it means that some of your duties take a lower priority for a while.

Next, you need to remember that you shouldn’t be alone. As John C. Maxwell constantly reminds us, leaders without followers are simply taking a walk. You need people around you to support you, as you can’t do it by yourself. Slow down and figure out if some of what you are doing could be done by others. It may require some time to train others, but it is about more than just the time to take the action. The more work you have the more burden you have. You likely need to lighten your load.

Finally, if you just aren’t sure where to go next with your leadership then you may need some time off. Equip your team to survive without you. Take a much needed break. Refresh your spirit and your passion. Perhaps God is calling you to something else. If not, it may just be a time for you to take a sabbath from your leadership. This may be for just a weekend or for a few weeks. Don’t leave your team in the dark. Work with your team and your fellow leaders to build a plan into your team.

I pray that this guidance helps you deal with the issues at hand.

Your Friend

[from Agile Ministry by James Higginbotham]

Sample letter to Outside Leaders

Dear Outside Leader,

I know it has been a struggle for you to lead while feeling like you are on the outside of your church leaders. Dealing with cliques can be a difficult time. It often reminds us of high school and can lead us to act like we are still there. I have a few thoughts on how to handle this kind of situation - I hope they help you out.

The Bible teaches us that David went through the same thing with Saul. It took David years of being on the outside before he became king and was able to lead effectively. In that time, he was chased, hunted, and had spears thrown at him. During this time, David spent many days alone and in hiding, with only the Lord to guide him.

While being on the outside may not be as bad as what David went through, it can be a tough situation to endure. Make sure you are listening and talking with God during this time. This may be a time when God wants to shape your heart and passion in a way that would not happen otherwise. Just like David, Moses went through 40 years before God fully prepared him to lead a nation.

While your leadership may never be as large as David or Moses, it is important to accept where you are at and to keep moving. God has a purpose for you and lessons to teach you. He wants to prepare you for bigger things, and this is likely one of those seasons.He may keep you where you are at a bit longer before something changes. Keep at it. Obey the Lord. Seek His counsel.

Finally, remember to focus on your team. Your team is looking to you for direction and leadership. Give it to them. Even if you don’t get the same thing from the leaders above you. Be the leader you need, not the ones you see.

All the best in your leadership journey.

Your Friend

[from Agile Ministry by James Higginbotham]

Sample Letter to Mature Leaders

Dear Mature Leader,

I’m very proud of you. I remember when you first started your leadership journey - you seemed so eager and passionate about your vision. Over time, I’ve seen you deal with being overwhelmed and being on the outside. There have been times when you seemed to be driven by your sinful nature, but thankfully you overcame that through wisdom and counsel. Now I see a mature leader that has learned a lot.

I have only one more thing to teach you - it is time to teach other leaders. As I have taught you, it is time for you to teach someone else in the ways of leading volunteers in the church. You may not think you have a lot to say. You may not think you have a lot to teach. You do.

Each of us takes a different journey. No matter which path you have taken to get here, it is time to train the next generation. The leaders God provides to you to train will need your honesty. They will need your guidance when times get confusing. They will need your shoulder when times get tough. They will need your prayers, both when they are around and when they come to mind.

Please invest yourself into another leader. The church is begging for leaders that are willing to sacrifice some of their personal time to lead. You don’t have to be in full-time ministry to train leaders. You also don’t need to be a best selling author. You just need to be willing to let God shape you into a leader of leaders, one leader at a time.

Let me know what you decide.

Your Friend

[from Agile Ministry by James Higginbotham]

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Don Brock (DGBrock)