Leaders

Recognize Spiritual Growth

I’m going to reminisce a bit here so please humor me for just a moment. I’ve had the privilege of being a missions leader for a number of years. In years past, I served as GA director in my church. One of the highlights for the girls was the recognition service in May.

Each GA had been paired with a woman in the church who was a part of Women on Mission. Throughout the year, each GA and “mentor” had forged a relationship with each other and the family of the GA. The mentor would come to GA on the fourth week of the month to help her GA with her individual achievement plan activities. In addition, the GA and her mentor would do things together at various times during the year as well as attending our GA/Mentor Tea on a Sunday afternoon in the spring.

Use Missions Involvement as a Catalyst for Missions Growth

Your church may be planning some summer missions experiences. These may include a missions trip, outreach during a community event, a special project with children, or some other missions involvement targeting a group in your church. Often projects of this nature are planned as one-time experiences, but they can be catalysts for ongoing missions involvement if you plan ahead.

• Plan well for the missions experience. Make sure the project meets a need and is well organized. Begin making plans for a follow-up experience as well.

• Engage others in planning.

• If you are going to assist at an established ministry site, then include the ministry leader(s) in your planning. Coordinate the plans of your group with them.

• Advertise who you will be ministering to and specific tasks to be done during the ministry.

• If items are needed for the project, tell people in your church what is needed and by what date.

• Provide training as needed. This may be done the day of the event or in advance.

• Take pictures of people from your church as they are engaged in the ministry.

Prepare for Leadership Surprises

I am an “out front” leader. I have been all my life. My dad loved to tell the story of taking me as a preschooler to visit Vacation Bible School at another church. It must have been the first day and there was a bit of confusion about lining up to go in. My dad said I announced to the other children, “Follow me; I know what to do.”

Thus my first surprise in leadership was to learn that not all leaders are like me and that my style irritates some people. This was and still is a painful lesson. It is one of the most difficult issues I face in leadership. It is helpful to remember you can’t please all the people all the time, yet sensitivity to your own style is valuable.

Another important lesson was to value those who lead without title or position. Some people aspire to be leaders, while others just are leaders, even without recognized leadership roles. They are often the people who lead from behind and get more done than most of us realize. Without them, many projects and events would never happen.

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Work Better with Church Staff

As a WMU leader, a good working relationship with church staff is vital. Whether your church has just a few staff members or many staff members, get to know them and be aware of their responsibilities.

DO

  • Respect their time. Make appointments when you need to meet with them whether for planning or discussing an item of concern.
  • Include staff in planning. Ask for staff members’ input and ideas before asking for their help.
  • Thank them for their help. No matter how seemingly small the task, your appreciation goes a long way.
  • Honor church policies and procedures. Your cooperation helps the staff do its work and will help you achieve your goals.
  • Plan ahead and keep deadlines.
  • Honor your commitments to church staff. If you have agreed to carry out a task, then do it with excellence.
  • Pray for church staff.
  • Participate fully in church activities. Be supportive of the staff in all areas.
  • Volunteer to help with a variety of church activities. Staff members appreciate those who help where needed.

DON’T

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Educate Church Members about the Cooperative Program

The Cooperative Program is the foundational means of supporting Southern Baptist work in each state, nationally, and around the world. Without the Cooperative Program, missions offerings such as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions are simply inadequate. Yet there are many in our churches who have no idea what the Cooperative Program is or why it is so important. Cooperative Program Sunday—April 10—provides an annual opportunity to educate church members (and leaders!) about this vital approach to supporting missions.

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