Grow Great Leaders

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Leaders, what is your goal?

I love the topic of leadership. I listen to countless podcasts, read leadership books, and research leadership blogs consistently because I never want to stop growing as a leader.

One of my favorite leadership podcasts is by Craig Groeschel, the senior pastor of Life.Church. He did a series called, “The Six Types of Leaders,” outlining leadership tendencies, what kind of followers these types of leaders produce, and how to grow.

You can find part II here.

The fifth type of leader was “The Healthy Leader.” The Healthy Leader does leadership right, and produces faithful followers. However, the last type of leader is “The Empowering Leader.”  The Empowering Leader takes healthy leadership a step further and does not produce merely faithful followers, but the empowering leader produces other great leaders.

This is our ultimate goal with leadership, to produce other great leaders. Not to increase our numbers in our ministry groups or church, or even to get the word out about your ministry and become nationally and internationally well-known, but to impart and empower those we were entrusted to lead to become great leaders – even better than what we currently are.

How do we make the transition into empowering leaders?

There are four specific areas that we can focus on in order to grow into becoming empowering leaders.

Mentorship

Mentorship is vital in leadership. Not only should you be seeking out leaders that are ahead of you in life and ministry in order to be poured into, you should actively be seeking out those around you to mentor and invest in.

There is so much value in mentorship for spiritual reasons like encouragement, accountability, and prayer. But there are also more practical reasons for mentoring as well: feedback. When we have someone in our lives, whom we trust, we are able to ask the tough questions and receive the tough answers about who we are as a leader, how our organization is being run, and maybe even the mistakes we are making in ministry.

We tend to think that investing into others needs to be all encouragement with no constructive criticism, but we can still give (and receive) correction lovingly to help those around us (as well as ourselves) improve.

Jesus is a great example of this with Peter. How many times do we see Jesus lovingly correct Peter in his mindsets and ministry? A lot.

Jesus could have seen Peter’s mistakes and prayed for or encouraged him throughout them, but He didn’t! He corrected Peter because He knew that Peter was going to be that rock where His church was going to be built upon. Peter had to grow as a leader to get there, and encouragement and prayer was not solely going to do it. 

Vulnerability

Leaders who are open and honest about leadership mistakes they have made have a sense of vulnerability with those around them. This produces trust and transparency between you and those you lead. This also produces a healthy mindset in leadership that it is okay to fail, and failure is a part of the process.

Failure is inevitable, and dare I say vital. When we discover what fails in our leadership, we are closer to discovering what works. When we fail, we learn, we adjust, and then we try again. We should not hide our failures from our team, but be vulnerable with them.

Example

Leaders who produce other great leaders lead by example. We commonly hear the term, “practice what you preach.” When we lead others by example, we produce authenticity within our organization, church, or ministry.

Words mean nothing nowadays. We see pastors, politicians, and great leaders preaching for what they stand for, and what is “right,” but then receive word in the media that they were caught in an affair, with a drinking problem, or some other controversial scandal.

I’m not saying that people and leaders don’t make mistakes, but I am saying that people look at you as an example, and what they see you do: how you respond to that upset church member, the way you talk about other members of your team with frustration, the way you treat your spouse, and follow that example.

When we lead with integrity and through example, we are producing great leaders who will do the same.

Delegation

Healthy leaders listen to their team, but empowering leaders take listening a step further and begin delegating those ideas and collaborations to their team members. Often in leadership, we think that because we are the leader, we are the ones that have to do it all. This mindset is totally opposite of what empowering leaders do.

Delegating tasks to those on your team produces a confidence in them, as well as a trust that makes a statement. It also begins to foster that leadership gifting in them, fulfilling our goal to produce great leaders. I’ve heard it said that if you think someone on your team can do a task or project at least 60% as well as you can, delegate it to them. It may not be perfect, but the goal is not perfection, it is growth.

You can have control, or you can have growth, but you can’t have both. 

In order to develop great leaders, we have to make mentorship a priority, be vulnerable with our team, lead by example, and delegate to empower those on our teams. I can sum it up this way: If you want to develop great leaders, take the focus off of yourself and place it on those you desire to impart to.

This is our goal.

Jesus is our example.

About the Author

Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball graduated from Elim Bible Institute and College with a degree in Theological and Biblical Studies with a focus in ministry. It was at Elim where Sarah knew she had a passion for ministry and college students through the exposure of BASIC. In June of 2017 Sarah joined on staff with BASIC along with her husband, Elijah.

How To Make Better Decisions

How To Make Better Decisions

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Planning 0 Comments

Who should be making the decisions in our ministries? Should it be the church advisor, student leaders or a group effort? I recently read The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke and wanted to share what I learned about making decisions with you. As co-founder and CEO of AES, Dennis Bakke built his company into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries.

Afterwards he also used the principles shared in his books to create Imagine Schools, the largest non-profit charter-school network in the U.S, and established The Mustard Seed Foundation, which provides scholarships to Christians pursuing advanced educational degrees in preparation for leadership roles in society.

The book primarily focuses on how businesses and organizations make decisions, but I think most of the concepts can be applied to our BASIC groups. When planning for a BASIC meeting, event or outreach, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made.

The author suggests that the way decisions are made tells you more about an organization than anything else it does. I’m sure you can think back to decisions that were made in your ministry and see the effect they had on where you are today. But, can you remember how those decisions were made? We all go through a process when making decisions and some processes are better than others.

We tend to think that whoever is “in charge” should be making all the important decisions, but maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call. In The Decision Maker, Bakke describes bosses as coaches who often try to play the game too. He says, “You can’t tell a player what to do every single play. It’d ruin the game…People are happiest when they have the ball and are in a position to make the decisions that affect their world.”

Essentially, he encourages the reader to release ownership of decisions to others, which will in turn encourage them to be more engaged. Often, students have more knowledge about what decision would be best because they are closest to the situation. They know the student body and campus better than anyone else.

Does this mean we should just do away with advisors altogether? No, there will be times when you see potential problems or opportunities that they don’t. This is why seeing yourself as a coach is important. You can point out the things that they don’t see without making decisions for them.

Why wouldn’t you just make the decision? Well, Bakke has observed that distributing decisions more broadly and inviting more people to be part of the process will lead to more engaged people and better decisions. Better decisions lead to a healthier and stronger ministry.

The person who’s in charge does have one big decision to make. They are the one that decides who makes the decisions in the same way a coach decides who plays. There are factors that go into deciding who should make a decision. The decision maker should be someone with expertise, a good listener with a history of making good decisions and someone who is close to the situation.

The decision maker is responsible for getting advice from others. Most of us do this anyway when we have a decision to make, but there are some guidelines for who is best to ask for advice. They should ask someone with experience with this problem, people in different positions (a leader, peer, someone below them and possibly someone outside the organization) and those who have a responsibility and ownership associated with the project.

It won’t always be easy to trust and empower others to make decisions, and there will be mistakes made along the way, but our job as campus ministers is to train up and empower the next generation. We can’t do that if we’re always the main decision maker.

There’s no better way to empower others than by releasing some of the decision making to others in your group and it will most likely help you identify future leaders as well. Give it a try as you go throughout this semester. Look for opportunities to put the ball in student’s hands remembering the principles of who should make decisions and how to ask for advice. If you want to learn more about the decision making process you can purchase the book or check out this summary.

I bet in many ways you’ll find it freeing as you are able to pass on responsibilities to others and clear your plate a little. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

 

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

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Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.