There are good companies and then there are great companies. What sets them apart? Jim Collins explored that question and shared his findings in his bestseller Good to Great. While not everything from business applies to ministry, we can certainly learn much from Good to Great and other business books to make us better kids leaders and ministry stewards.
With that in mind, we’re going to consider each of Collins’ seven major findings in a blog series to see how we can develop great kids ministries for God’s glory. First up, strong leadership.
When you think of strong corporate CEOs, you probably think of drive and determination—doing what it takes to succeed. And Collins was not surprised to discover that the CEOs of the great companies he interviewed demonstrated that characteristic. It was the other shared trait, humility, that surprised him. As Collins interviewed these hugely successful leaders, he was struck by how little they talked about themselves and how much they talked about their teams instead. They were genuinely humble.
There is a critical take-away for us here. Yes, we have to be driven and determined to make our ministries excellent, and yes, we are skilled at what we do, but we have to intentionally saturate our leadership with true humility. Here are three tips for doing just that:
Look to Jesus for true humility. While Collins was surprised by the role humility plays in leadership, we should not be because it is straight out of John 13 and Philippians 2. Jesus is the ultimate servant leader! God the Son laid aside His privileges with the Father to put on the flesh, walk among sinners, and suffer and die in their place. Jesus was driven by His desire to please and glorify the Father, yet He did so with amazing humility. As we spend more time with Jesus and as the gospel further captivates our hearts, grateful humility will work its way out in how we lead our kids ministries.
Talk about we more than me. Here’s a hard one. Think about how we talk about our kids ministries. Do we use the words “we,” “our,” “they,” and “them” more than we use “me,” “my,” and “I”? I know. It’s hard. We all struggle with focusing on me more than we at times, but if we can work on even the language we use, it will change how we think about the ministry and how we act as well. Talk and think less about me and talk and think more about we and see what happens.
Protect your mission, not your comfort. People—all of us—tend to move toward what is familiar, comfortable, and safe. I call it the Law of Plumbing. Just like water, people move toward the lowest point! When we think about it, sin is at the heart of this because we are more concerned with our own comfort and convenience instead of stepping out in faith and following God’s leading. If we are going to be servant leaders driven by mission, we need to fight this tendency—in ourselves and our teams. And here is the beautiful part. When we step out of our comfort zones in faith, we have to do so humbly, trusting in God’s power to succeed, not our own.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 1st-3rd graders at City Church.