Are you a leader or a follower? The correct answer is, “Yes.” Sometimes God calls us to lead, and at other times God calls us to follow. Knowing the difference is key to being an effective preschool and/or children’s ministry leader.
- Recognize that everyone has a leader. You may lead a paid staff and/or a group of volunteers. However, your immediate supervisor is your leader whether you’re a volunteer or on the church payroll. And your supervisor is under the authority of his/her leader. To take this concept to its logical conclusion the only church leader not under the authority of someone else is Jesus, the head of the church. (See Ephesians 4:15-16).
- Adapt your role to the situation. When you’re in a church staff meeting you are probably a follower unless you’re the senior or executive pastor. You will want to yield to the authority over you, and when you disagree you can do so with love and Christlike deference to your leader. (See Romans 12:3-8,10).
- Step back and let others lead. As a leader of people, I have to remind myself that I don’t always have to be in charge. I learned this from a colleague who models followership. When he asks someone to coordinate the setup and take-down of an event, my friend places himself under the authority of that individual. If you assign a volunteer to coordinate a KidMin event at church, then empower that person to tell you what to do. This simple, yet difficult act is what Jesus instructed us to do when He washed His disciples’ feet. (See John 13:13-15.)
Young children are prone to exclaim, “You’re not the boss of me!” Sometimes as adults we think the same thing. Nevertheless, in reality, every KidMin leader is a follower. Whom are you following? Are you modeling followership to the people you lead?
The Bible says to “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) Volunteers will more likely continue to follow a leader who is also a humble follower than someone who acts like the boss of everyone.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of three adorable grandbabies.