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Mr. Mark,
I try to seek you out at any trainings that I attend and always enjoy sitting in and getting revived with your genuine appeal. Could you direct me on any articles or just your thoughts on the subject of How to accept help when you’re a control freak? I have been children’s director for 6 months and am exhausted trying to do it all alone. I know DUMB! But I know how I want it and when others help it is just not right. I know DUMB again.

Dear Control Freak,

I know your pain!  I get an idea and want to run with it.  It’s too hard to communicate and I’m ready to get started anyway.  The problem is… you’re the only one doing it.  I applaud creativity.  I most often cannot sleep all night because I get an idea and have to consider it.  Most of the time I get so attached to the idea you would think I fathered it and would be terribly offended if someone called my baby “Ugly”.  Well, you know what I mean.  Look at Ephesians 4:11-12: It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service….  I know it says nothing about Children’s Ministers but it does say pastor (shepherding) and you are an extension of the pastor and represent him to the children’s ministry.  Since God has called you to pastor or shepherd these children, you will need an army of volunteers to do it well.  You are probably the best children’s teacher and should be, but you are leading now. 

It is your responsibility to your kids, parents, workers, pastor and above all God to understand your role as leader.  You will have plenty of times to be the classroom teacher, but now you must become the coach of a winning team.  Here are 5 steps to success:

1.      Take an unspoken inventory of workers strengths and weaknesses.  Pray for wisdom and begin fitting people into the positions that best match their strengths. 

2.      Chart in a notebook all the positions needed currently then write in all the names of volunteers.  You might need someone in a place you overlooked and possibly overstaffed in another area.  Having this written down helps me from feeling overwhelmed.

3.      Ask the hard questions like, “Do we need this program, am I trying to do too much too soon?”, “What are the prime attendance times and are the goals we have being met at those times?” and “Is there anyone that needs to be trained or moved to another area of leadership (fired)?”

4.      Plan a meeting with key leaders (include a deacon if possible- he’ll speak of this among the deacons favorably and they will naturally be informed) to share your ideas and passion for what you want to accomplish.  Invite them to push back so your idea can be stronger.  Don’t be threaten by criticism or questions.  Write it down and begin working on solutions.  You will have invited people to begin to invest in something and later will want to participate in it.  This is part of equipping the people.

5.  Relationships with your people.  God doesn’t write things in the sky to direct us, He works through relationships.  Our relationship with Him as we learn and our relationships with others as we serve.  It would make sense that Satan is also working through relationships.  Maybe you need to go to lunch with a worker and just talk about your families and things you have in common.  Friendship first because the person is most important.

If you continue on the path you know is wrong, you will soon quit.  Don’t let Satan defeat you.  Allow people to make mistakes and try things.  Coach them, resource their dreams and celebrate by affirming them in spoken or written words.

How do you lead?

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