Me? A Leader?

Me? A Leader?

You guys know me. I’m an introvert, not a leader. 

At least that’s what I thought, and what my stomach was telling me as it knotted itself up inside. Here I was, a newbie–well, a somewhat newbie, about to take on a leadership role in our church’s young adults’ ministry. 

Over the course of the past two years, I’ve grown closer to the Lord in ways that I’ve never experienced before. You might be asking: Um, what does that mean, exactly?

For the first time in my adult life, I feel like the desires of my heart are aligned with those of God’s. And because of this, I feel like I’ve been stepping into some very new things that I would have never even imagined this time, two years ago.

I feel like the desires of my heart are aligned with those of God’s.

From joining a small group in Oakland, to finding a new church home (and going consistently). God’s been doing something very new in my life.

Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

One of those “somethings” has been the decision to lead a Table group in our Young Adults ministry for 6-8 weeks, on Monday nights. Being at my church for about a year and a half or so prompted me to look into ways that I could serve my congregation.

As followers of Jesus, we are constantly striving to “be more like Jesus” aren’t we? So, wouldn’t it make sense that if “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45) that I should desire to serve others in the same way?

I think so!

So, there I had it. I would find a way to serve, because that’s what I was supposed to do and that was that. Or so I thought.

My first attempt to serve at church didn’t go over so well–in fact, it didn’t even happen at all.

I’d heard stories about many young (usually single) Christian women serving in children’s ministry, watching the cute little toddlers, lacing up sneakers, and occasionally being on dirty diaper duty–I could do that, I thought to myself. So, I attended an info session on serving in the children’s ministry, excited to learn about how I was going to be a blessing to cute little infants and children everywhere.

Well, turns out, between volunteering at the Crisis Center and church on Sundays, there wasn’t much room to actually serve in the children’s ministry–at least not in my schedule. So alas, my “dream” serving job  of cleaning up after sweet, rambunctious little ones was quickly dashed just like that.

I was at a loss–how was I going to use my gifts of service for church, if I didn’t have any time to serve? It was hopeless.

But, God…

After having a talk with a sister in Christ, I had a much needed reality–or rather, spirituality check: where was God in all of this decision making? Wasn’t He and His own service and sacrifice the reason I was looking to serve others? Or was it out of my own selfish ambition to look “involved” and be a “good” Christian servant?

You can guess which camp I fell into.

I needed a heart check. More specifically, if I really wanted to follow Christ’s example as a servant to my church home, I needed to heed His call. Going to the Lord, I asked Him where He desired me to serve, if at all. I asked Him what I might need to sacrifice to serve my church properly. And I asked Him how to ultimately give my time over to Him.

It was during service one Sunday morning in February when the Lord answered. Loud and clearly. Our young adults pastor stood on stage and announced a new Bible study group forming, designed specifically for young adults aged 18 to twenty-somethings. It would be a place where they could gather, hear the Word and get into community. And it was on Monday nights.

Monday night? I could do Mondays!

I looked at my mom eagerly and she nodded her head knowingly. The Lord had spoken and answered my prayers to serve in the most obvious way possible, and I was grateful. That morning, I signed up to be a Table leader at The Table for our young adults ministry. 


Guys, the Lord provides.

He provides in big ways and in seemingly, tiny ways too. If it is in His will, He will open the doors to it and usher you forward. Though stepping into a leadership role with my church has been scary in a few different ways, I’m so grateful to God for granting me the opportunity to do so. Through my insecurities as a leader, He’s taught me valuable lessons about leadership that I’d like to share with you all. If anyone is feeling like they’re unequipped or “not qualified” be encouraged and take that next step in faith!

As a leader…

You don’t need to have it all together.

In fact, I’ve found that the best leaders are usually the ones who are their authentic selves. And they allow those within the group to be their amazingly authentic selves too!

You don’t have to be eloquent or well-spoken to be encouraging.

Nobody cares if you are an introvert and don’t necessarily know what to say all of the time. You’re not supposed to have all the answers–let go of the idea that you have to be perfect. 

Pray for your fellow brothers and sisters often.

Prayer is super important and praying for your small group is one BIG way that you can serve those in your group. Everyone can use some prayer and encouragement, be sure to make this a priority as a leader. 

Be prepared for God to show up in big, unexpected ways.

God delights to see us obeying His calling for our lives. If you’re hoping for God to surprise you as you step out into faith, be on the alert–He will do it! Have faith that He is working behind the scenes and has you and your group in His loving arms. 

It’s not about you.

As Kendrick Lamar once said, “Sit down. Be humble.” Remember why you’re here in this position: to serve. First and foremost, you are where you are to honor the Lord with your service and to honor those you are leading as well. 

If the Lord is calling–for you to step into a new leadership role, phase of life, or to a new place*–take a step out in faith, and answer. 

 

*more on this later

6 Comments
Leighann

Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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6 Comments

  • Mackenzie

    This post is something I needed to hear! I’m an introvert as well and I felt God was calling me to talk about Him on my new blog. I’ve felt discouraged about it lately, but this will help me keep going 🙂
    Blessings xo

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Hey Mackenzie, thanks so much for reading and sharing your own calling to leadership (writing is a way to lead too, you know!)! That’s amazing and I hope you DO talk about Him! He’s such a big part of our lives and I think once you start writing about your journey with Him, you won’t be able to stop – that’s how it was for me. Please keep me posted – I’d love to read your writings sometime. Praying for you, sis!

  • Colette

    Heart felt and unapologetically honest!!!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Thanks, Colette – that means so much! Let’s catch up soon!!

  • Alice Gerard

    What a great story! I’m glad that you found your calling and that you have embraced it so thoroughly. I am happy enough to sing in the choir at church and feel as if, right now, focusing on music is the right place for me to be in my faith.

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Hey Alice, that’s awesome – thanks so much for reading! It’s funny because sometimes, I think we tend to fall into a trap or belief that the only kind of leadership in the church is actually leading a study. But I think God calls us into leadership in so many other ways!

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Obsession. I like to say photography is my love language—I have no idea what that means, but it sounds nice, right? I’m obsessed with taking pictures and learning more about composition, editing and trying new things with my little @canonusa baby. *accidentally deleted my post from yesterday—so here it is again*
  • This is not a drill—it’s a GIVEAWAY! 
Meet Kayla (@kayzilch). Though we’ve met just recently, I immediately recognized her as a kindred spirit (she’s also a Type-4 Enneagram)! Her writing is real, authentic and delves into an array of important topics such as mental health, identity, faith and much more on her blog @tobetruth_. She’s also working to become a certified yoga teacher and is passionate about her work as a freelance writer! 
Meet Meghan (@meghantschanz). I’ve never met a woman so determined and passionate about creating authentic community and tackling tough topics. She’s not afraid to go there and start conversations about real-world issues like sex- and labor-trafficking around the world, feminism (or lack thereof) within the church and equality for ALL. She’s currently working on securing a book deal, with the goal of empowering women around the globe to recognize their influence in society and their ability to make the world a more equal place. 
These women are doing some amazing things and I’m honestly just excited to come along for the ride. I believe in us, the work we’ve been called to do and I hope, after learning more about us, you will too. To celebrate and continue advocating for causes we believe in, we’re doing a giveaway with @causebox. 
Here’s where you come in:

1. Give this post a (♡) double tap.

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The prize is a summer-themed @causebox valued at $300, packed full of small-batch, sustainable and ethically created gifts made by women and small businesses around the world. 
Winner will be announced Friday (8/24) morning at 10am EST!
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Blue. I’ve been looking for a way to fill my ginormous (at least it seems that way) white living room wall. Every time I thought I knew how I wanted to decorate that space, I changed my mind suddenly, determined that there had to be a better way to fill the empty 
space.

I didn’t know this about me before, but it hit me one day, as my parents were helping me unpack my stuff in my new place. My mom began asking me what I’d like my new place to look like, rug colors, mat textures, wall—fixtures and all. I am no good at decorating. Like, I had no idea how to put a space together. I’ve never been on my own before and the idea of having to decide how my space would be...mine, freaked me out. 
But then, little by little I found some pieces that I didn’t hate, and started to put them together. And yesterday, I stumbled upon these little treasures at Marshall’s. I couldn’t resist the ocean hues and beach vibes. I knew it was meant to be. 
All that to say, for anyone else struggling to put your place together after either never having to do it before #livingsingle or maybe putting the pieces of your life back together after a breakup or split—take your time. It will all come together eventually and it will look amazing. And before you know it, it will start to look, like you. ttys
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Hot. No, it’s not what you think. As a matter of fact, when I first saw this picture I was horrified. I saw all that was wrong with my body, my hair and my skin—ugh. 
But you know what? No one’s perfect. And thank God I don’t have to be. Plus, my body was/is working just fine, my hair was moisturized, and my skin was poppin’. Trying to shift my moments of self-doubt and body-consciousness to thankfulness and positive self-talk. 
Also, the day this was taken was HOT, so it still counts towards today’s #augusteyecandy.

I don’t know if anyone’s told you today, but you’re made splendidly and you couldn’t be more perfect than you are right now—yes, even in this heat with your mascara running down your face. ttys 
S/O to @kayzilch and/or her awesome fiancé, Michael for this pic 📸
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5pm. 
It’s crazy to think that I’ve actually posted one picture on IG for TWO weeks straight. Especially considering all that’s been going on around me: moving back across the country for school, moving into my new place, actually starting school, remembering how to (somewhat) adult—throw in a little bit of anxiety, and you’ve got yourself the past two weeks of my life. 
All that to say—we made it, folks. We made it to today. And that is enough. You’re doing great—ttys
  • TW: Anxiety/Panic Attack

Anxiety is like a shadow that’s been following me around since I was about thirteen. I guess puberty marked the onset of racing thoughts, subtle hyperventilation and that queasy feeling you get when something’s just not right. I had my first panic attack at nineteen, during a new hire orientation. It felt like I was having a heart attack—my heart inexplicably began to race, my hands shook and I felt warmth all around me. 
I excused myself to the reception area and, in a panic, asked the receptionist if she could help me. She said to place my hands above my head and breathe. I paced around the lobby and breathed, eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. I worried for a moment that I would die. Then gradually, my heart began to beat at normal pace again. My breathing deepened and my body cooled down to normal as I continued to pace, slower this time. The kind receptionist gave me some water to sip and sat me down until I was ready to go back to the meeting. 
Anxiety can feel like a high-speed train. Going 5mph one minute and 150 mph the next. It can also be subtler, feeling like you can’t quite catch your breathe and you begin to hyperventilate, in a way that is only recognizable to you. 
Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, anxiety has taught me the importance of coming back to the present. And how allowing myself to feel what is presently around me, can ground me and remind me that I’m alive. I’m safe. 
I share this story in order to start the conversation. Anxiety is a part of my life, whether I like it or not. I hope you know that first of all:

1. You are loved beyond measure and valuable even with your anxious thoughts and actions 
and 
2. You are not the only one 
ttys

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