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.
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.