May 03, 2017
We all appreciate the people in our lives that we can depend on. They're reliable, consistent, and trustworthy. When things get difficult, they are the first ones there and the last to leave. Whether they are related or not, they're like family. For church leaders, these are the people that keep the church moving forward and make a life in ministry so rewarding.
The people mentioned here are not always the most popular or the most prominent on the platform, but they are critical to the life of any church. Their lives serve as beacons in an otherwise self-serving and self-promoting culture. I know that I have greatly benefitted from having them in my life.
Those Whose Faith Shines When the Darkness Would Have Crushed Others The typical hero in our culture is either the celebrity, rock star or sport star. Not me. The real heroes are the ones who are experiencing great difficulties in their lives but whose faith remains the definition of their life, not their suffering. I've walked alongside those who have experienced great tragedy, yet despite their grief, hold firm to the goodness of God.
That is not an easy torch to carry. Faith, in all its fragility, can easily be jettisoned when life doesn't go as expected. I've witnessed my fair share of those who've walked away when faith became too challenging - but I've also witnessed the beauty of a faith that rises above the circumstances and becomes an inspiration and hope to others.
Those Who Stick It Out When Others Run It seems the response mechanism for many is to run. Especially when they don't get their way. In any group, regardless of size, there are going to be disagreements, especially when it comes to how things should be done. As a leader you are never, ever, going to make everyone happy. Even those who are closest to you - but it is so disheartening when the first reaction from people is the threat to leave.
Unless its over a doctrinal heresy, or immorality within the leadership ranks, the reasons to bolt are really quite limited. There is nothing more compelling than meeting a challenge and knowing everyone is in for the long haul. Suddenly mountains become molehills and lakes become streams. The opposite is true when the very moment you need all hands on deck, the crew decides to mutiny.
Those Who Serve Faithfully but Never Expect to Be Recognized Volunteers are critical to any church but with any volunteer organization, it can be one of the more stressful parts of the job. People not showing up, not being prepared, or not giving their best can make it difficult to keep ministries performing as they should. Nothing soothes volunteer anxiety like the person who never lets you down. That alone is worth a king's ransom.
What puts it into the stratosphere is when they care not for recognition or acknowledgement. Not that we should ever take a volunteer for granted or not take time to thank them. Still, there are some who consistently serve with excellence but shudder at any recognition. For them, its about serving the Lord, and any kind of elevated praise leaves them uncomfortable.
Those Who Don't Agree with Everything but Have Your Back No Matter What Ever hear the biblical phrase, As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Pro 27:17 NLT). The passage speaks of how others can make us better but it doesn't even hint that there would be agreement. That's fine, but blessed are those who, regardless of agreement, will stand alongside you. Especially when the winds are blowing in the opposite direction.
Sometimes, as a leader, you can feel the sharpened iron directed at your back. Granted, it goes with the territory. Not everyone is going to want to be on your side in every decision - but oh the wonder of those who still take up the fight with you.
Despite my usage of battle terminology, it is reassuring when people aren't afraid to stand on the front lines and defend you. What I've learned is that often, these are the very people who are praying for you the most.
Those Who Ask You Out For Coffee Because They Just Want to Hang Out With You For most leaders, a sense of dread comes from a simple invitation to coffee. Granted, it may be from my years of being hit with all kinds of conversations that border mostly on the negative. There is usually something the person needs to talk about and rarely is it pleasant.
Still, there are others for whom the invite is nothing more than their way of lifting your spirits. As I write this my mind is listing names for which an invite is a joy. Even if - and I mean a big if - the conversation has some negative elements to it, they have a way of making it the least important part of our get-together. Their main goal is to encourage and to help in any way they can.
I'm sure there are a few more I could add to the list, but for me, these people make ministry easier and more rewarding. Let me say, in all sincerity, how thankful I am. I'm sure I don't express enough to them the depth of appreciation I have in serving alongside such models of Christlike character and faith."
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