What does it mean to be a generous leader? I know a children’s pastor who would spontaneously bless volunteers by taking their keys during church and getting their car detailed. This type of generosity has the potential to bless people immensely, but it may not be possible for an individual or a church. If we are part of a generous church with a generous spirit, why can our team sometimes feel “tight”?
Tight: No margin, no room to manoeuvre and no slack.
Resources might not be in abundance, but that shouldn’t limit us to being “tight” when it comes to blessing people and blessing volunteers. Our generosity should never be defined by resource!
Generosity: Showing readiness to give more of something, doing or giving more than is necessary or expected.
So how can we be generous leaders?
We can be generous with…
Our time: Intentionally giving your time to someone can make a huge difference in their day and shows them that you value them. We can often come across ‘tight’ with our time if we’re too rushed to slow down, stop and spend time with people. Leave a margin in your schedule so you can be generous with your time.
Our smile: When you walk into a room, what are you bringing with you? Are you bringing the busyness and stress that you might feel inside or are you bringing joy and light-heartedness? Something as simple as a smile can change the atmosphere and bring much needed encouragement. Where you position yourself and your demeanor can create a positive environment that brings joy to your team!
Our information: Our teams are empowered when we share information and knowledge. If I cling to ‘MY plan’ and ‘MY vision’ people don’t feel valued as part of the team. The truth is, it’s ‘OUR plan’ and ‘OUR vision,’ together the team are invited to be part of something bigger than themselves which they can sow into.
Our (or the) vision: Encouraging individuals to see their part in the vision of our church places value on them. Each person’s skills, gifts and talents have a place and are needed to help see the vision go forward. Although I believe that there is a place in children’s ministry for almost everyone, we need to understand that sometimes there is a better fit for people. Helping someone find their fit is an act of generous leadership – imagine if your kids ministry could be known as a generous team that connects people into all areas of church life!
Our trust: There may be times when we feel let down by a team or an individual. We might respond by shrinking back and starting the trust process from the beginning or we can recognise it as an opportunity to be generous with second chances and and our trust in people’s ability. Having patience with people as they grow in their leadership takes a generous spirit.
Our words: As a leader, your words can position people in the minds of others, you can be generous when talking to somebody or about somebody. Words are powerful and you have the great opportunity to be generous with your words. Proverbs 18:21 in The Message says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Speak life, prophesy, and encourage your team to be all that they are called to be. You never know what your encouragement will do in the life of someone else. Our words can build up and be a gift to others, like it says in Ephesians 4:29, “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” I pray that our words would be gifts given generously to the people around us.
Our authority: As leaders do we use our authority OVER people or FOR people? Do we share our authority in order to empower? The authority you have been given should not be taken lightly. The way you use it can make or break people and teams, so use it wisely and with a generous spirit.
We respect and honour the people we lead by being generous with…
Their Mondays: You can be generous to people’s Mondays, speaking encouragement and life into more than just their Sunday serving. Remember that they have a family and a life outside of the role they play in your team! People are not volunteer robots; they are so generous to give up their time and energy, so how can we be generous in return? Even simple things like thanking their spouse or children for releasing them to serve or pausing to have a real conversation (being generous with your time and words) about life and work can go a long way.
Their work life: Do you know the seasons of life your team may be in, and work with them accordingly? Champion the season they are in! That could be a season of studying and they need to serve fortnightly in order to stay on top of their PhD or it could mean they come and help with pack down because their work hours have changed and they can’t be there for the whole service. Be generous with your team and the season they’re in.
Their holidays: Holidays are GOOD. We like holidays, they allow people to rest, relax and come back full of new energy! Celebrate and respect people’s holidays and well-being. This will be a win for them and a win for the team!
Lastly, generous leaders are generous to themselves…
Be generous to yourself: Be sure to spend time resting and getting to the grassroots of ministry. Remember why you do what you do. Rest to and give yourself margin where you need to. We want to be leaders with longevity! If you’re always giving, giving, giving and never receiving and resting, you’ll run out of anything to give generously. Take care of yourself in order to take care of others and enjoy the journey!
Hillsong Kids Pastor