Leading with Initiative, by Gena McCown
Have you ever been in a meeting where you find yourselves staring at each other, just waiting for someone to speak up. It takes me back to high school math class, when the teacher would ask a question and no one knew the answer. He would stand at the front of the classroom looking into a sea of faces staring blankly back at him. There were those who didn’t know the answer at all, those who were uncertain so they kept quiet, and then there were the few that actually did know the answer but were too timid to speak up.
I’ve been in ministry meetings like this too, and I’ve seen the same types of responses. There will be women who just not “idea” people, their gift is being the hands and feet that get ideas done. You will have women who wait for others to start the conversation, only then will they share their thoughts or opinions. Most ministry teams seam to have 1-2 people who are very vocal, shouting out ideas right out of the gate. These are leaders who are gifted with “initiative”. They are idea people, who are often best paired with those who can help focus their ideas and those who can help get the work done.
A Women’s Ministry Team is made up of leaders, but even they need a leader… someone to guide them, reign them in, and be the deciding voice. This is the leader who has initiative, she is willing to be the person to take the first step, throw out the first ideas, and get the ball rolling. Leaders with initiative tend to be our risk takes, and those willing to make a leap of faith in ministry service.
A leader with initiative knows what needs to be done, and will do it without even having to be asked. Initiative can also be explained as motivation, a person with motivation doesn’t just sit around waiting for things happen… they make things happen.
Initiative isn’t carelessness, even when a leader is taking a risk and stepping out in faith. A leader with initiative will be in prayer over decisions, illustrate good stewardship, and seek wisdom and counsel. Leaders with initiative will seek out information and do the required research to ensure that they are making a wise decision. Leaders with initiative are active in the process versus simply talking about what they should and shouldn’t do.
In the book of Nehemiah, chapter two, Nehemiah is speaking with the king. Nehemiah looks down, and the king notices that his mood is down in the dumps. When the king asks Nehemiah what has him so troubled, Nehemiah replies that he is sad over the state of Jerusalem. After praying, Nehemiah takes the initiative to ask the king for permission to go home and rebuild the city/temple. The king agrees, and Nehemiah goes even further seeking letters from the king to secure not only his safe passage, but also materials for building.
These were some BOLD requests, but Nehemiah took the initiative and did so under God’s direction. There are days when the Lord asks us to wait, and there are days we are told to move. Initiative is what helps us take that first step.