Team Series: Second In Command

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Team Series:  The 2nd in Command by Gena McCown

One of the first tasks any good leader should do is to find, appoint, equip, and build up second in command.  A President has a Vice President, executives have junior executives, even Pastors have Associate Pastors or Elders they can call on.  Why is this an important role to fill on your ministry team? 

What if the Lord removed you from your Women’s Ministry right this second?  What would happen?

A family emergency takes you unexpectedly out of town.  One of your children become hospitalized.  Your spouse gets reassigned and you have to move this weekend.  You are threatened with a health crisis of your own.

Any number of things can happen that will unexpectedly pull us away from our ministry work, sometimes it is temporary and other times it is not.  Could your team function in your absence?  I’ve always felt the mark of a good leader is that their absence is not noticed. 

I have been on a team where this happened, and we were left scrambling.  It wasn’t that she was a bad leader, in many ways she was a great leader.  However, she had never taken any one under her wing to serve as a second in command.   When she left, we had a lot of plans on the calendars but none of us knew all the background info that she had been working on.   There we many decisions that needed to be made and a weight of uncertainty in the air.  Had there been someone working directly under her, who had knowledge of these details… it would have been a much easier process.

There are primary two ways you can work with a second in command, the first is similar to a hierarchy structure. This leader in training is kept up to date with the details of the ministry, but doesn’t have any more power than other members of the team.  You will walk them through the ropes of running the ministry, but you hold all executive power in the final decision making.  Their purpose is to be ready to take over the reigns of the ministry, should the time come.  

The second way is as a Co-Leader, this woman will have a bit more power/pull/weight to her opinion than other team members.  She may not have the ultimate say when it comes to the ministry decisions, but her opinion carries greater influence.  Her role is to slip in and out of leading the group as needed.  This is the woman who can fill in while the leader is on vacation, or take over for a matter of few months when a leader is going through a crisis.  In a large ministry, you may even have more than 1 co-leader and even give them particular team members that they oversee. 

In both cases the Women’s Ministry Leader is responsible for developing these future leaders to take over her job.  However in the case of a Leader in Training, this is your ace in your back pocket that you bring out only when you need to.  Whereas a Co-Leader has a far more active role in the ongoing ministry work.

A Second in Command Leader Should:

  • Have a heart for women’s ministry in the church and community.
  • Dedicated to the church, and exhibit a solid relationship with Christ.
  • She should be trainable, you don’t need a person with experience.
  • Dependable, showing up to meetings regularly and completes her tasks.
  • Shares ideas that will help the ministry function better.
  • Excited by serving others.

What She Should Know:

  • Keep her up to date on the ministry finances.
  • Location of important documents, passwords, keys, codes, etc.
  • Contact information and details associated with event planning.
  • Overview of information pertinent to the Women’s Ministry from staff meetings or the Pastor (only information pertinent to WM, please).
  • Access to team members contact information.
  • Overview of meeting agendas in advance, and what are her meeting responsibilities.

In the past, Women’s Ministry Leaders have created binders full of important ministry information that could be passed like a baton to incoming leaders.  Now, we can share documents online via google documents (if you have a gmail account).  This helps leaders stay connected, work and update tasks between meetings, etc.  If you are interested in starting a Women’s Ministry Binder… check out Pinterest for GREAT suggestions, printable worksheets, and more.

I love to see these developing leaders active versus people I siphon information into.  So, intermittently as part of training, allow her to completely lead a meeting from start to finish.  You can work her up to this by giving her small responsibilities and increasing them over time.  Give her a larger task to oversee, like planning a brunch or finding new small group leaders.  See if she has a passion for something to add into the ministry that you can put her at the helm, like a prayer ministry or mentoring program.

While it is great to have a second in command who has a similar ministry vision as you, it’s also great to bring someone along side you that has new ideas to bring to the table.  You may wish to strategically develop a younger woman, select a woman who is transitioning out of another ministry leadership role (previous MOPS Leaders are great for future Women’s Ministry Leaders), or you could find someone that just has a HUGE heart for women.  While experience isn’t necessary, their level of experience will determine how much time you need to spend developing their skills.

We can predict when a changing of the guard is going to happen, but when it is within our ability we should make sure this woman is fully ready to assume command of the ministry before we retire or voluntarily step down.  You can begin by steadily increasing her leadership, while culling your leadership back.  This also makes for an easier transition for your team members who have served loyally with you over the past years.  Give your team members advanced notice that you are planning to step down in a few months and that you are transitioning the new leader into place.  When they come to you with questions or concerns  funnel them toward the new leader instead of dealing with it yourself.  You are not only training a new leader, but the team to trust her leadership.

If you plan on still serving with the Women’s Ministry after stepping down form leadership, I recommend taking a few months off.  Allow the women to get accustomed to serving under the new leadership, and then ease yourself back in.  Leaders leave a legacy even when they don’t intend to, and it can take time for members to adjust to a different leadership style and new ideas.  Change is hard, even in ministry service.

Wednesday Devotion: Serving With Passion

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Serving with Passion, Laura Masoner

I grew up hearing that God is love, but I never heard the word “passion” when describing God or His character.  The description of God’s passion toward us is found all over scripture, a prime example being the Song of Solomon. If you’ve spent any time in Psalms, you can’t miss David’s passion for God.  I love where Psalm 42:1 says: “As the deer pants for the water brook so my soul longs after thee”.  I can sense the love, passion, and longing that David feels toward God.  Through trials and triumph, David loves and longs for the abiding presence of our creator, and it pours out of him like a bride gushing over her groom.  The bible itself is the greatest love story in existence, no one can deny the unconditional love and the lengths to which He goes to draw us near and lavish us with His love.  But the bible is more than a mere love story, is pure passion from cover to cover.
 
We are only able to love because He first loved us.  Not only does he love us, He is passionate about us.  As a jealous God, His godly jealousy is also a display of His passion for us.  He is passionate that we remove idols from our lives that keep us in bondage to sin and rob us of the freedom He has for us.  It is not self-seeking, God knows the pain and loss we will suffer if we choose sin over Him.  God has a passion for intimacy with His children, and true intimacy between God and his children occurs when we pursue Him with an undivided heart.
 
When I decided to fully devote myself to Christ and die to self, the Holy Spirit ignited my passion toward Him.  Not only am I passionate about Him, I am passionate about my calling and purpose.  He wants us to serve Him out of our passion for Him, not out of a feeling of obligation.  We are to have an eternal perspective that helps to develop the drive to exchange the things of this life for the things God calls us to endure.  The apostle Paul knew this all too well.
 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
 
As leaders we must have an eternal perspective from which we view the world.  We also need passion and purpose, although it is essential that we are passionate about the right things.  We need to place a high value in people rather than possessions or positions because we serve a God who is all about relationship.  As leaders we must be invested in people, not in numbers, fancy websites, or lavish brunches which are mere tools.  That is not to say that events and websites have little value because they are great tools to disseminate information and draw women together.  The point is that relationships are the point, and we must be careful not to turn ourselves into little “Martha’s” and begin to extend our focus in the wrong direction.
 
An effective leader should have passion about their ministry.  That’s not to say that 100% of the time we are positively effusive about leading women’s ministry, but if we ever find ourselves in a place where we’ve lost passion for the ministry, we need to inquire about it at the throne.  We could be taking the ministry in a wrong direction, or God may be calling us to step out of leadership so He can raise up a new leader.  It can be evident to the team you are leading if you lack passion for the position to which you are assigned, and you will notice the enthusiasm of the team begin to wane. 
 
 Paul was passionate about Christ, his ministry, and people.  Paul was actively and heavily invested in the people he served and his fellow servants in the ministry. This is evident all over scripture, it is seen in his greetings at the beginning of each of his letters.  He models a sacrificial leadership fueled by passion and bound by love.  He gives thanks, encourages, and prays for those to whom God has entrusted to him.  Read over the first few verses of a couple of Paul’s letters, such as Romans and Ephesians, and as you pour over the beginnings of his letters, prayerfully consider what made him a passionate leader.  This week, let us pray over our ministries and our leadership, that we will honor Christ courageously and passionately in the path He has set before us.