Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” Helping others help themselves is truly a mark of good leaders. One theory of leadership, described as SuperLeadership, asserts “leaders become super by helping to unleash the abilities of the followers that surround them.” The challenge for pastors and Sunday School leaders is to understand how to go about bringing out the wealth that each member possesses.
Jesus modeled “SuperLeadership” with the disciples. He provided an example for them to follow; he taught them about the mission of the Church; and he challenged their presuppositions of leadership. Each disciple ultimately assumed a place of leadership in the early church based on his or her talents and strengths.
During High School and College, I played in the band and orchestra. Each instrument is important to the total sound. The 3rd Trombonist is just as crucial to accomplishing the desired affect as the 1st Trombonist. The key to the band is that each member is faithful to his or her part. A director or a conductor assigned the parts based on the assessed ability of the player and the needs of the group. In the bands case, this shared task results in a beautiful piece of music in the eyes of the audience.
Sunday School Directors, pastors, and teacher should develop the skill to evaluate, motivate and assign tasks based on the ability and giftedness of the members. When every member is faithful to play their part, the church will make beautiful music in the eyes of the world.
Robert Crandall, the former chairman and president of American Airlines stated, “I think that the ideal leader for the 21st Century will be one who creates an environment that encourages everyone in the organization to stretch their capabilities and achieve a shared vision, who gives people the confidence to run farther and faster than they ever have before, and who establishes the conditions for people to be more productive, more innovative, move creative and feel more in charge of their own lives than they ever dreamed possible,”
Our churches are full of members who need to be challenged to stop being spectators and take responsibility for their own spiritual growth, and to begin to use their God-given gifts. Remember, “Leaders Lead, they don’t Point.”