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High Capacity Leaders: Leading Over Time

by Pat Rowland

In my personal finances I have to keep reminding myself that investments DON’T pay off immediately, they require time. The same is true in leadership development. The ministry leader that can remain in a position for extended time has the best opportunity to multiply themselves through others.

Any leader in their first season or year of ministry can develop leaders, however, the longer you stay the course the best opportunity you have to see your investment pay off. That’s because leading over time has a multiplying effect.

Leading Over Time Builds Trust

Trust is essential to leading a ministry. You are working with people who volunteer their time, and the greater the trust level, the more they will give of themselves. A title or position isn’t a guarantee people will follow you. Through shared experiences, successes, challenges, and even failures volunteers decide if they will gift you their trust. Many factors go into establishing trust and they all require time.

Leading Over Time Builds Confidence

The first year in any ministry environment is always the hardest. There are so many unknowns to be discovered. With each passing year the leader gains confidence in knowledge and understanding. Volunteers also believe more in you. Their trust is expressed in confidently supporting and following your leadership.

Leading Over Time Builds Networks

Over time, you establish relationships and networks with those outside your organization. Over the years I’ve been able to establish relationships with other leaders in family ministry that have become supportive friends and sounding boards for processing thoughts and dreams. I’ve learned to be a better leader by watching them and asking questions.

There is also a network of partners within your organization that are supportive voices for your ministry. They are parents, volunteers, former students, and senior leaders. At times their voices can be stronger than yours, and leveraging their influence can greatly impact your ministry.

Leading Over Time Builds High Capacity Leaders

In ministry, we are required to wear a number of hats. The longer you lead effectively the less hats you will need to wear. Through trust, confidence and your network there will be leaders that understand your vision and take ownership in the mission. These High Capacity Leaders developed over time need to be empowered to do ministry.

I’ve been fortunate to lead a ministry in five different organizations, and I’ve noticed that there is something that begins to take shape around the third year.  I’m now in my third year in my current position and we are starting to see how leading over time pays off. I’ve watched guys and gals who’ve lead for an extended time in their ministry and I look forward to gaining the same level of influence in the years to come.