Whatever your leadership role—with your children, a ministry, a team, a small group, a business, or whatever—quit doing it all yourself! Good leaders constantly look for their own replacements and then develop those with potential. What are you doing to develop your children into competent adults? How are you training others to do your job or to supplement the work you do best?
How do you identify a potential spiritual leader? Consider these characteristics of good leaders:
- Progressing in her walk with Christ by growing in the Word, prayer, and community
- Humble and gracious
- Deep love for God
- Motivated to serve others not get attention
- Faithful, able, and teachable (2 Tim. 2:2)
Often our extensive to-do list prevents us from opening our eyes to people right around us who are eager and available to serve Christ and his kingdom. We can’t do it all ourselves—and do it well. And honestly, God never intended us to work that way, whether are home or in the church.
Why are you doing it all yourself? Do you think you are the only one capable? Do you view developing leadership as too time-consuming? Do you want it done right? Are you too controlling to let go of the tasks? I hope you will honestly assess the issues, or you risk burn out or an absence of leadership when you leave.
As you work toward completing tasks that need to be done, use those opportunities to give away areas of responsibility to others as training opportunities. Talk to them about what must be done, show them how to do it, and follow up to make sure they are faithfully fulfilling their responsibilities. At the same time don’t micromanage every little thing. It devalues their gifting and intelligence. If you have identified potential, give them room to try things a new way. Release control, but check periodically on their progress.
I certainly can’t claim to be a perfect mother, but I did attempt to teach my children some skills they needed when they left our house—for example, cleaning, cooking, and paying for their clothes out of a budget. The only way to do that was to delegate the responsibilities to them. No, the tasks were not always perfectly done and I could usually do them better, but doing them myself would not have taught them anything.
As both a volunteer and a church staff member, I encouraged and challenged women to try teaching, leading a small group, or organizing an event. I could have done it all myself, but my teaching would have been weak because of lack of time, my groups would have been too large, and the events would have lacked the pizzazz that other people gave them. The overall ministry would have suffered because I would have been unable to prioritize time with God and the next generation of leaders would not have been formed under my watch.
Think of one area where you lead, create a plan to identify someone to mentor, train her for the task, and let go so that she and God can work. Watching a new leader soar will bless you!