As I served in ministry positions–volunteer and paid staff alike–I learned that there is no substitute for periodic one-on-one meetings. I loved building friendships and shepherding leaders who served under me. The highlight of all those years of ministry has been knowing these wonderful, strong women who serve God faithfully and well in a ministry role. I have counted it a great privilege to co-labor with them.
This article is designed to help you know how to use personal time with the leaders with whom you serve. Or if you are serving under someone who doesn’t suggest such a meeting, ask for it and share what’s below from the other side.
Who? This article is for you if you:
- lead a ministry
- lead a non-profit
- lead a group or team of leaders of any kind
To be a great leaders of leaders, it is essential to meet with them individually from time to time.
Why? Isn’t connecting with the whole team good enough? It’s wonderful and workable most of the time, but sitting down with each leader gives her a chance to know you, debrief what’s happening in her area of responsibility, give her input and encouragement, and just catch up with each other’s lives.
When? Definitely meet after completing a responsibility like a Bible study or event. For an on-going ministry role, at least twice a year. Every ongoing responsibility should have a scheduled time to re-up, and that’s a critical time to meet. Other dates can be spread out and flexible. Be sure you evaluate the event/ small group/ Bible study with those affected by it before your conversation so you can talk about her take on what you’ve learned.
What does the conversation look like?
Generally your time is spent on 2 things: personal connection and the work of the ministry. When you hardly know someone and need time to develop a relationship, the connecting part is more important than your discussion about the specifics of the work. As you grow to know and trust each another, you can increase the time you can talk about the second area. But both should be covered every time. If you have other regular team meetings or if you already have a relationship with her, it changes the amount of time needed to connect. Before you meet, think through what you need to accomplish and roughly divide your time according to the person. Just remember that the Spirit will lead as you meet if you listen well to her and to his promptings.
What basic questions should be included?
The less you know her, the more you need to ask about her family, emotional, and spiritual background. This is your chance to love her well. If you already know such things, questions about the present and the intersection of personal and ministry such as these are helpful:
- How is your family affected by your responsibilities? How supportive are they? How are things at home?
- How is your time going? How well do you find time for God and for rest?
- How well are you doing balancing these responsibilities with those at home and work?
- How would you describe the health of your soul right now?
Think of the ministry part of the conversation as a self-evaluation for her, and use her answers to help you evaluate yourself and your work. It gives you opportunity to help her grow as a leader and encourage her to press on. Consider these questions:
- How well do your ministry responsibilities align with your gifts? Where are you weak/ strong?
- How do you think we’re doing meeting our ministry-wide goals in your area/ team/ group?
- What would you like to see happen next time differently in your group/ event/ meeting? What dreams do you have for it?
- How can I improve communication, support, vision, or leadership training for you? What would you change about how things are done or not done?
- What are we missing in our ministry efforts?
God has placed you as a leader of leaders to love, support, and train those you serve. Share with the rest of us the questions you like to ask your leaders.