7 Considerations of Whether You’re Ready to be a First Chair Leader

chefsessel fragezeichen

Recently I wrote a post on how to create environments that attract and retain first chair leaders in a second chair position. Read that post HERE.

The post was well received, but as expected, I received numerous questions after the post. The most common had to do with how to spot a first chair leader — or when a second chair leader should consider being a first chair.

A former intern of mine had a similar question. He’s a great young man, with a bright future ahead of him. I’m so proud to call him friend.

Here’s what he asked:

How long do you typically recommend a young first chair leader sit in the second chair? Obviously it depends on the individual and the leader, but in general there is always more to learn. What process would you go through to evaluate when the young leader seems ready to branch out? Thanks! Miss sitting in the chair under you!

Great question.

I told him I was working on a post. I decided to think through some of my own experiences and some of the observations I’ve made over the years. Frankly, some are based on frustrations I’ve experienced and certainly that I’ve observed or even caused others to feel.

Let me make clear, as if you didn’t know, that this is a subjective post. I couldn’t write a post that would fully answer the question for every person. I can only share some principles I think could help a leader discern if they’re ready or if they need to consider a first chair position. If you were sitting down with me to talk through this issue, I’d probably advise you to think through some of these.

Here are 7 considerations of when you may need to be a first chair leader:

You can’t seem to be satisfied with leadership you are trying to follow. I learned years ago that one way to discern the gift of teaching — I’m always thinking, “I could teach this better” — you may have the gift of teaching waiting to be expressed. The same is often true of potential first chair leaders. I’ve talked with some leaders serving under tremendous first chair leaders who were still continually frustrated. Sometimes it’s not the person they are leading, but an indicator they need to try leading on their own — at least for a season.

You are always pushing past the current limits set for you. You keep hitting a lid. First chair leaders (and many second chair leaders) hate to be capped to a level of achievement. If this is continually happening to you — and frustrating you — it may be time for to move chairs.

You have a different vision than you are being allowed to live. Let’s face it, any healthy organization has a defined vision — one of them — sometimes a few smaller ones that support the one. But, if you have a personal vision that doesn’t fit anywhere in the mix that doesn’t mean any of the visions is wrong. It may just mean you need to go pursue the vision you feel God has given you.

You are dreaming big dreams without an outlet to realize them. Let me be honest, sometimes you have to start something if you want it to be “your” dream. Let me also be clear, I’m a leader, but also a pastor. So the pastor in me says to make sure it’s a God-given dream, but there are times God has something He wants you to do. Not that you will accomplish it on your own, but you may have to be the one to lead the effort. That’s sometimes done from a second chair position, but frequently, if you keep feeling setbacks along the way, it may be you need to change chairs.

You are ready to handle first chair criticism. This is a big one. I chose to mix it here among the others, because it’s a harder one to accept. You often don’t know fully understand this one until you experience life in the first chair, but no first chair doing anything of value is removed from criticism. Leadership involves change — leading people somewhere new. That isn’t always neat, tidy, or even fun. Some days are harder than others. Some days — in fact, some seasons — there appear to be more critics than supporters. And, that, by the way, can be when things are going great overall. Are you ready for that? That requires a gut check honest conversation with yourself, and with others you trust to speak into your life.

You are a self initiator. Do you take the initiative to pursue something new or do you tend to wait until someone spurs you. First chair leaders often need to move forward while everyone else is comfortable sitting still.

You influence others. This is another place where self inspection is important. Do people seem to look to you for direction or insight? Ask yourself, are others following you naturally? In my experience, if people won’t follow you without the first chair position they probably aren’t going to follow you — short of force — if you move into that chair.

This post is intended to help. Actually, I hope it helps the first chair leaders who see people in second chairs around them who may need a little encouragement — even to switch chairs — or to be patient where they are at the time. I hope it encourages some second chair leaders to self-evaluate, ask hard questions, spend some time with God and others and discern their next steps.

There is no guarantee you’re ever ready to be in a first chair position. Again, no post could do that for you, but your response to some of these considerations may help you decide if you fit some of the profile of many first chair leaders I know.

You may recall my former intern asked the question “when”. I closed my reply by telling him I don’t think there is a certain time, but there is a certain maturity for which I would look. And, I think we often know if we are ready, but sometimes need someone to affirm it in us. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to speak into your life.

You’ll never be fully prepared for a first chair position, any more than we are ever prepared for what’s “next” in our life. But, as has been eloquently said so many times before — Where God calls you — He equips you.

7 Quandaries of Leading Creatives

ideas spinning

Leading creatives can be difficult. In fact, I love having creatives on the teams I lead, but, honestly, they can make leading much messier.

In case you’re wondering, here’s a definition of a creative:relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

Creatives’ minds are always wandering. It makes leading a team meeting harder. They get bored easily. They are never completely satisfied.

And, before you creatives get too defensive…just so you know…

I’m a creative.

I’m not an artsy creative. I don’t paint, do music, etc. And that always confused me and kept me from considering myself one.

But, I’m a dreamer. I have a vivid imagination.

I’ve never met a day I didn’t have a new idea. My mind wanders quickly — randomly — often.

Wait, what were we talking about?

Oh, yea, creatives.

But, when I began to understand these things about myself it helped me understand the minds of other creatives on our team.

And, I love creatives being on the team. They bring new ideas. They stretch others. They add energy. They challenge mediocrity.

One huge paradigm for me was realizing the quandaries of being a creative. I think that’s the word. A quandary — “a state of perplexity” — confusion.

It is in some of these quandaries that might makes us creatives more difficult to lead.

See what I mean…and see if this is familiar with you — or the creatives you lead.

Here are 7 quandaries of the creative:

1. We don’t like boundaries, rules, policies (and we may test them or rebel against them) —- but we need them in order to be effective.

2. Sometimes our minds wander in so many directions, with no clarity, that we can’t even catch a single thought, and nothing makes sense —- other times the idea is laser-focused, and we can’t write, paint, draw, or sketch it fast enough.

3. We have lots of ideas, they are endless, maybe even helpful —- but sometimes we can’t get them out of our head and onto the canvas, or put them into a format that helps you understand what we are even thinking.

4. Nothing we observe is ever wasted, every new thing we see, hear, smell, touch, taste, can lead to another idea —- but it also means our mind is never still, and if we are forced still long enough, we become very bored, and hard to engage in conversation.

5. We don’t like deadlines, or being held to them —- but deadlines are usually the only way to keep us on task, so we actually crave someone to give them to us.

6. Ideas come fast; really fast, too fast sometimes —- but as fast as they arrive, they’re gone if we don’t record them quickly.

7. We are tremendously flexible in our imagination, in the things we can dream about or create —- but we can often be dogmatic in protecting our original ideas, and inflexible when it comes to changing them.

Have you noticed these quandaries? Any others?

Do you see how we could be more difficult to lead?

These quandaries of creatives can actually produce the challenge in leadership — the quandary of leading creatives. Within each quandary is a decision I have to make as a leader — knowing when to place boxes around them and when to give them free reign, etc.

It can be difficult. A friend of mine said last week, “The most difficult person to lead is myself.” I agree. It’s sometimes a quandary.

But, it often begins with an understanding — of the quandary — and ultimately of the people we are attempting to lead.

Do you see ways you can help lead creatives through the quandaries?

Consecration: In Ministry and Leadership

consecrate

This is a guest post by my friend Greg Atkinson. Greg is an author, speaker, consultant and the Editor of Christian Media Magazine. Greg has started businesses including the worship resource website WorshipHouse Media, a social media marketing company, and his own consulting firm. As a consultant, Greg has worked with some of the largest and fastest-growing churches across the United States. Greg is the author of Church Leadership Essentials and Strange Leadership.

Consecration by Greg Atkinson

Consecration or the act of consecrating means “dedication to the service and worship of a deity.” We serve, lead, and minister from a place and posture of consecration. This is the prerequisite for God choosing to use us in His grand plan.

The book of Exodus uses the word consecrate nineteen times. The book of Leviticus uses it eleven times. It’s used several more times throughout the Old Testament and a few times in the New Testament. Under the direction of king Hezekiah, the priests consecrated and purified the temple of the Lord, clearing out everything that was ritually unclean. Side note: You want to talk about innovation and creativity? Just look at all the work that went into building the temple. Wow.

“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them. —Joshua 7:13 (NIV)

God tells Joshua to tell the people to consecrate themselves in preparation for a coming battle. He says they will not win unless they do it. I’m sure you’ve realized by now, we’re in a war. I’m not talking about Iraq or Afghanistan or Russia, or whatever the current conflict is when you are reading this. I’m talking about the spiritual war we as ministers of the gospel are all engaged in. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

If you want to see supernatural innovation in your life and ministry—something that can only be explained by the hand of God and changes people’s lives for eternity, you must be a consecrated servant leader. I’m not talking about being perfect, for we know only One has lived a perfect life. I’m talking about striving for a life of personal purity and holiness and dedicating our whole being to the will of God. Then and only then, will you be able to “stand against your enemies.” This is important because each of you, in your city and community, have strongholds and evil forces at work that are waging a war for the souls you so desperately long to reach. God may be wanting to do a “new thing” in your midst and shower you with the blessing of insight, knowledge, wisdom and discernment, but He is urging you (like He did Joshua) to “consecrate yourselves in preparation
for tomorrow.”

We recently moved into a new building at my church and when we were preparing for our first week in the new building, God gave me the following verse:

Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’ —Joshua 3:5 (NASB)

I had an art piece made up and our entire congregation signed it with Josh 3:5 in the middle of the art piece. Many Saturday nights, I will post the Scripture on Facebook and ask people to pray for what God will do in the morning when we gather for worship.

Friends, don’t miss this: consecration is required if you want to see God move. I’m talking about personal and/or corporate consecration. Let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about Noah.

This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. —Genesis 6:9

Noah was a man consecrated to God, and God used him to change history. Proverbs 3:32 tells us God “is intimate with the upright.” To truly be led by the Spirit, one must be upright and live a life of daily consecration. Out of this can flow all sorts of new ways of ministry and innovation.

[This has been an excerpt from one chapter of Greg Atkinson’s new book Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization. Go to the book’s website for more info: http://strangeleadership.com/]

7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband

asian mature couple

I  previously shared 7 of the greatest needs of a wife, based on personal observation and experience working with married couples.

Today I continue with the man’s side of the needs.

Here are 7 of the greatest needs of a man.

Respect – This is number one! I would even be emphatic and say every time. In my experience, men are using a different word that means this if they say it isn’t! Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God knew what He was talking about. Men want to know that they are respected by their wives above every other person. Every man feels this internal pressure to excel. We need to be successful at least one place in our life. If we can’t feel that respect in our home, we will find that it somewhere else.

Ladies, you want your husband to love you unconditionally. Are you willing to respect him unconditionally? You probably aren’t always extremely “lovable”. (I can say that through my blog where I’d be afraid to say it in person — but you know it’s true.) He’s probably not always respectable. Do you want to be loved any less when you aren’t at your “best”? Neither does he in the are of respect.

Admiration – Men want to be desirable to their wives. That’s physically, but in other ways too. Are we strong enough — masculine enough for you? Do we meet all your expectations in a man? If our wife is always commenting on the sexier man in the movies or the more successful man in the world we certainly will not feel admired. As an example, if a family struggles financially and the wife complains about it all the time the man hears that as “I’m not good enough.” The greatest assurance of the fact that we have “what it takes” comes from our wives. Men who don’t sense this will often quit trying.

Ladies, if your husband’s success was proportional to your admiration of him — and the communication of that admiration — how successful will he be?

Peace and Tranquility — I get in trouble with this one, but men want their home to be a place to prepare for the world — they want to be able to relax. Men, that is never an excuse for laziness! (Laziness is a sin by the way.) I know this can be an ouch statement, but men want their wives to be their wife, and not their mother! Plus, and this is so important to understand, nagging never accomplishes what the wife hopes it will. It may get done what you wanted done, but not with the heart or attitude you hoped to go with the action. (If you are raising boys, remember this!)

Ladies, is your home a place of peace and tranquility? Someone said the wife/mother is the thermostat of the home? If that’s true, how comfortable are we living?

Commitment – Yes, men want this too! They want to know they are number one with you. Men don’t want to see their wife looking at other men or hear them commenting on how wonderful another man may be. They want to know you are faithful only to them. (Can you women tell we have shallow and fragile egos?)

Ladies, does your husband know he’s number one to you — that no man could ever take his place?

Acceptance/Participation – Husbands aren’t really looking for a wife who will try to change them. Granted many men need changing, but the Biblical way to do this is through prayer and modeling change for us.  Men also want our wives to appreciate our hobbies and interests, since it is so much a part of who we are as men.  You don’t have to love golf, but to know that the lower score is the better is a great plus when we come home after a good game. He’ll need to brag to someone. He’s hoping that someone is you.

Ladies, would your husband say you’re his biggest fan?

Be able to lead – Most men want to lead in their home, but don’t really know how. The wife should allow her husband to make some mistakes and not criticize us when we can’t do something as well as you can, (which we know is many things!) If we take the effort to fix the bed, don’t go behind us and straighten the comforter (or at least don’t let us see you doing it.)  If we find we can’t compete in an area, we just quit trying.  Applaud what we do right and we’ll try harder to please. We really do want to succeed!

Ladies, are you allowing your husband to sense your satisfaction in his abilities to lead? If you want him to lead, ask yourself, are you willing to follow if he does?

An emotional release – I saved the hardest for last. Most men do not know how to function in a highly emotional context. So, when our wives are upset, we panic. We move into a “fixing” mode, which is usually counter-productive. When you are emotionally upset, for whatever reason, and you know it isn’t his fault, it’s helpful if you can just let him know the two of you are okay, he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, it’s not his fault and there is nothing he needs to do to fix it.

Ladies, does your husband ever feel responsible for your emotions that are completely out of his control?

Men, that is my list. What would you add?

7 of the Greatest Needs of a Wife

happy young couple

In my years of counseling and ministering to married couples, mostly in distress, I have learned some principles that run fairly consistent within each marriage. Couples really are not that different from each other.
There are common needs most men and women bring to a marriage in order to make the marriage the best it can be. We may use different terms, but the needs remain relatively similar from marriage to marriage. While this is based on my observations they seem to resonate with many couples.

I’ve also learned that understanding the needs is the first step in addressing them. We only know what we know. Here’s to a better understanding of each other’s needs. Be sure to read the husband’s greatest list HERE.

Here are 7 of the greatest needs of a wife:

Love – Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” How did Christ love the church? 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

Men, do you love your wife above everything else in your life (apart from your Christ relationship) including your work, your hobbies, your friends, family, and even the children? And, more importantly, do your actions prove your words?

Attention – Wives want to be listened to (even when the television is on) and know that we believe what they have to say is important. Our wives would prefer to talk with us over other women, even though another woman might better understand.

Men, are you truly listening to what your wife is saying? Again, do your actions prove this?

Protection – Wives want their husbands to be the defender of the family; not just against the strange sounds in the night, but against all the threats in society. They want us to take the ownership in leading our family spiritually and in teaching our kids how to defend themselves and stay strong in an evil world.

Men, are you working to protect your family — from all threats?

Security/Commitment – The wife wants to know you are going to be there forever. Wives often see their visually stimulated husbands looking at other women. Does she know you won’t cheat on her? Are you going to be faithful always?

Men, can she trust you? Do your actions build that confidence?

Appreciation/Value – Wives want to be valued for who they are as much as for what they do. Wives want to know we see them with value beyond just what she does to keep the household running. Is she more important than the stuff she does? Is she still beautiful?

Men, do you regular tell her what you admire about her? Do you genuinely compliment her — not just what she does?

Compassion – The Bible refers to women as the “weaker vessels”. Of course this doesn’t mean they are less than men, but that men and women are different. Women are going to respond differently to situations. They may cry easier, take longer to resolve things emotionally, feel tired quicker. Also, wives want a little romance in the marriage. (For most of us, if we’ve been married over a week they already know that’s not going to happen with you.) We can all, however, be kind, loving, and occasionally romantic. We usually get good credit here just for honestly trying.

Men, do you understand that your wife is not wired like you? Are you patient with her, allowing her to process things differently than you? Are you still attempting to be romantic at times — pursuing your wife — like you did before you were married?

Partnership – Wives don’t want to do life alone. They want their husband’s participation in raising the kids, making decisions around the house and yes, sometimes even picking out paint colors. They want someone to do life with them, not live two separate lives in the same household.

Men, would your wife say you are truly her partner? Are the two of you becoming one more everyday?

Ladies, that’s my list. Again, it’s from personal observation. What would you add to the list?

A Message from an Old Guy to Young Parents

Boredom

I’m an old guy now.

Officially.

Not really — at least I don’t think so — but to some.

My kids are grown. Out of the house.

Recently, we were having a meeting about church activities and a young man said, “We should get some of the older people in the church involved.”

He meant people my age. I guess “older” isn’t old, but it certainly felt that way at the time.

But, us old guys have learned a few things. And, so here is a word from the old guy.

To parents. Parents who are younger. With younger children.

Here goes…

It’s okay for your child to be bored.

There. I said it. See how old I am?

It’s okay for some time to pass where your children has nothing to do. Where they have no toys — or electronics — nothing to entertain them.

It’s okay for your child to be occasionally bored. It won’t hurt them. It might help them.

I’m a people watcher. It doesn’t seem some parents know this. The children are always being entertained. In the restaurant they have your phone — or their own phone. In the car they have a video rolling. In the store they are often being occupied by something electronic.

They never seem to be bored. If they get bored it seems most of you scramble for a way to quickly entertain them.

And what I’m suggesting is that it’s good for your child to be bored.

Really, it is.

There will be days — when they aren’t ‘being entertained all the time — they might play with sticks. Get their hands dirty. Or, they might just create something new. They could invent a new game. Expand their imagination.

And, in high school — college — in their first job — they’ll get bored. It’s okay. They’ll know what to do — and what not to do — when that occurs.

Don’t misunderstand. Exposing your children to exciting things is fun. The Disney experience can be magical. Enjoy it. I encourage you too if you can, but you don’t have to try to maintain that level of excitement when you come home. It makes Disney even less magical.  Occasionally let them be bored. That’s all I’m suggesting.

And, the old guy spoke.

I know — none of my business. And, you can dismiss it as quickly as it took you to read.

But, for some of you — maybe just one — trust me in this.

3 Ways to Helpfully Lead First Chair Leaders

DoodleBuddyiPad-2

In my post 7 Ways to Attract First Chair Leaders to a Second Chair Position I presented thoughts on keeping a leader who could be the first chair leader (or someday wants to be) in the second chair position. I received good feedback from the post, but some questions, so I decided to write more thoughts on the topic.

I’m still working on a post to identify first chair leaders. I’ve been attempting to do that throughout my leadership career, but haven’t spent much time putting in writing what I have observed. Stay tuned.

Recently, however, I was in a meeting discussing this issue and a specific question was asked I felt I could address now.

A leader asked, “How do I help first chair leaders?”

This team has several first chair leaders, and this seasoned leader is wondering how to best help — and ultimately lead — other seasoned leaders. In a strictly organizational structure or reporting sense, this leader supervises other first chair type leaders, but the reality is, and he readily admitted, they have equal or more experience than this leader has in the area they are assigned to lead. They have a certain expertise in areas they lead this leader doesn’t have. And, many times, he feels they could lead without him in the picture. Yet, this leader is supposed to supervise — lead — them. (That is, by the way, a great start in being a humble, servant leader — recognizing they could do it without you.)

How does he do that in a helpful way?

Great question.

This is not an exhaustive or detailed list. I deal more in principles with this blog, because specifics are harder to answer for each context. And, my previous post shared some other, broader ways. This was the answer that came to my mind at the time. And, it seemed helpful.

Hopefully, if nothing else, it helps shape a thought process. I went to a board and drew out an attempted suggestion of how to lead first chair leaders. (See the picture with this post.)

Do you want to help the first chair leaders you supervise?

Help the first chair leader you supervise draw lines.

That’s right. Draw lines.

Then help them grow within the lines.

Here’s what I mean. Or, at least, I will attempt to share what I mean.

Help them define their purpose. (Represented by the two red lines in the picture.)

These lines represent the scope of what the first chair leader has been assigned to do. They’ve been asked to lead small group ministry, for example. Or, they’ve been asked to lead a missions ministry. Whatever it is they’ve been asked to accomplish, help them draw lines around that assignment — some boundaries if you will — a defined objective. If they are to be successful in what they’ve been asked to do, what would that look like?

Help them realize success. (Represented by the green arrows.)

Help them write clear goals and objectives. Share resources with them. Ask questions to stir their thought process. Give them assistance where needed or requested. Be a consistent cheerleader. Empower them. Don’t control. (See previous post.) Get out of the way when you’re in the way and get in the middle of things when you’re needed and requested to be there. Remember, these are first chair leaders. They can likely handle this without a lot of supervision, but your position, authority and experience may be extremely helpful at times. Be available when needed. Also, you may have to provide accountability at times and be their coach. And, if absolutely needed, you may need to be the hard voice in their life to help them stay on track towards success.

Help them protect the lines. (Represented by a blue “X”.)

There will always be interruptions — competing ideas and agendas — for a person’s time. As a leader of first chair leaders, you can help keep them within the predetermined lines. You can help protect the influences outside the lines. When they are asked to do something that doesn’t line up with the goals and objectives agreed upon, you can defend their right to say no. Of course, we all have to handle interruptions at times and do things we hadn’t “planned” to do, but you can help them discern when to step outside the lines.

Does that help? What other questions does it generate for you?

Should the Position Be Paid or Volunteer?

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I received a great question recently. 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t give a good answer. 

Or, at least, not the answer they were seeking. They wanted an answer that would solve the issue. I couldn’t give that answer. 

This individual is being asked to do a part-time job at the church plant he attends. It would be launching a new ministry within the church. As with most plants, there is a limited budget, so they can’t afford to pay him. He agrees with the church’s philosophy to mostly have volunteers instead of paid staff. He believes, however, that this position is too involved to be volunteer — especially for his current life situation. He feels he should be paid if he agrees to take on the challenge, but the leadership disagrees. 

He asked me if I would write a post about when a position should be paid and when it should be volunteer. 

Here is my answer:

I wish I could tell you there are hard set guidelines here, but there aren’t — in my opinion. So much of this issue depends on context. 

The post I would write, and I think I might, would be more on principle than anything. 

It depends on the church and the individual. And, both should be part of the answer. And, the answers don’t always easily mesh. 

First, what is best for the church?

For example. Some churches are almost all volunteer. Sounds like this church plant is that way. So, I would want to know about other similar workload positions in the church. Are they paid or volunteer? 

It’s dangerous to start paying one person and not another with similar workloads, unless there is a valid reason for doing so. It causes tension and disharmony. 

At the same time, churches have to make decisions that are best for the church long term. Once a decision is made to start paying for a position, that usually locks the church into having that position and the ministry for a long time. If that person leaves the church, most churches will look for someone to replace them. It becomes a part of the annual budget process. That is a big commitment, which should be considered. The same is not necessarily true of a volunteer position. 

Then it also depends on the person.

Can that person commit that much time and be volunteer? Some can and some can’t. 

I know one very large church — several thousand people attend each week — that has a volunteeer executive pastor — and he is full time. He’s a self made millionaire and didn’t want the church to pay him. Obviously, this is an extreme example, and most churches couldn’t do that, but there are times the person simply doesn’t need the income for their volunteer efforts. That’s okay — and a huge blessing to the church.

I also know a church that had a single mom as a key volunteer. As her role grew she needed to be paid in order to handle the extra time she could have worked elsewhere and her child care. The church felt it would have been taking advantage of her otherwise. 

A church has to think what’s fair and equitable for the church and all the individuals involved. 

I advised this gentleman that I would probably be asking myself if I could afford to do this for free or, if I’m going to invest my time — in fairness to myself and family, do I need to be paid? 

The church needs to be asking a fairness question too, because it impacts more people than just this one person. If they pay him, will that open up a need to pay others with similar workloads? Will it set a precedent for this ministry and others?

But, that brings up a few thoughts about answering these type leadership issues:

I always try to go with principles first. What’s the larger principle guiding the individual decisions? Sometimes it helps to think in those terms. 

I try to think big picture. Almost every decision impacts more than one person or one situation.  

I am careful not to lock myself into one answer — on non-Biblical issues. One problem I have with a strict policy is that it often keeps the church from individualizing their response based on the unique set of circumstances at the time. In the case above, whether positions should be paid or volunteer, there are always parameters to be considered beyond that which a rule can be clearly written. 

Those are a few thoughts — long answer to a shorter question.

But, aren’t most leadership issues like that? Many times we find it easier to write hard, fast rules than to do the harder work of thinking bigger. Without the rules it’s messier too, but that’s why we need good leadership — to navigate through the messy to get to the best.

What do you think?