Screen shot 2010-03-03 at 9.15.48 AMOkay, this statement is partially true, but the way most people use it, I don’t buy it.

Yes, when it comes to leadership, the higher you go, the less people you have to surround you with support and encouragement. At times you have to make tough calls that no one understands. This is the part where loneliness comes in. However, that’s only fully true if you’ve been doing ministry alone.

Last Saturday I spoke to volunteers in our Children’s Ministry about never doing ministry alone. I’m not sure I effectively communicated what my heart truly feels, but I shared how vital it is that we shouldn’t just do our ministry job, whether as a staff member or weekly volunteer, but we should seek out others to share in the joys and frustrations of ministry. My words of encouragement were:

  • Lean into the community of those you already serve with. Most of our volunteers already serve in a consistent team each week, but developing relationships with those you serve with isn’t always natural. I shared that ministry is rewarding, but when you share your ministry experience with others you’re connected with, the reward is exponentially greater.
  • Expand the community of those you serve with. Life is busy. Just becasue you’re one a 9:30 Early Childhood ministry team doesn’t mean relationally you going to connect with everyone on your team. Since you’re already serving, ask a friend or another family member to serve with you. That way you can have a shared ministry experience with someone you’re already in community with.

I’ve found both of these concepts to be so incredibly true. Some of the best relationship I’ve had in my life have been with those I serve with, both as volunteers and as staff. In the last several years, I’ve made intentional efforts to develop strong relationships with those outside my church. It’s true that higher up in leadership, there are less people in your organization to really connect with relationally. It is possible to feel a certain amount of loneliness within your organization, which is why it’s so important to develop key relationships outside of your organizations. Connect with others doing the same job as you. That way when things are tough and few people understand what you’re going through, you’ve got someone to talk to that understands, can encourage you and pray with you. When you need ideas or a fresh perspective, call on these other relationships. As I transitioned into a new job almost two years ago, I was able to lean heavily on good friends who remained consistent in my life although everything else for me changed.

It doesn’t have to be so lonely at the top, it’s just up to you to make it that way.