Wednesday and Thursday marked my first ever Upper Room all-staff retreat. I have to tell you, it was a great time. As my colleague, Steve, noted, it was a perfect mix of side-splitting laughter and deep, thoughtful conversations. We spent a good deal of time hashing out what some of our ministry objectives would be for the next season of Upper Room. One that rose to the top of the list was to become a culture of leadership development. This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
One of my strengths is that of achiever. I have a very high work ethic, and am known for working long hours to get the job done. Try as I might though, I can’t get everything done. And as much as I like to think I know a lot, I don’t know it all. One thing I’m learning is that the key to being really successful in ministry is to work yourself out of a job. And that means training others to lead.
We’re working on creating positions at Upper Room called “Volunteer Staff.” They are positions will full job descriptions, expectations and reporting structures, just like staff. They’re volunteer because we can’t afford to pay them yet. I’ve been working at developing two volunteer staff positions, one for sound and one for lights. This last week was a perfect example of what happens when we multiply ourselves through this kind of a process.
Our lead sound engineer, Erik, and I have been talking about re-working the wiring at FOH. We wanted to use the Aviom card in the M7 as a digital snake to feed our IEMs. That would free up a bunch of Omni-outs for other uses, and eliminate a ton of Y-cords. Over the last few weeks I’ve been assembling the parts to make it all happen. I got the first breakout cable soldered up, and Erik did the other one.
We decided that Tuesday was the day to make the change. Here’s where it gets cool. I have a creative staff meeting on Tuesdays. While I was in that meeting, Erik was in the sanctuary, re-working FOH. After my meeting, I came out and helped. We tweaked some things while I was there and we got it mostly put back together. On Wednesday, while I was at staff retreat, Erik was going through everything, finishing up and testing.
This is a beautiful thing as I thought about it. It was hard in a way, because I really like doing installs, and making cables. Call me a geek, but it’s something I love. But how cool is it that I’m able to be off doing one thing, while at the same time, other things are getting done? It’s a multiplication of effort.
As we grow, it will be critical to have volunteer leaders in many areas of ministry. It’s funny, because when I first became a Christ-follower, I went to a small church, and this is just how we did it. Lately, it seems the trend in churches is to hire staff for everything. The downside is that it costs a lot, and it takes away opportunities for the body to serve one another. It’s amazing how much people will commit to if you raise the bar high enough.
I’m really excited to continue to work with my staff–they’re both great guys. My goal is to pour into them, so they can in turn, pour into the rest of the tech team. It not only shares the workload, but also the blessing of being part of something bigger than ourselves. This summer, my desire is to raise up video production teams, and graphic design teams. We have some incredibly talented people in our midst, and to not utilize that creativity is a shame. Plus, I get jazzed about working with people who are really good at what they do.
Think about how much more you could get done if there were two, three or six of you. Then go clone yourself–with volunteers!