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Let Go and Let Grow

If I have seen anything, it is that as followers of the ULC, you are passionate about finding healthy ways to grow! You are excellent at empowering leaders. You believe there are important business aspects in the holy things we do, and you allow concepts from all different parts of the body to add value to your organizations. You want to disciple people, modeling Jesus, and see them take those newfound skills to love others well and lead using them not just in your churches but in their homes and workplaces, so all may know him!

So in these few minutes together I want to explore something we don’t always anticipate in building healthy teams- in these holy businesses you lead, what happens when the dream works?

Recently my husband and I attended a biblical financial planning session. We had done this years ago, and we were definitely in a different place financially when we went to this first session, “clutching our pearls,” as we say in South Carolina, over the debt we had managed to accumulate as newlyweds. We now have one child in college, and two in elementary, and we wanted to do a check-in on the plan.

The interesting part of this workshop was we were at this weird loss at the beginning of the session. We couldn’t figure out what to do next. It was about this time, we started the portion of the workshop where we worked on dreams and blessing others. I laughed as he mentioned dreaming because I tease my husband about being steady but incapable of dreaming sometimes. He legit does not dream, but also in real life, he’s as steady and stable as they come. This is a win for me but dreaming really freaks him out!

At that moment, in that room, we realized we needed to start dreaming. It was like we did not know how. God wants us to dream, but sometimes, in training, and in correction, we forget what it is like to look at life in wonder and dream about possibilities.

I digress! I say dreaming, but you may say goal setting, planning, and vision casting to define the growth mindset forward thinking you do. Dreaming about the changes that come from leadership development is important because we must know where we are headed to anticipate and plan for the growth we want.

If we don’t walk the vision for discipleship/leadership development all the way out in vision, we risk giving our teams whiplash as they run into organizational speedbumps when they get up and running. When you develop people they get excited, they become excellent and passionate stewards and momentum builds as more people follow Jesus and take the next steps to grow in their faith. Those leaders then begin to dream bigger, run faster, and at some point, your staff and top leadership begin to feel something different- many times, something unexpected.

The Crush

In Colossians 3:17 he says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When people begin to experience spiritual growth and they see their serving and their work as being for the Lord, they lead with excellence. “The chair is put in that spot with those rows because this experience is being designed for God Himself,” hits differently. As people are placed in the right spots and obediently respond to God’s call on their lives, though, that is what happens.

So as these people grow, get excited, and start serving from a Colossians 3:17 mindset, they start generating amazing ideas, thinking of things you haven’t, building teams, leading great new ideas, taking things off your plate, and so on, and so on… This can create some insecure feelings, uncomfortable feelings, and jealous feelings.

If we have not taken a moment to dream of what this transition will look like, we could react with negativity toward the new shining star or the leader that now is building an excellent team who reports to him. In short, growth begins to create potentially negative feelings in a leader. What do we do with this?

Likewise, when that excited, doe-eyed staff member drops a ball, have we walked that out in our minds and worked through the desire to take it all back and do it ourselves? We do the same things we would do scripturally. We would replace the negative feelings with those of life and encouragement. We would find our success and fulfillment in the growth of others.

That gut reaction, the impulse to close our fists and cling to what seems like our proverbial baby too tightly, may feel like protection. We can keep it safe, we can continue to handle it the way it has always been. We can protect our role and the comfort of it. Is it possible, however, that we could be crushing the very thing we were given to steward through growth?

Let Go

In the secular business world, healthy leaders are taught to plan for change regularly. When someone is hired, they are given feedback on their observed strengths and growth opportunities, they work a plan of training in their area and role simultaneously with ongoing development.

This development is on every level in an organization. This means someone who started a new project, team, or initiative has to, at some point, relinquish that to the next in line to grow and develop.

Biblically, those who made the biggest impacts for the kingdom were those focused on the legacy. Moses, those we deem the “good kings,” Elijah, and Paul to name a few, all knew and openly discussed their seasons of leadership and spent their final moments passionately instructing those next to them to take the handoff. Jesus modeled this best, of course. After his baptism and time in the desert, Jesus spends every moment of ministry with others at his side, learning and equipping them to carry on the work.

If the business world knows and understands how to develop things well and grow personally in the process to prepare for the next assignment, then we should be setting the gold standard in doing this well, being rooted in the knowledge that we were created as stewards and caregivers.

Let Grow

To continue to help things grow, we have an important assignment- we have to grow ourselves! Proverbs 19:20-21 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” If we ever find ourselves leading in ministry without mentors, or without awareness of our weak spots, we are not positioning ourselves or our organizations for growth.

If you started something and it’s on autopilot, truly investigate if you should still be leading it. We should go into every venture not only armed with the vision of who can grow or be reached or cared for but also who can grow to lead spiritually alongside us.

But How?!

Real talk. We spend a lot of time making things more complicated than they need to be sometimes….okay, maybe I do this, but I can’t be alone! Getting started is the hardest part, so here is my basic checklist for the starter kit of development:

1. List everything your role requires in every ministry area.

2. Separate the things only you can do from the things someone else can do…Yes, even if you love doing that thing!

3. Start to assign out who could take pieces of your role if they learned it or developed a little more.

4. Schedule a time to chat with each of those people/ that person. This does not have to be a long conversation but it should be intentional and face-to-face without interruption.

5. Have an ICNU conversation- tell them what you see in them and ask them if they would be willing to exercise that gift in the task or role you have in mind for them. Give them space to pray about it but set a deadline for follow-up and actually do it.

6. Do not perform that role or task again without them doing it with you.

7. Keep doing it with them until you or they feel ready to try alone. As long as one of you feels ready, it’s probably worth a shot. We tend to err on not wanting to let go and trust or the other person not feeling equipped to try.

8. Stay with them and be available while they try to do it alone. Nothing will blow up, because you’ll be with them. Allow them to try. Allow it to not look like you exactly. Allow space.

9. Once they are performing at 80%, let them go. Yes, let go and let God. Check-in and be available, but let them run!

Here is the kicker in this process that we don’t discuss, now you have margin! In that margin, our gut will be to investigate, to potentially micromanage, but the more space you can muster, the more you can mentor over manage, and the more you can allow for change and ownership.

“But what do I do then?!” you may be internally asking as your heart pounds thinking through letting go of something. I ask you, what is God waiting to give you? What is he waiting to pour into that clenched fist to spark new growth?

Letting go to let grow causes others to develop spiritually. We cannot forget He has used that season to grow us too, and we are ready for Him to do a new thing in us and through us too, should we choose it.

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