The Curse of the One Man Show (and How to Break It)
I always say that the best leaders never lead, and here’s why; if the best leaders are always in the spotlight, then how are you supposed to raise up other leaders? If you are doing everything with excellence, then what can anyone else do? A lot of leaders hold on tight to the reins of leadership, but holding on to leadership is not a Biblical way to lead (Eph. 4:12). Here are a few practical ways to simultaneously raise up new leaders and ensure you don’t become a one-man-show:
1. Lay down your pride. I heard a great spiritual father respond to a question about if he was jealous of his predecessor’s overwhelming success in ministry (that far surpassed his own) say, “Do you get upset when your son does something better than you? No! You rejoice. It should be no different with spiritual sons or daughters you are raising up.” Wise words from a wise man. A huge hindrance to Kingdom growth and potential is the pride of leaders who don’t want to relinquish control. You are not the Messiah, so stop trying to act like it. Be willing to see and call out the gifts in others and be okay when they do things better than you. Paul talked about this at length in 1st Corinthians 12; every body part has their function and no one part does it all. Play your part to the best of your ability… but let others play theirs as well.
2. Celebrate when others succeed. This is a huge culture creator. It actually is psychologically proven that when you celebrate with someone, you create a deep sense of community with them which in turn creates buy in and investment in your microchurch community. Celebrating also acts as a catalyst that brings about confidence that new leaders need when they are just starting out. Celebration moves to confidence and this sort of fatherly/motherly confidence in these new leaders then helps draw out their God given gifts and abilities even more. So don’t be afraid to give public (or private) praise when it’s due to those up and coming.
3. Delegate to people’s strengths and giftings. Find out what their strengths are. What do they love to do? Are they administratively minded? Are they a shepherd? A teacher? An evangelist? Let them lead in these areas. Don’t ask an introverted administrator to lead an evangelism outreach and then get mad at them when the evening tanks! If they are clueless, help them get in touch with their giftings and let them accrue a few wins under the belt in their area of passion and expertise. Let teachers lead the discussion for the night. Allow the shepherds to plan events and do follow up with people. Give people with the gift of hospitality an opportunity to open up their homes to the microchurch or bake for microchurch that week. It is important for them to realize their strengths and then learn how to serve from those strengths. A good leadership principle is that you are not supposed to work on your weaknesses, but lead from your strengths. Most people have not figured out what their strengths are so it is your job to help them figure that out.
It’s not your job to do it all; it is your job as a microchurch leader to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry!