I had a very interesting situation happen to me the other day. I was sitting in the middle of a team meeting discussing a new initiative that involved email marketing and databases for our ministry. We were hoping to help pioneer this new technology and program with the help of one of the other ministry offices who was taking the lead. The task required us to think and function in a different way to launch a new-and-improved aspect of our ministry in just ten days. As we summed up the task at hand, we went around the table to make sure we were all on the same page and that the responsibilities were assigned to the appropriate team member with the right set of gifts and strengths. The result: I was not assigned a single task to make the initiative happen!
This required some reflection.
First, I discovered that I’m not as talented as I thought I was. My team had the specific gifts needed to make the initiative happen…without my help! I discovered that I’m not always helpful or needed to make things happen, as important as I might think I am. They could do it and do it better without me. So I had to let go. My job was to empower them to get the initiative started. I was humbled, to say the least.
My second discovery was that a well-rounded team is good to have. My team is small. There are only three of us. We cannot do everything. However, the gifts and strengths we do have are very complimentary of each other. Mother Teresa once said, “You can do what I can’t do. I can do what you can’t do. Together, we can do great things.” As a team, we have been purposeful about naming the gifts that each of us have so that we can do great things. In turn, my job is to make sure that they get to use those gifts on a regular basis. This situation was a perfect example of that.
My final discovery was that there is immense freedom in knowing that I’m not needed. That’s not to say that I was going to leave the ministry for a week and hope for the best. Nor did that mean that I was not going to work with them on this initiative if they needed my help. I still had to make sure the initiative happened. However, it did free me up to work on other initiatives that needed to be done, because I now had a little more time to devote to other projects. And that is a good thing!
Summing up what I learned in this short thirty-minute meeting, I realized that:
- It is good to know what my gifts and strengths are…and what they are not.
- I need to constantly empower my team to use their gifts and strengths.
- I need to be okay with the fact that I may not always be needed to make something happen.
- Freedom is a fabulous gift.
Now, I’m off to work on that other project…