Joy in leadership
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS
REV. JAY HANSON
Last week I, Anne, attended a Children’s Ministry conference with two of my friends and coworkers from The Chapel Ministries. While there, we had the opportunity to ride in a limo bus. The three of us were visibly excited about this opportunity and were snapping pictures and laughing at the ridiculousness that we would be so excited about a limo with neon lights, curved pleather seats and way too many cup holders. After the bus started moving, the lady sitting next to me said, “You are the group we all wish we could be.” While others on the bus quietly boarded and took their seats in reserved civility, we took the opportunity to appreciate the little joy God had sent our way in that moment. Our joy was contagious and it was attractive to those around us. We began to engage those around us in conversation and our joy and enthusiasm spread.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” This verse reminds me the world doesn’t need a leader with a crushed-up spirit and an overinflated view of their importance and responsibility. What the world does need is more leaders with joyful hearts who lead from an understanding that they are first and foremost a child of God themselves.
Joy is attractive in a world where pain and misery run rampant. Someone who delights in the simple pleasures of the world around them is like a breath of fresh air in a world stale with selfishness and consumerism. A leader who visibly loves what they do and has a personal passion for Christ and developing a relationship with others has much more influence than one who is consumed by rules, regulations, and the opinions and approval of others. Want to bring others to Christ? Exhibit joy.
So, church leaders, if our assignment is to bring others to Christ, and if joy is so attractive, how are we using that joy to bring others to Christ? Do people look at our churches and see a bunch of “crushed spirits” and “dried-up bones?” Or do they see a congregation of joy-filled people who regularly laugh together and express sheer delight in being children of God? It’s true that our job as church leaders is serious and has eternal consequences. But I don’t believe the best way to accomplish that assignment is through a furrowed brow, stern words, and a harsh demeanor. Let your joyful heart be the medicine that draws others to the Great Physician who can heal their soul and make them eternally well.
Here are a few ideas for developing a culture of joy in your congregation:
- Don’t take yourselves too seriously in worship. Have fun! Worship is meant to be a joyful praise to God! Find ways to laugh together during your worship experience – humor is attractive to first-time guests.
- Laugh at yourself and your missteps. People are drawn to someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. This puts others at ease and allows them to laugh at their own mistakes.
- Spend time in the community at local events interacting and having fun with those around you. Stay away from church “cliques” – encourage everyone to include someone new in the laughter and fun.