A Note from Chris Adams: I wonder how many of you are in a transition in your ministry, your church, or your leadership team. It seems things are ALWAYS changing, and nothing is static anymore. I’m old enough to remember a time that things stayed the same for a while. That’s no longer true. That means that you must always be developing the leaders around you to match the changing needs, church systems, and world we live in. Read this timely article by Simone Monroe, the director of Women’s Ministries at Lake Pointe Church in Dallas, TX, and pray about who you will mentor as you lead.
Changes in leadership are difficult at best. When transitioning leadership, two primary skills are essential for success—leadership mentoring and environmental scanning.
1. Leadership Mentoring
Leadership mentoring, not just spiritual mentoring, is one of the essential skills needed for smooth and seamless transitions in leadership. You cannot afford the luxury of waiting until you know there will be change to develop this skill. What if you unexpectedly become ill, have surgery, or you have to move across the country with only a few weeks’ notice? What happens to the ministry then? We have all been there and seen ministries flounder and even collapse because the person or persons in charge handled everything without mentoring other leaders to know how to handle any given situation. Most of us don’t feel we have the time to mentor others because it slows us down or is just too much trouble. I am of the opinion that if you’re truly interested in the ministry (rather than your own leadership), you can’t afford NOT to take the time to mentor others as leaders.
Never do ministry or attend learning venues without taking someone with you. This is one of the most effective ways of mentoring future leaders. Preparation for future success in the leadership arena is developed when a woman is exposed to learning opportunities that the leader is already attending. After you attend the learning experience, debrief and share insights. Another way of mentoring women effectively is allowing them to work beside you, being privy to how planning, decision making, and execution of the entire ministry are handled—including dealing with problem people, situations, and logistics.
2. Environmental Scanning
The second essential in preparation for successful transition in leadership is what I call environmental scanning. This skill is difficult to teach, but when coupled with the process of global thinking about ministry (how decision and direction will affect the present and future of all people and ministries involved), it is more easily conveyed to learners. Environmental scanning has to do with looking at society and changes in our culture to see what will be coming in the near and distant future (both positive and negative) that will need to be dealt with and/or implemented in ministry BEFORE it happens. This skill can assist a leader in preventing disaster or preparing in advance for ministries to be established in the future, thereby capturing momentum. Environmental scanning is seen by observing trends, watching for potential leaders, reading, and staying abreast of what is happening in churches across the country and the world.
Learning first to implement these two skills in your own leadership, and then passing them on to leaders whom you are attempting to develop, is crucial for successful transition. My advice is start today!
Simone Monroe is the director of Women’s Ministries at Lake Pointe Church in Dallas, TX, a Global Strategist for ProvenWay Ministries and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. As a speaker, conference leader, and freelance writer, she is also a member of the Association of Women’s Ministry Professionals. Simone has earned a Masters degree in Christian Leadership and a Certificate in Women’s Leadership from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, TX. Simone’s passion is teaching and developing women to fulfill their God-given potential.