I’m sitting in an airport and pondering the discussions of a meeting that lasted all day. And while I’m anxious to board my last flight toward home, I’m reminded of the ways today’s conversations will impact the future of leadership in my area of ministry. I’m contemplating how decisions made by a small group of people can affect the trajectory of the future. And I’m grateful for intelligent and smart conversations that I will consider over the weeks ahead.
If you’re in ministry leadership, you need to build space in your schedule for stimulating conversations with other leaders. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” If you don’t understand that pithy proverb, consider the knives in your kitchen. For years, my husband complained that our knives were dull and ineffective. He often pulled out a knife sharpener I inherited from my grandmother. As the blade of the knife rubbed against the iron of the sharpener, the blades became more effective. Sharpening isn’t for looks. It’s for usefulness.
Consider these three reasons you need leaders who will sharpen your ministry leadership:
1. Leaders who sharpen leaders make ideas better. How many times have you thought you had a great idea for your ministry? It might be a really good idea, but when you collaborate with other leaders, they can take one good idea and make it great. They will help you think more creatively, and they will encourage you to dream bigger than you might on your own. They may know people who will invest in your idea, and they know how to find the resources to make dreams become reality.
2. Leaders who sharpen leaders challenge your traditional thinking. We come to meetings with the knowledge we have gained through education, experience, and built-in traditions. Adding younger leadership will give you different perspective. Adding older leadership will give you additional wisdom. Adding women from different life experiences will open your mind to gaps you are missing and challenge the “we’ve never done it that way before” mentality. Adding different ethnicities broadens the way you think culturally and contextually.
3. Leaders who sharpen leaders develop friendships. Today’s meeting was mostly with women I had never met. As we shared ideas, talked about our vision for the future, shared a meal, and learned from one another, friendships were birthed. A mutual respect was developed for others in the room, and I genuinely found myself wishing I had the opportunity to hang out with these women more often. While most of them live in other states, because of technology and mutual conferences, I look forward to a continued relationship with all of them. I want to stay sharpened by their bright minds and experience.
I’m privileged to have these opportunities on a regular basis. In just a few days, I will gather with 20 women leaders from across the country who serve as LifeWay Women trainers. These women are mentors, practitioners, counselors, and friends. I look forward to the fellowship we will enjoy around tables, but I’m excited to dream about the future of LifeWay Women’s training events. You can be part of the conversation when you attend an upcoming You Lead training event or the Women’s Leadership Forum November 8-10. Come prepared to sharpen your leadership skills.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.