Future-Proof Ministry

Recently I participated in a thought experiment with some fellow collegiate ministry leaders. We were all given the same scenario:

“In 12 months you will be dead. After the first 9 months, you will no longer be able to leave your house. List the steps you will need to take to ensure the future stability of your ministry after your death.”

Our responses spanned from simple preparatory actions to a long list of paradigm-altering shifts in a very short time. I was somewhere in the middle. It was surprisingly clarifying for me as I looked at this giant yellow wall-sized Post-it note filled with actions needed for my ministry to survive me. It was equally sobering to see the ways in which the ministry I lead is dependent on me. If I died, it would too.

There’s something about ministry that makes it hard to release to others – even those we trust. We pour ourselves into it for the sake of life-change and we hold on so tightly, we can end up choking it, or at least being too controlling. Most of the time, we don’t even realize it’s happening.

What if the most strategic thing I can do as a leader in my ministry is to lean back rather than lean in? It challenges my team to step up and take ownership and it challenges me to learn to take my hands off of as much direct leadership and start focusing more on empowering other leaders around me.

A couple of questions are bouncing around in my mind:

  • Am I intentionally replacing myself?
  • How am I going about future-proofing my ministry?

What are your answers to these questions?

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