When the king smiles, there is life;
his favor refreshes like a spring rain.
We could all learn a thing or two from a good kindergarten teacher: Recently I helped in my kids classes at school and was impressed with all of their teachers and the great work they do. But I have to say, after spending an hour in my son’s kindergarten class I was not only impressed by his wonderful teacher but reminded again of an important and seldom pushed leadership principle. FUN. His teacher was making sure that while those kids learned they had fun in the process. Food, games, laughter. FUN!
It’s a difficult principle to push too much as a church leader because it’s tough to see a passage in the Gospels where Jesus had a ping pong challenge with the Disciples, or King David raced go-carts with his inner circle. But that does not negate the power fun has on people who lead and those that follow.
Leadership is stressful. The stakes are high and the expectations are even higher. It is so vitally important that as leaders we regularly grab those that follow us and take some time to just have fun with them. And of equal importance, when they appear to be getting burnt out or lacking productivity, maybe we should poke around at their team and see if they are having fun together too. All work and no play sucks. -or something like that, right?
Here are a few tips I am learning:
1. When stress is high, Pray & Play more, Press & Plan less.
So when things are spinning out of control, for most of us the tendency is to get more directive, more passionate for results, more clear about direction. STOP IT! How about, call out the difficulties, pray and then go play together. I’m not encouraging you to be cavalier about people’s pain or insensitive to their troubles. But I am suggesting that giving them an outlet to escape that reality in a healthy manor for a time before you tackle the obstacle TOGETHER will do worlds of good. On the other side of the play time you will all have released some tension and may have also created the kind of comraidarie that will be needed to get over the next obstacle together.
2. Think of FUN for your team in the same light as FUNDS.
Every ministry, every leader, every organization is thinking of how to fund the next event, effort or outing. Funding is hugely important, no doubt. I suggest you hold FUN in the same high priority for any team or ministry. If they need twice as much money next year to accomplish the challenges before them, they will need twice as much fun too. That may mean losing a difficult member of the team, or adding a goof-ball. Maybe it is a weekend retreat to play or a planned thank you dinner.Maybe simply getting the worship band together for some bowling and a pitcher of beer will go a long way in sorting out who stole who’s solo…and who really cares after a spare anyway?!
Ecclesiastes 8:14 reminds:
3. SOME DAYS YOU’RE A HERO, SOME DAYS A VILLAIN. FUN WILL HELP YOU COPE UNTIL THE RESULTS COME!
For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon. ’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners! ’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”
Recently at a staff meeting we went around the circle for some updates and it was a dark and cold set of circumstances. Life tragedies, relational loss, financial crisis, emotional meltdown. We had it all. After prayer I looked down at my agenda of important things to discuss for the remainder of the meeting and knew in my heart we had to pause. I told everyone to get up and come with me into the next building. For the next hour we played around-the-world-ping-pong. WE laughed, we competed. We had fun together. Oh, and ff course I won.
No, it did not erase the pain or end the heartaches, but our hearts were that little bit more knitted to one another. So play some ping pong, go to lunch, have a beach day. But whatever you do, be sure your team is having fun together. Your leadership will easier and your team more united, I promise.
To read more LEADING THOUGHTS from Lead Pastor, Stu Streeter click here