Even after people have started out along the path and we’ve provided some on-the-job training, we’ll still need to provide continuing support. The challenges our leaders will face are far from over. The support we provide may be of a different type—we certainly don’t want to micromanage people by continuing to watch their every step—but we can remain involved and present. When leaders are turned loose at this point without support, it almost invariably leads to burnout or blowup. To counter this, we can still serve them through coaching by acting as a sounding board, a partner in celebration, and providing a fresh perspective. Ongoing support matters.
Whether leaders have been serving for 6 months or 6 years, they will continue meeting with new challenges—especially if they are continuing to grow and trying new things. And they’ll need someone alongside them to help them decide how best to meet those challenges. If they are leading a small group, a conflict will arise. If they are leading worship, they’ll have a lot of miscues and technical issues going wrong one Sunday. Yet they will also have successes to celebrate. Their small group is ready to multiply. Their relational engagement has resulted in a friend coming to know Christ. Now what? They need someone alongside them to celebrate, provide resources, and help them figure out how to take the next steps.
Leaders always, always, always, need a team or support structure of some kind. We never grow out of that need. It is foundational to the culture we establish, model, and pass on to others. And when we look back, we see that relational support is what Jesus modeled for us as well. Leaders need companions to coach, encourage and challenge them at every stage along the path.
- What progress can we celebrate?
- What’s the next intermediate goal?
- What mid-course corrections do I need to make?
- How can we improve?