Butterfly Sparks Designs

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Woman Leader to Another - Part 4

Hi friends,

This is my final post in the series I’ve been sharing about being an effective leader. Today I’m going to share about "How to Lead your Oversight Well."

When we talk about leadership we automatically think of a top/down, corporate style leadership. But when you are serving in the kingdom, there is a different frame of reference that we have to consider. I want to talk about upside down leadership- the kind that is focused on serving those who lead you.

If you will view those in authority over you as your greatest kingdom assignment, it will change the way you think and respond to authority. I’m focusing on my assignment to women in this teaching, but the same principles I am about to share also apply to my relationship with Jesus, my husband and my boss.

A friend once said that I was learning to “pastor up.” I was learning something all right! Something I didn’t expect. I found that to “pastor up” isn't about leading or teaching or praying or planning or even waiting at the altar for someone to need my prayers. “Pastoring up” is pure and simple about being a servant to those who have authority over me.

Let us ask ourselves, "Can I put on the apron, wash the dish, fold the towel, type the letter, make the phone call, smile when I am annoyed, be silent when I have a better idea, forgive when I am overlooked, wait when I am tired, stay when I want to leave?"

When I first started working for my boss, I did not know her. I wanted to serve her but I really didn’t know how. So I began with prayer. I prayed for her responsibilities, her family, her health, her vision. Then I prayed for me. I asked God to show me her heart. I wanted to understand her values. I wanted to catch her vision.

As I prayed, the Holy Spirit would reveal little treasures along the way. I would watch her make a decision and the Holy Spirit would highlight a value behind the decision. I would need help with a situation. When I took that to her, I’d watch her problem solve. I learned what was most important to her and how she would like me to respond in various situations. When I couldn’t reach her for some important decision, I’d ask God to give me some insight into how she would respond. The more I prayed for her, the more she became a revelation to me. The more revelation I had, the better equipped I was to serve.

"Pastoring up” is really all about love. Can I serve out of no other motivation than that I am called to love? The more I “pastor up” the more I find that if I serve with a selfish heart, seeking my own agenda, the harder and harder the assignment becomes. But if my focus is truly to love, then service becomes simple.

Jesus Christ set before us the lifestyle of “pastoring up.” I am reminded that He came not to do His own will, but the will of the one who sent Him. He came to serve…to wash feet…to drink the cup…to offer His body to be broken and His blood to be poured out. He came to serve the Father with perfect love.

I believe that you have a heart to serve – or you wouldn’t be still reading this article. A servant’s heart is highly valued and greatly favored in the kingdom. Keep pouring yourself into those who have authority over you and you will find that your work will bring its own rewards.

Here are some very practical tips for how to serve your oversight well.

* Ask Questions and listen. Work hard to let them set the pace and the agenda. Talk less. Listen more.

* Nail down and learn core values. Find out why they make the decisions they make. Let their vision become your vision. Be careful not to build a ministry separate from theirs.

* Good, open and honest communication is essential. Keep them abreast of all major issues – especially staffing, obstacles or conflicts. Try to never let them be surprised or left out of key decisions.

* Learn to communicate what is going on with clarity and consistency – don’t make a leader track you down for oversight or have to drag a report from you.

* Don’t betray a confidence. When close to the leader you will know things early. Learn to be quiet and wait on public information.

* Ponder on how to maximize their strengths and how to cover their weaknesses. Consider how you can help them have the most influence among those you serve with the least amount of time commitment.

* They have more responsibilities than managing you. If something has to give, it might just be you.

* Let them help you problem solve and allow them to be your advocate.

* To get a project off the ground, make sure you understand their purpose for the project. Then strategize some ideas. Then come back and say, “This is what I’m thinking? What are you thinking?” Don’t proceed until you are confident you are on the same track. Once in agreement, then youare free to move forward with great authority and confidence.

Here's a prayer I wrote years ago that has helped me along the way. I hope it blesses you.

Lord, I long to fellowship with the servant of servants. Help me to lay waste to all ambition, glory and self-service, So that I may lay my life low to “pastor up” for those who are placed in authority over me. I choose to sow in service, in order that you may receive glory and honor. May my headship be blessed with no fear of retribution. May those who “pastor up” for me receive grace, mercy and compassion at my hand. And God, would you create in me a true, sacrificial, servant heart of love?

Blessings and honor to you!



marsia said...

loved this when you first started teaching this at WILD 2 years ago? Now I love it even more and appreciate the reminder, as I'm again "divinely" placed in a place to lead outside my role as a momma. thank you for leading by example xoxoxo m

Jan said...

I do remember Marsia. The principals just keep getting richer for me. Thanks for the encouragement. You are a beautiful servant. Love to you. Jan

The Durham's said...

Friend! These are pure golden nuggets of beautiful truth, and they are greatly needed!! What a fantastic word that I have never heard put so smoothly and understandably. I love the clarity He delivers through you.....you grasp and articulate the "feeling" side of life so well, and it is a true blessing!! Love you!

Linnae said...

Oh my goodness Jan this is lovely! I'm so glad I got to read this today. Thank you for sharing. SO SO good! I'm encouraged in so many ways. And I love the pic too =)

Katie Coiner said...

Jan - Thanks so much for sharing your notes with us. I loved this series you wrote, it has been so helpful! I'm so glad to have a women like you in my life to look to for wisdom and great teaching - keep it coming!!!

- I also listened to your interview with Christine Caine, it was so great. I actually listened twice!

love, Katie

Jan said...

Thanks Katie for the feedback - and for the podcast listen! I so glad to have a woman like you in my life! You keep listening and He'll keep speaking! xoxo

Jan said...

Stacy - You are such an encourager. I appreciate you so much. Thanks for continually stopping by for a "read." I love you. xoxo

Jan said...

Linnae - So good to hear from you. Thanks for the feedback. I love this photo too - so great! It was one of the best laughs of the conference. Will I see you at this year's gathering? I'm hoping you make it for opening night. Thanks for all you do. You are appreciated. Jan