leadership

We Are New City: Leading in the Family

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Over the past four years of Air Force Reserve duty, “I am here for the health insurance” has become my mantra. I served on Active duty for almost five years and felt I had done my time…there was nothing else I needed to prove. During these past four years, I have been asked to put on another rank, move into a supervisory position, help lead in our unit…and my mantra has always been my response. No thanks, I’m just here for the insurance.

I just returned from two weeks in Charleston fulfilling my annual commitment, and again I was asked to lead, and again I said no thanks. Then I was put into a situation where I had to lead, and something changed inside me. With all of its stress and weight, I actually enjoy leading although I’m hesitant to do so. This past weekend I identified some problems and developed a solution and brought it to my leadership for them to correct. I didn’t come in a critical spirit of blaming or accusing, but more of seeing an area that we needed to work on and expecting my leadership to lead us in it. I walked out of that meeting just a little frustrated.

“Airman McConnell, I absolutely agree that is a problem. And I love your solution. Now…you go do it.”

Wait, what!?

“You are a part of this team. You have identified a problem and came up with a solution, and I 100% agree with you on both accounts. I am not the Air Force…WE, are the Air Force. You can’t expect supervisors to fix every problem. I’m empowering you to make changes. Now, go make it happen.”

I had voiced my complaint to a couple of my teammates, and they had concurred. They had encouraged me to go talk to our leadership, and I had done that…and in a moment, I was reminded that it takes a team to lead, make changes, and implement solutions.

As I walked away from that meeting, my frustration turned into an embarrassment. I had made the same mistake so many in the church body make. I had seen problems, and I had even come up with a solution…but I wanted someone else to fix it. I wanted someone else to lead, guide, and implement solutions.

WE are New City.

WE are a priesthood of saints.

WE are a body, perfectly fit together to be the church.

As we continue in our series describing who New City Church is and who we are as individuals, working together corporately, this served as a good reminder for me. We all see things a little different. We notice things that others may not notice. We are all equipped with different gifts, skills, and abilities. When we put our collective experiences together, we benefit, the church benefits, and our community benefits.

We are a family, serving together to see the Gospel advance in the world. If we see a problem or an area that we can grow in, don’t grumble, complain, or leave. Don’t just show up for the insurance. Remember your identity and live it out!

The Call to Lead

For the last couple of months, New City staff and elders have been reading the book Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. The book begins with the premise that the Church should be a locus, or center point, for leadership development. One reason for this is that “leadership, apart from the work of God, cannot produce true flourishing or eternal results.” (p. 2)

And we aren’t just talking about leadership within the Church, though that is certainly a need. The leaders that are developed within the Church can impact our culture on a much larger scale, as they become leaders in many areas of life. In other words, “If we believe, as William Temple stated, ‘The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members,’ then all of humanity benefits from the leaders created and formed in the church.” (p.3, emphasis added)

Why We Need Leaders

We are at an amazing place now at New City. We have grown so much, and God continues to bring new people through our doors just about every week! As attendance increases, the need for volunteers does as well. It’s a really great problem to have! We are so thankful.

As we have grown, we have also begun to feel the need for more leaders acutely and in every area. Sometimes the easiest thing for those leading is to just do everything themselves. However, by doing so, they wear themselves out, and, even worse, do a disservice to those they lead by failing to disciple and develop leadership skills.

The challenge in leadership development is that it takes WORK! It isn’t random. Leaders don’t just spring up out of nowhere. There has to be a plan, a strategy for development and training. It is an investment of time, energy and other resources. The cost can be great, but we believe the reward is even greater as we begin to see our culture changed and the gospel advanced.

What now?

For that reason, we have begun developing leadership “pipelines” in each of our ministry areas. A pipeline is a clear and concise plan. Leadership pipelines name the different levels of leadership and define the character qualities, skills and responsibilities corresponding with each level. Most simply, the pipeline shows the “goal” and how to get there.

Some of you may not see yourselves at leaders. You read all this about development and pipelines, and maybe you’ve already dismissed yourself as a candidate. DON’T DO THAT! We are all called to bring others around us to Jesus. We are all called to play a role in shaping our culture, at home, work, and play. That’s leadership! You are called whether you feel like a leader or not. And God is faithful to equip the ones He has called.

It will look different for everyone. Not everyone will move through the pipelines, and that’s ok. Our hope is to provide the framework and plan, to help others identify potential leaders in every area of ministry, and to help all of you develop the gifts God has given you.

The Goal

As with everything we do at New City, the ultimate goal is to see lives transformed as people begin living in light of the gospel. We don’t just want to develop leaders for the ministry’s sake, or to make our jobs easier. We don’t want to develop leaders just so we can say we did and check it off the list. It is so much bigger than that. There is a whole world of people who need to hear the good news of Jesus. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matt. 8:37). The goal is to raise up leaders who will labor for the sake of the gospel. Won’t you join us?

In the coming weeks, you will be introduced to pipelines in our different ministry areas. If you have questions, please feel free to contact an elder or staff member, and we will be glad to answer!