On Church Leadership

John Braland (Blue) 2017.jpg

Why We Need To Equip Those Who Serve

By John Braland, President of IMF's Board of Directors

My first real job was bussing tables. It wasn’t a glamorous job and it didn’t pay much, but it was a job, and I needed money to buy a car so I took it. On my first day of work I didn’t clean any tables or stack any dishes, I sat in front of a T.V. and watched training videos. I learned proper hand washing techniques and company policy. After watching six hours of videos I was sent home and told to come back again the next day. On day two, I was given a name tag, a tour of the hotel, and shown where the employee lockers were. Then, the manager taught me the dress code, explained how to properly wear an apron, and walked me through the kitchen to familiarize me with their methods and standards. She taught me how to properly clear a table and sanitize it for the next guest. When she was done, she told me to come back the next day for more training. I thought all the training was crazy because all I was doing was busing tables and how hard could it be? 

I returned two days later, put my personal belongings in the locker, strapped on my apron, anticipating going to work. When I finished putting on my uniform, the manager looked at me, made a few adjustments to my apron, and then introduced me to the servers. She told the lead server to have me follow him around for the night to see what he did. All I did the entire night was shadow him, watch him interact with customers, and clear tables. On my fourth day of work, I finally bussed my first table. What I didn’t recognize or appreciate at the time, was the value of training. I thought all I was doing was clearing tables and bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen; but

I believe that people will enjoy serving more if they are equipped to do what they are called to do. That is why the church I pastor developed leadership streams for ministry. A leadership stream is an intentional, systematic method of equipping you to do what you feel led to do. Over the course of the year each leadership stream is designed to equip people in the following ways:

  1. Make sure people know where to find the resources you need.
  2. Share who is the to go to when you have questions.
  3. Explain what is expected of people when they serve.
  4. Include people on the team so they feel supported and included.
  5. Give people the opportunity to voice concerns, provide new ideas, and present solutions.
  6. Provide the feedback people need to grow as a person, in their ministry role, and as a leader.

Even though I only worked as a busboy for a short period of time when I was sixteen, I still clear and sanitize my table at home the same way I was taught way back then. In the same way, as leaders we must be committed to equipping, encouraging, and empowering our volunteers so that they can feel confident that you are making a significant kingdom impact.