Lead with authenticity.
When you think about the leaders who have shaped you the most, what stands out about them? Is it their drive? Their ability to fill a room? The way they speak truth?
As I look back over the women who have influenced me the most, the trait linking them all is their authenticity. I remember their stories―especially the painful parts. They could have tucked their challenges away in a journal, or hidden them in their pasts. Instead they chose to share them, confident that their pain had a purpose and that it was, in part, meant to bring healing to someone else.
Ministry is hard. Life does not always go as we plan. Our next step is never easy―sometimes we fail. We need people who will not shy away from telling us hard truths, but who will also build us up, teach us how to work through pain, and encourage our growth.
As women serving in the church, many of us now occupy positions of leadership as the women we once esteemed. Will we be authentic with those we mentor, disciple, and lead? Will we listen well? Will we speak the truth in ways that offer hope and healing?
It’s easy to stuff our hurts. It’s tempting to portray our life and ministry as better than they really are. If we do, however, we miss the essence of true community, along with the character and courage it builds.
People learn best when they connect with someone else’s pain—their loss, failure, or stress—so be appropriately honest with those you serve. You cannot trust everyone with your deepest struggles―in fact, you may only be able to entrust those warfare moments to a precious few―but you can share your story in a way that demonstrates you are a work-in-progress, highlighting how God has brought you through.
Church ministry is stressful, sacred, and significant work. The daily pressures we face as we lead meetings, provide vision, offer counsel, and teach God’s truth weigh heavy on our souls. How can we possibly meet so many needs and live up to so many demands?
The answer is not easy, but it can be summed up in one simple script: “You walk with God and then teach others out of that.” Let’s live―and lead―from the overflow today.
Amanda DeWitt is a writer for a global non-profit organization, freelancer, and blogger. She is married to a high school football coach and has a one-year-old little boy.