When the service at church was over today, I talked with one of our lead ushers about some behind the scenes issues we had and thanked him for all his hard work. I told him no one knew any of that was going on.
Everything went perfect…that’s real leadership. Isn’t that true though? Real leadership happens behind the scenes to produce something great in the open. Most of the real work happens in the private to accomplish end result in the public. I believe in working hard to produce a great experience in our church services.
With anything, there are surprises you just can’t prepare for in advance. However, you can prepare in such a way that when surprises come they don’t bring down the house. The main reason you prepare in the background is so Jesus gets the spotlight. John the Baptist said it this way, “I must decrease and He must increase” (John 3:30) because He is “above all” (John 3:31).
True humility in leadership doesn’t brag about all the details they do in the background. They simply do what they do out of calling, commitment, and compassion. Think of it this way. When a chef presents your meal, he doesn’t go into how two people didn’t show up for work, how they ran out of ingredients and made a mad dash to the supermarket, how there were 15 other orders going on at the same time, how a fire broke out on the stove, and so on. The results speak for themselves.
There are over 100 people working in the background to make things happen in our services at all three campuses (ushers, preschool, children’s church, parkers, greeters, technology, sound engineering, multimedia, lighting, computers, office staff, hospitality, maintenance, housekeeping, etc.). While they deserve recognition, they would never demand it. After preaching a sermon, I don’t say, “That 45 minute message took 15 hours to study. I read four commentaries, cross-referenced five Bible studies, read my scriptures in six translations, listened to three other sermons on the topic, and spent an hour alone rewriting the outline just to make the points flow perfectly.” Results speak for themselves.
Let me be clear, I feel inadequate most times I preach. It’s not because I don’t feel called or compelled with a message. I just realize more than ever I need Jesus to produce real results and help me be humble and genuine. Every Saturday by noon I cut off my study and say something like, “That’s as good as I can do this week Lord. Please speak through my limited words, cover my inadequacies, and help people overlook the delivery and hear the very heart of You the Messenger. Make what I say plain, understandable, and point people to You. Jesus, you alone can change lives. Thank you for allowing me to speak on Your behalf.”
Some weeks I feel overwhelmed, inadequate, unprepared, even discouraged. But I know the One who has called me is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). What is it God has called you to do? Prepare in the background.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Let God not only use your hands (talent) and your head (intellect), give Him your heart (devotion). As a Christian music artist said, “Play the background and let God take the lead.”
Stephen Harrison is the senior pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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