Influence

 the shape of leadership

Leading Without a Position

You don’t need a ministry title to make an eternal difference

Andrea Worley on August 12, 2019

My husband, Orion, and I were involved in ministry before we met. Following our marriage, we thought we’d work together as ministers indefinitely. Ten years ago, we moved to Phoenix to serve as youth pastors. But after a couple of rough years, the church closed — leaving us unemployed and without a church home.

I thought we’d quickly return to full-time ministry. However, after several interviews with churches, it seemed God was closing doors left and right. We decided to stay put and make the best of the situation. We found a church, Orion enrolled in graduate school, and I worked in the marketplace.

Seven years later, we can see God’s faithfulness through it all. He has healed our hearts, strengthened our marriage, and given us more opportunities to serve together than we ever had before. We’ve been small group leaders, Orion has led worship, and we’ve worked behind the scenes in a number of other areas.

God has used this season to change my understanding of ministry. I once believed I was only a leader or had influence if I had a title next to my name — if someone knew what I was doing and approved. The truth is, I needed to learn to lead without a title and position.

The Lord showed me how to lead right where I am.

I needed God to work in my heart to show me that ministry never was about me. It isn’t about advancing my agenda or building my kingdom. It is about building His. It is about serving others, even if no one seems to notice.

One Wednesday evening after leading our small group, I waited for Orion to finish worship practice. We had one car at the time, so I stayed in the nursery with our two children. After a while, I took them into the sanctuary to hear their dad sing.

I had been dreading this long evening all day. I knew we would be at church late and the kids would miss their bedtimes. But as I sat there listening to the worship music, I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering to me, “I see it, and it matters to me.”

The small confirmation that the Lord sees our work, that He knows who we are, was what I needed. I realized this was a valuable season. No, we weren’t full-time pastors at a church like we thought we would be.

People may not have known all the things we did or understood our history. But I no longer believed the lie that I needed a title to make a difference for God. The Lord showed me how to lead right where I am.

Wherever you are serving — whether you are a lead pastor or a volunteer — God has placed you there for a reason. Love people, point them to Jesus, and never doubt you are making an eternal difference that will not go unnoticed.

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