If you have been a part of leading a ministry or organization in any capacity you have for sure hit some walls along the way. I remember when I first got started leading in youth ministry. I was fresh out of college, full of vision and over 8 years of experience working with youth. The only problem with this was I had never been the main leader in charge. I always found myself playing a supporting role.
In leadership, you find that there are a few walls that you will run into along the journey. The question we should ponder is what do we do when we hit these walls? I would like to offer a few thoughts about how to break past the walls that try to keep you, the leader stagnant in the growth process of your organization.
Along my journey in the church and in the non-profit sector, over the past several years I have found that walls can come in into your leadership to begin to make you shallow and to make you get stuck in a place that you haven’t been. If walls can get you to lose focus and drive then they have done their job.
“If you allow the walls you hit to challenge you and grow you, rather then make you feel discouraged and ready to quit, then you have done a good job as a leader facing your walls.” – Jose
Here are three walls I have faced in leadership. Sidenote: I will explain the walls then I will give you the answer on how to move past each wall.
- The first wall I faced was the leadership wall. This was the wall where my leaders became stagnant and became more of a liability than an asset to our ministry and organization. This wall is a dangerous one because if leaders are stuck and stagnant then your students will be also. However, the opposite is true too! If leaders grow so will the people following.
- The second wall I faced was the money wall. The money wall was a big wall for me to overcome. Think about this… What do you do when you are working on a limited budget with little to no resources but you are still expected to create and build a program that students will be drawn too?
“Money is usually an issue when it comes to urban ministry but you do not have to allow money to keep you stuck or stagnant.” – Jose
- The third wall I faced was the growth wall. The growth wall is probably the most common one. This is the wall where your program hits a plateau in its numerical growth. It can honestly be one of the most frustrating walls that you are up against.
How do you break this wall in such a way that people are once again excited, proud and willing to invite new people to your program?
No matter what wall you are facing I have good news for you; The key to breaking through each one of these walls is found in deep relationships. Yes, that’s right! It is not found in money or resources. It is found in your ability to build deeper relationships in each of these walls. In fact, I think the goal of a wall is to cause you to regain focus on the depth of the relationships you have.
In business, they say when you hit a wall, you should pivot, innovate, then find a creative solution. I venture to say that it is exactly the same in ministry. When you find yourself against a wall, you should take a step back and ask yourself what can you do to go deeper relationally with those around you? If you study what the need of students are, I would imagine you won’t find the answer to be the best program or a lot of money. The answer to that question will be found in some type of real deep relationship. Each wall is just the same!
When you face the leadership wall remember this is a time to build deeper relationships with your leaders. You will find that some leaders should transition out and others need just a little extra attention. When you face the money wall, build deeper relationships with the people in the program so they do not need money to be fulfilled. Also, build deeper relationships with people who may be able to give into your program so that money won’t be an issue. When you face the wall with growth, scale back the program and focus your energy into relationships. When you get people to be on your side fully they will help you press past that wall.
Bottom line is this: If you find yourself facing any type of wall, pivot and ask yourself how can you go deeper relationally and watch the walls come tumbling down?