Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Handing It Over

Written by: on October 11, 2013

I was 21 years old, wet behind the ears and had no idea what I was doing in ministry.  Just three weeks before I was pursuing a job in healthcare, now through a crazy turn in events I found myself serving as a summer missionary for a local inner city Youth For Christ.  The Executive Director and then personal mentor pulled a little school desk into his office, butted it up against his desk and told me it was mine.  What he said next has stuck with me for years, “Everything I do, you will do…  Everything I see, you will see… Everywhere I go, you will go…, that’s how you learn!  Oh, and by the way, the Senior High Ministry is now yours”.  It wasn’t long into my time serving alongside Jerry that I began to understand his passion for discipleship and flat level leadership.


This past week while reading Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement by Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori I was struck by the fact that most successful Pentecostal churches have a relatively flat organizational structure.  For most pastors in these churches, they do not measure their success by their own self importance and indispensability; rather the pastor’s mission is to nurture the gifts of others, to train people who could take his or her place and who could replicate the ministry by planting other churches.  During my reading three key themes emerged in relation to handing over ministry well.

Three Keys

Handing it over takes humility…  Without humility very few movements of God happen, if at all.  Humility is the foundation for God and others to be present in a broader movement of His spirit.  According to Miller and Yamamori, pastors with excessive charisma actually create a dilemma for themselves and their congregants, mainly because their people are often attracted to them rather than God or even the vision of the church.

Handing it over takes development…  When we develop we become others oriented.  To not be others oriented in life and ministry can in it’s extreme be somewhat narcissistic.   In developing others we capture the New Testament fulfillment of the Great Shema being played out in Mark chapter 12.  Which, as Jesus stated  is loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself.  When we develop others, we participate in the equipping of the broader kingdom.  Our very actions display a gospel centric message which is on display for those we are entrusted to serve.

Handing it over means releasing well…  Jerry would often say, “We don’t measure success based off numbers or numeric growth, but rather by the amount of individuals we disciple and release.  Healthy ministry develops individuals and then releases them to the broader kingdom.”  It was during these years that God formed in me a desire to release well.  Holding on to others often truncates their personal and ministerial growth as well as cuts off the natural seasons of your own ministry.  When we fail to release, we make ministry about us, failing to trust God in faith for our very own needs.


Coming Full Circle

In those early days, I spent two years with Jerry.  He taught me much about myself as well as how to care for and minister to others.  When the time came, he released me well.  In fact, he was one of my biggest supporters.  20 years later, I am now 41 years old.  Jerry is still the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ, making disciples and releasing well.  He is also one of my most valued Adjunct Professors on my teaching team at the college.  Technically, he now works for me, but I and the rest of my team learn from him every day.  Alongside pouring into our student ministry team, Jerry is still investing into our young undergraduate students, developing and handing over wisdom to the future generation of ministry leaders.

I am deeply thankful for his model of this principle in my own life.

About the Author

Richard Rhoads

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