Feb 28, 2018

Children's Ministry Leader - Here's How to Earn the Respect of Your Church

Leaders aren't automatically given respect.  It has to be earned.

So, if you're going to lead well, it's vital that you earn people's respect.  People won't follow someone they don't respect.  Oh, they might put up with you for awhile, but they won't go the distance with you if they don't respect you.

If you want to be effective as a children's ministry leader, then you've definitely got to earn the respect of volunteers, parents, staff, the pastor, deacons and elders.

I want to help you be a respected leader.  With that in mind, let's look at the word R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Inside this word, are some of the key factors for being respected as a leader.  Each letter represents a factor.  Ready?  Let's start with the letter R.


In the words of Justin Timberlake - "What goes around comes around."

If you want people to respect you, then it starts by showing others respect.

Respect others by being on time for meetings.

Respect others by returning their phone calls.

Respect others by letting them go first.

Respect others by listening without interrupting.

Respect others by saying "thank you."

Respect others by valuing their opinions.

Respect others by complimenting them on their success.

Respect others by following through on your promises.


One of the fastest ways to not gain the respect of others (or lose the respect you had previously earned) is to let your emotions get out of control.  

You've probably seen the "stay calm and..." graphics on Facebook or on a t-shirt.  It's a good reminder that staying calm will earn people's respect.  Leaders who can bring calmness to chaos will be respected.

When you get angry, stay calm and count to 10 before you respond.

When someone else is shouting in anger, stay calm and bring the decibel level down.  The Bible says it like this in Proverbs 15:1 - "A soft answer turns away wrath."

When someone else is making a scene, bring peace to the scene.

Hardly any of us naturally know how to control our emotions.  The natural response is for our emotions to amp up when faced with conflict.  But the good news is controlling your emotions is a skill that can be learned.

And rest assured, those around you are watching to see how you handle your emotions.

Here's an example.  A parent gets upset because he forgot his pick-up tag and begins causing a major scene in the check-out line.  You are called over to talk with him and he is really, really upset...to the point that he is yelling.  Will you be able to control your emotions and stay calm?  Will you be able to deescalate the situation?  Those who follow you are watching to see how you will respond.

When you go into into a situation, knowing ahead of time how you will respond if emotions escalate, you will be able to navigate the situation well and earn the respect of those around you in the process.


When things don't go as planned, don't shift the blame.  Shoulder the blame.

When you blow it, apologize.

When someone on your team makes a mistake that causes something to fail, accept the responsibility for it as their leader and let everyone know the buck stops with you.  Let the team know you have their back and the failure was ultimately due to your leadership.

A leader who fails and admits it will gain much more respect than a leader who fails and denies it is their fault.


When you live a life of integrity, it earns people's respect.

When you lead by example first and then by words, it earns people's respect.

When you are the same backstage as you are front stage, respect is earned.


When you are committed to excellence, it will show in everything you do and people will take notice. 

Excellence happens when you pay attention to the little details.  Here's an example.  How do you keep your office?  If it is messy, people will mentally make note of it.  Or if a church member gets in your car and has to move a pile of old McDonald's food bags and empty soda cans just to be able sit down, it says to them you are not committed to excellence.

Excellence is not perfection, but it is an attitude that says "I will give my very best to everything I am doing."

Think about the companies that you respect.  It's the ones that provide excellent service and products, right?  It's the same with us as leaders in ministry.  As we provide excellent services, programs, strategies and events, we will earn people's trust.  People will begin to say, "He or she does everything with excellence."  And people only say that about people they respect.

Live by the motto - first class or no class.


When people know you really care about them, they will respect you.

When you remember a person's name, it shows you care about them and starts the respect earning process.

When you look at someone instead of past them, it shows you care and helps builds respect.

When you remember a volunteer or church member on their birthday, it shows you care and helps build respect.

When you show up at the hospital to pray with someone,  it shows you care and helps build respect.

When you sit and cry with a volunteer who is broken, it shows you care and helps build respect.

When you recognize someone not just for what they do, but for their character and heart, it shows you care and helps build respect.

When you invest in people and help them grow in their gifts and abilities, it shows you care and helps build respect.


The longer you do the things above, the deeper people's respect for you will grow.

Just last week, Billy Graham passed away.  He was one of the most respected leaders in history.  Why?  Because of decades and decades of faithfulness, integrity and honesty. 
Respect is compounded by time.  Deep respect is earned, not in a year or two, but in decades.
You will see people respect you at the ultimate level when you can look back like Paul and say "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."


Perhaps you're reading this and you've blown it.  You have lost the respect of those around you.  Take heart.  Start today doing the things above and you can eventually earn it back.

If you feel like you have earned the respect of those around you, continue to work at it.  Respect is not one and done.  It is earned daily.

Think through the following questions and create some action steps that can help you continue to earn the respect of those around you.

Do I respect others?  What are some ways I can show more respect for others?  In the past, what are some ways I have displayed disrespect toward others?  How can I improve in those areas and not continue those patterns of disrespect? 

How well do I control my emotions?  Do I act rather than react in tense situations?  What emotions do I need to work on controlling more effectively?  What situations do I need to be better in with my emotions?

Do I shoulder the blame or try to pass the blame?  Do I accept the ultimate responsibility when my team fails?  Do my team members know I have their back?

Do I practice what I preach?  Do I lead by example?  What are some areas I need to do a better job of leading by example in?

Am I committed to excellence?  Does it show in how I conduct my personal life and responsibilities?  Does it show in the ministries I lead?  Am I committed to doing the small things well?  How can I increase my excellence factor?  

Do the people I lead and serve with know that I care about them?  How do I show them I care?  How can I increase my demonstration of care?

How is my track record?  What safeguards, guidelines and accountability steps do I have in place to protect my track record?


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