I wonder to myself all the time: “How did I ever get to this place of leadership?”
I’ve always been a good assistant and helper. That’s who I am and what I enjoy doing – especially in ministry.
But I had been supporting my cell group leader for 5 years, knowing I would eventually take over leading the cell. After all, she had been teaching me and equipping me for it. And everyone believed I would be a good leader because of my love and heart for people. Pastors and leaders prophesied over me, declaring that my life would bless many in the years to come.
I was supposed to “lead an army of youths.”
It’s been 2 years of leading, but it doesn’t seem to get any easier as time goes by.
I struggled with feeling inadequate as a leader, especially when I saw my members not growing or experiencing God the way I imagined. I failed to understand that the way I experience God is different from the way others do, and that people grow differently and are at different stages.
And because I was never a good speaker or great with words, I found writing sermons for cell group difficult. How can you write something that speaks to 10 people all at once?
My introversion didn’t help either. I’ve always felt incapable of being firm with my members, telling them the truth in love. Keeping my thoughts to myself, my timidity hindered me from being able to encourage and edify.
Acknowledge your weaknesses and work on these areas – but also know your strengths and play to them.
What made me want to throw in the towel was finding out something that really hurt me: Some of my members were talking behind my back about how I wasn’t doing leadership right. I was really discouraged, and for the first time, I began to wonder if God had correctly called me to be a leader.
I’m big on harmony, so I avoided the confrontation at all costs. I continued to lead as if nothing had happened.
Slowly, every decision I made for the cell group was based on how they would react or talk among themselves about it. I was so afraid they would judge me and talk behind my back. I was no longer leading the way God intended – I was leading to please people.
It took a long time for me to muster the courage to speak to them about the issue. I met them one-on-one to talk things out – difficult but necessary. The more we talked, the more I realised the truth in what they were saying. They actually meant no harm.
But it still hurt.
Just when I felt like giving up, I noticed a Bible lying on the table. I realised it had actually been a long time since I held a physical copy in my hands. I opened it and it fell on Psalm 40. The chapter encouraged me and brought me back to my source – God.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:1-2)
I was reminded again that I was called, and there’s nothing shameful about being an introvert. Introverted or extroverted, God uses us all to love His people and to glorify His Name.
My zone leader also helped me see that it’s okay to be less competent in some areas. I learnt that my strength is relating to people one-on-one. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But it is in our weaknesses that God is glorified all the more.
If you’re an introverted leader like me, I’d like to share three handles with you that I found really helpful in leading.
1. Learn to open up
Learn to open up and speak to people who can really help and guide you – especially your leaders or mentors. Don’t worry if they’ve heard your story before: Continue to be vulnerable to those who will journey with you. Humbly accept that you need the people around you.
2. Know your strength
We are unique individuals, and as leaders, we have different stories and things to impart to others. Know yours! Acknowledge your weaknesses and work on these areas – but also know your strengths and play to them.
3. Know your purpose
Why are you doing what you’re doing? How does God want you to lead? You are more than a class monitor – an extension of God’s love – so find out how He wants you to serve. Leading is pouring out your life. But when you’re called to it and topped up by God – He will help you. You’ll see then that it was all worth it.
The author’s name has been changed for the purpose of confidentiality.
This is a submission from a participant of our Greater Love Giveaway.