If you haven’t yet read the first part of this series, 20 Things Your Leader Looks for if You Seek Promotion, now is a great time to catch up! This post is the second and final installment in that series, written for those who seek elevation or ordination in church. Sometimes we think we’re ready to move up and we are met with unspecific reasons why a leader doesn’t agree. What do we do in these instances? More importantly, how should we seek to improve?
In our conclusion, we will look at ten more things your leader looks for if you seek promotion. Here’s the rest of your “cheat sheet” (the Cliff Notes version) of these essential and practical things. If you haven’t yet had a conversation with your leader about these things, now’s a great time to read up and do so.
11. Loyalty to the ministry and its leadership
As a leader myself, I can testify: we find things out. God tells us, one way or another. If you are saying one thing to your leader’s face and another behind their back…don’t think we don’t know about it. Never assume you know better than they do. You won’t be successful for long in hiding something from them. Every single time someone I led spoke something bad about me, I always found out. I might not have said anything about it to that person without proper evidence, but I knew when things were said when I wasn’t around.
I understand that sometimes ministries aren’t for everyone and neither are leadership styles. Sometimes a ministry or a minister isn’t for us, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no reason why, if something doesn’t work for you, that you can’t leave in a civilized manner. But if you are part of a ministry, that means (at least for that time) you are there because you believe God wants you there. If this is the case, your leader should have your full support as they oversee God’s work for them.
If you aren’t loyal, you cannot expect promotion or ordination. Ordination is a confirmation of one’s gift; an endorsement, if you will. Leaders must be assured those they ordain are fit for ministry, both in qualification and competency. If you think so little of a leader, why would you want them to ordain or promote you to begin with? Loyalty is an essential thing your leader looks for if you seek promotion. Show your loyalty through your respect.
12. Reasonable and sensible in one’s sense of order
I don’t question there are leaders who are overbearing and controlling. I can say, however, with some semblance of accuracy, that I haven’t seen many like that over the years. Most ministers work very hard to try and maintain their work, their family lives, their sanity, and sometimes, other jobs to make ends meet. When people complain about “controlling leaders,” it’s often because they aren’t getting away with things under a leader’s watch. Along the same lines, it’s not controlling for a leader to expect those in leadership training to display a proper sense of order in their lives.
As I stated in the first part of this column, ministers face scrutiny. Whether it’s fair, right, or wrong, people watch ministers carefully to see if their claims line up with their lives. Ministries do have different criteria for what one is allowed to do in their personal and professional lives, and I am not here to debate those. What matters is that it does matter where you submit yourself, and doing such is a choice. If the requirements don’t fit, then there’s always the option to find another ministry. Either way, falling in line with order is essential if you seek ministry promotion.
13. Being self-disciplined
Self-discipline comes from self-examination. Self-examination comes from self-awareness. It is also probably one of the most important aspects of being in ministry, and definitely something your leader looks for if you’re seeking promotion. There should come a time when we don’t require our leaders explain every little detail to us. We should, ideally enough, be able to recognize the things within ourselves that require change or improvement without having to be reminded of them. This also means we should have the ability to make change within ourselves without constant supervision.
14. A respectful attitude
The first part of 1 Peter 3:17 says, Show proper respect to everyone… (NIV) It should go without saying that leaders are worthy of respect. If you want a simple, basic thing your leader looks for if you’re seeking promotion, look no further than your level of respect. Why? Respect displays in every area of our lives and personal conduct. Someone who is disrespectful is careless with speech, behavior, and maturity. I understand we all have bad moments (even leaders), and that sometimes people bring out a side of us that we otherwise wouldn’t expose. This discussion on respect isn’t about these situations. If you are a person who extends respect to those in authority, your fellow churchgoers, those you work with in ministry, friends, and yes, even family, that will go a long way in your ministry work.
15. Being a good steward
“Stewardship” is usually discussed in terms of money. The Bible, however, talks about it beyond finances: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)
Stewardship is the ability to use resources wisely, to the best of one’s ability. In ministry, resources – whether talents, finances, or time – must stretch. If you are creative in your use of resources, you are definitely proving yourself ready for more in ministry work.
16. The ability to apply learning
I think there’s a fallacy out there that ministry is all about gifts and anointing. We tend to think God will fix wherever and whatever we lack, even when it comes to issues like character or personality. Ministry does require anointing, gifts, and abilities. It also involves learning protocol, and methods to execute the anointing, gifts, and abilities God has given us.
We learn through training. Different ministries and denominations require different trainings, but everyone requires some sort of educational discipline for ministry service. The higher our leadership positions, the more training involved. If you want to show your leader you are ready for promotion, eagerness for learning is a great start.
Proverbs 16:18 provides wise words, even for potential leaders: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (NIV) It’s absolutely essential to esteem yourself accurately and properly. If you esteem yourself more highly than you ought, you will, most likely, stay where you are. No one wants to see this happen, so remember: humility is key!
Sometimes leaders see abilities within the people they lead, but they realize the time for promotion is simply not right. When it’s time to ordain or promote someone, God gives witness about it. If you have to promote the idea of your promotion, odds are good that the timing is off. It is better to be patient and wait. Haste gives the idea you might never be ready for elevation.
19. A sense of honor
The word “honor” has multiple meanings, including: a high sense of respect, esteem, privilege, or to fulfill an agreement. All definitions are in play when it comes to ministry promotion. Potential elevation demands respect for:
- Ministry work
- Your audience
- Other leaders
In the work of ministry, we recognize promotion to be a privilege. With privilege comes honor. If you see the relevance in honor, you are well on your way to being ready for promotion.
20. Ability to do the work of the ministry
Different people are called to do different things for the Kingdom. We are not all called to be in ministry. If you are called to ministry, you know wee are not all called to the same offices, appointments, or purposes. Ministry can, and does, look different in different situations. Not everyone in a church or ministry is right for every available position or promotion that comes up in a given setting. It is very possible the abilities and gifts you have are better suited for something other than what is available at a given time. Here is where trust comes in: if you trust your leader, you recognize they know your gifts and abilities. When the time is right and the right situation arises, your leader will be more than happy to place you in the position that’s perfect for you.
For more information about ministry work, feel free to check out my books Ministry School Boot Camp: Training for Ministry, Appointments, Helps and Beyond and Awakening Christian Ministry: The Call to Serve Others as We Serve Jesus Christ. Remember, there are things your leader looks for if you seek promotion! Give them every reason to recognize you are!