On being a rudder

Sailboat 1

Hello friends,

Someone once told me that there are two types of leaders: Sails and rudders. Leaders who are sails are usually up front, visible, and easily identifiable. You can see the sails of a boat from a long way off. Leaders who are sails typically own the front of the room. They do their business with a microphone, or a large personality. Frequently, they are the ones who get all the credit too. Usually, this is the type of leadership I find myself in. Preaching the sermons, singing the songs, being the "up-front" guy.

This past weekend however, I got a chance to be the rudder, and I kind of liked it.

We went on our annual ski retreat to Camp Harmony and Seven Springs. This is an event we've been doing with some of the other congregations in our area for about 3 years now, and it's growing and growing each time we do it. I love doing ministry with my friends, but I have noticed in the years past that when three different churches come together, there are too many people who are sails for us to all be upfront. Someone needs to take care of the behind the scenes stuff.

Rudders aren't seen. In fact, a lot of people might not even think they're all that important to the operation of a sailboat. But they literally steer the ship. The boat doesn't function without them. And so rudder leaders are those who keep to the behind the scenes work, who try to facilitate things so that they're running smoothly. I spoke once this weekend for about 15 minutes, but other than that, my leadership was behind the scenes stuff. Dealing with the sales people at Seven Springs, organizing the technology for worship, renting the vans for the trip, keeping things organized. I absolutely loved it! Not that I don't love being in the spotlight, I do that too. But for once, it was good to get a different perspective of leadership.

I don't know about your ministry situation as you're sitting here reading this, but I all but guarantee that you have rudder leaders in your group. Almost everyone does. And all too often, they go completely un-noticed. My encouragement to you today is to say thank you to your rudder leaders. Things would not run smoothly without them, and what they provide to the ministry is every bit as important as the sail leaders upfront. So pull them aside this week and say thank you. I know I will!