Sam was an exceptional boss.
He had high, clearly communicated expectations. “Dream big.” “Think outside of the box.” Those are words that we creative minds loooove to hear. But…when it came to basics, I knew exactly what he expected of me as an employee. I didn’t always agree with his expectations…but I respected them… because they were clearly communicated. I could relax…there was no “unknown.” He was simple, straightforward and consistent.
He was awkwardly encouraging. Weekly, he would stop in my office just to say he appreciated me. Not, “We love the work you do” or “You’re great.” He said the words, “Amber, I appreciate you.” It freaked me out at first. “Ummm…thanks…but I totally suck at yada yada yada…awkward smile?” Eventually, I could just confidently say “Thanks.”
He allowed me to minister as “me.” My job description was established based on the gifts God had given me and how they fit in during that particular season at our church. It did not look like a list of generic tasks. I was doing things I loved to do…and we all know how fruitful that is both personally and in a ministry area.
He encouraged me to bring in people who were not “me.” When I was not “awesome” at a necessary aspect of my job, he pushed me to find help. Sometimes it was a new hire. Other times it was learning to seek out and empower church members. Regardless, I did not feel the pressure to be Super Kidmin. I felt the pressure to build a team.
He forced me to “own” my ministry area. Example: He wouldn’t let me fire people or complain about people just because they were not doing a good job. He made me work with them till expectations were met…which meant extra time and creativity. This taught me to hire and/or seek out the right people and to love (like, Jesus love) the people I hired.
He allowed me to be brave by not micromanaging me. I love the word “brave.” It’s so much better than confident. I hate the word “micromanage.” It’s totally overused/abused. ..but it’s all I got. He gave advice and answered questions, but left the ball in my court. He asked questions that made me think instead of just telling me what to do…and he kept things matter of fact. “Fact” being a mix of simple/real life management concepts and God’s Word…and some “seminary words” that I probably should have googled…but that’s a whole different blog.
He was Gospel centered. He had an agenda at our church from day one: Matthew 28:19-20, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” He wasn’t an emotional kinda guy…but when he did get emotional, it was about that.
And then he left…
I couldn’t even talk. Heck, I couldn’t even breathe…cause I was crying uncontrollably…which is the first rule for female kidmins: do not cry in staff meetings!!! I had made up my mind that “different” was going to be “horrible.” I dreaded the transition phase. I am not a self starter…I need a leader and a team.
It was hard, but, God was faithful…and different wasn’t horrible for long.
Sam was a good boss. He taught me some things I didn’t know I needed to learn. I now ask for clear expectations. I am not afraid to ask for encouragement…even if that’s awkward. I will be me…no matter what. I’m going to be gracious to all people…even when it means I have to be brave. But before all of that, I’m gonna tell kids about Jesus.
So…here’s the real reason for this blog: hang in there. You might think you are going crazy (really). You might think things can never be as good as they once were. You might think it’s God’s will for you to just go home. It’s not. I promise. Keep going. You may cry more than your rule book says you can cry. You may throw kicking, screaming fits…daily. You may need a couple extra weeks of vacation. But, I promise…God is [obnoxiously] faithful…to His mission: Matthew 28:19-20. Keep going…