The Five People You’ll Lead on Earth
Ok, so I’m giving a nod to the guy who wrote “The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven”. He could only guess about the five people we might meet in eternity.
As Christian leaders, our reality is that we work with all kinds of people right here on earth. Every day we decide how best to lead different people with different needs and different possibilities.
Consider “the five people you’ll lead on earth.” This is a representative list, of course, but you can probably add the names of people that come to your mind. I write this list especially for church leaders.
Sometimes these folks are called “EGR” (Extra Grace Required). Using the descriptors of one of my leader/mentors Gordon MacDonald, they could also be called “VDPs” (Very Draining People). Folks dealing with “habits, hurts, and hang ups” (thank you, Rick Warren) will take all your time if you let them. For leaders who need to be needed or have a more shepherding orientation, it can be easy to invest a lot of time seeking to meet their needs. While that may be helpful, it leaves us little time to invest in other kinds of people.
The best way to lead Moochers: Some may need special counseling, but a great way for many is to give them opportunities to care for each other and grow into wholeness. Their healing comes with helping others heal. Recovery ministries and similar small groups are a great option.
VNPs (Very Nice People) Members like to belong, but often don’t participate, give, or serve much. They are just nice people. Churches are full of them.
The best way to lead Members: Help them find the key to their heart—an area of passion—and equip them to leverage what they already enjoy doing in redemptive ways. Lead them to a place where they fit and flourish, energized by seeing God use them.
VWPs (Very Willing People) Thank God for these people! They are willing to serve in almost any capacity...teaching children, singing or playing an instrument on a worship team, serving in hospitality, or leading a small group. However, they are unable to reproduce themselves by equipping others.
The best way to lead Ministers: They thrive when we help them discover a place where they fit and flourish and we let them know how valuable they are. Sometimes Ministers are emerging Multipliers. Give them chances to taste leadership by offering equipping and growth opportunities. No matter what, honor and affirm them…they are of great value to God’s work!
VIPs (Very Inspiring People) Multipliers are rare and won’t stay with us if we don’t recognize, trust, and release their gifts. Multipliers can identify, inspire, equip and reproduce leaders and teams. They can develop multiple worship teams or raise a network of small group leaders or start new ministries.
The best way to lead Multipliers: Let them lead! Acknowledge their abilities, include them in decisions, give them room to initiate and create. Show respect, build trust, and show them how they fit into the bigger picture of your ministry. Healthy communication is essential. If you treat your multipliers well, God will trust you with more.
VGPs (Very Generous People) Missionaries live out Kingdom generosity. Two perspectives on missionaries: First, God will send you short term missionaries to help you as you begin new ventures with Him. They may not stay with you long term, but they come at essential times at God’s leading. Thank God for them. Also, it’s important that you send missionaries, resources, and other support to bless and serve others. If a leader doesn’t develop a generous heart early in their ministry, they often don’t do it later on. Leader, be generous! You can’t out give God!
The best way to lead Missionaries: For those God sends you: appreciate them! Make the most of their valuable contribution as long as you have them. Hold them loosely and honor them consistently. Send them on to their next ministry assignment from the Lord with joy. For those God asks to invest in His work: send them! Don’t be afraid to send your best if you know God is calling them. God often reimburses us with more than we give.
These represent the five kinds of people you’ll lead on earth. How you choose to invest your time and energy will determine how well your overall Kingdom work will fit and flourish.
Coach Yourself Forward
1. Who gets the most of your time and energy? Why?
2. Who is God inviting you to lead more intentionally? How will you do that?