The Burden is Not Mine (Alone)

Leadership //

Remember THIS? sixty-days later — I’m happy to report, co-leading is going very well.

Here’s the thing. I’d been acting and leading like the entire weight, the whole burden was mine alone to bear. I shouldered the responsibility and internalized the anxiety until the breaking point.

And then, I broke. In a leadership team meeting. so, that was awesome. and, really, if you’re going to emotionally break down anywhere, that’s where you want to do it. JOKING. The boss asked how we were doing. I said I was stressed, and feeling anxious about the growth we were experiencing, and the volunteers who were coming-and-going, and could someone please pass a tissue or ten quickly.

But, really, the whole thing was pretty great. my colleagues rallied around me {in addition to handing me endless tissues}, they jumped into action praying for the ministry and helping problem solve the growth problems. I felt loved and reminded {again} the burden is not mine alone.

Because, really, church at it’s best is a mutual expression that involves BOTH giving AND receiving. So, imagine my delight yesterday as a key volunteer told me she’d been in a season of giving to others for a long time, and when her mom passed away recently, she watched as the church dove head first into caring for her. She’s now experienced both giving + receiving in the church. LOVE.

So, I remind myself, you too, AMY. Give to AND receive from the church.

But, there’s one thing we must be clear on — sharing the burden DOES NOT mean that I shrug off responsiblity. or lead lazy. Or wait for others to do what is mine to do. actually, just the opposite. I LEAD. but, I lead best and with strength and clarity when I determine what is mine alone and what is to be shared. Because when i’m clear on these things, my impact becomes deeper, fuller, richer.

Since my co-leading epiphany, i’ve been meeting with my most trusted volunteers, asking for their help in co-leading various projects. I’ve been showing up to these meetings WITHOUT fully developed plans, just an idea and an ask to co-lead, strategize, figure out the plans with me. and, it’s going well. Yesterday, after 3 meetings with my best people, I realized I had very little follow up to do. The work was in their hands now. and, that’s good. The way it should be.

Strong leadership = sharing the burden, co-leading, trusting, enlisting.

Because, also, HIS burden is light.





About the Author

Amy Dolan is founder, leader and blogger for Lemon Lime Kids, a children’s ministry consulting company that seeks to encourage churches to consider a fresh approach to leading and teaching children. Amy started the company in 2005, as a way to empower and encourage fellow children’s ministry leaders, and since that first day has had the opportunity to work with leaders & organizations committed to the spiritual growth of children. Amy believes that the church fully empowered, combined with the commitment of the family, and the compassion of the community has the power to inspire children’s faith for a lifetime. In addition to her consulting work with Lemon Lime Kids, Amy leads the strategic curriculum development for Phil Vischer’s new curriculum What’s in the Bible? (whatsinthebible.com), and serves as Director of LOCAL, a Chicago-area children’s ministry collaborative (kidmin.com). Amy is the former Executive Director for Children’s Ministry at the Willow Creek Association, a former Children’s Ministry Director at The Chapel in Libertyville, IL and a Curriculum Writer for Promiseland at Willow Creek in South Barrington. Amy is proud to be married to her husband Kelly, and loves living in Chicago. Amy blogs at lemonlimekids.com and tweets at @adolan.