What I’ve learned this year.
It left as quick as it came; another season of camp ministry.
This morning, as I leave my post as Camp Director and step back into my pastoral role, it’s time to reflect a bit on the past month of ministry.
As I reflect, numerous thoughts and memories flood my mind. And yet, I believe there are 3 distinct take-aways from this year, that carry the most value in making next season a success.
I’ve learned 3 lessons of leadership from this season’s camp ministry, and I’d like to share them with you.
1. Make the Right Assumptions About Staff
It’s almost impossible not to size up a staff member during the interview process. As each question unfolds and responses are given, assumptions begin to formulate on who they’ll be at camp and how they’ll act, speak or behave.
This season really proved that assumptions can be wrong.
A couple of our younger staff completed blew my assumptions out of the water (in a good way). They were all in, every day. When it was time for excitement, they were excited. When it was time for focus, they focused. When it was time to listen, they listened.
These staff members had consistent involvement, respect, energy, patience and understanding. Definitely not what I assumed during their interview process. My new assumption will be that staff are going to surprise me! Next year, I’ll remember to make the right assumptions about staff.
2. Use the Powerful Advantage of Early Mornings
I realise that this lesson may have a lot to do with me enjoying mornings. Nevertheless, it was affirmed once again this year, that being the first one out of bed can give a Camp Director a huge advantage.
It was a routine every day. As the alarm rang, I was never really excited about getting up. However, as soon as I stepped out of my cabin I had no regrets. Silence over the lake and a few birds sing their morning song. That’s it. No human sounds whatsoever.
Me and creation. I was immediately glad I got out of bed.
Soon enough I was drinking my first cup of coffee and getting a jump on the day. Sometimes it was spent in the Word and prayer. Sometimes writing encouragement notes to staff. Sometimes working on a church project for the Fall. Sometimes simply attacking my growing inbox of emails.
Regardless of the task, it was quiet and contemplative. It gave me an edge on being the best I could be for the rest of the day. Next year, I’ll remember that early mornings bring a powerful advantage.
3. Lean Into the People Willing to Have Tough Conversations
There’s an old leadership saying that states, “It’s lonely at the top.” I have come to learn that it doesn’t have to be. Most of the time, it comes down to whether we’re willing to embrace the hard conversations.
This season, I experienced the blessing of having a couple of staff members willing to do just that. Regardless of personality types, differences of opinion; not to mention the sheer anxiety of confronting the camp director, they embraced it.
They stood tall and said what needed to be said.
At times, it was misunderstandings that needed further explanation. And yet, their were times where I had made a mistake and I was completed blind to my error. That’s right; completely oblivious to the offence I had caused (which is very frustrating I might add).
I needed to make it right. Sometimes through explaining my actions for clarification, sometimes with a heart-felt apology and sometimes asking for forgiveness. All of it difficult, but necessary. And I never would have known unless that staff member approached me.
This is why I am so thankful for people who are willing to approach me when things don’t look or feel quite right. Next year, I’ll remember to lean into the people willing to have tough conversations.
Leadership is about learning.
All of us have opportunities to lead; some great and some small. May we all remember that reflection and growth are key to being a good leader. May we make the right assumptions, look for the powerful advantages and have the tough conversations.
CAN I GET YOUR FEEDBACK?
Are you involved in a summer ministry? If so, what leadership lessons has God taught you through that ministry this year?