You may have heard this statement: “It’s not the web of technology that matters most; it’s the web of people who matter.” While there are many expectations that Sabbath School members have for their coordinators, I share the remaining two of four expectations. The first two are in Leadership Is a Relationship.1. Practices three and four also help summarize the essence of leadership as relationship:
Public celebrations and ceremonies can serve as a collective reminder of why we are here, the purpose of the organization, and the ultimate objective/destiny.
3. Create a spirit of community by sharing values and victories. Effective leaders know there is power in shared values. According to Webster’s Dictionary, values are “principles, qualities, or entities that are intrinsically valuable or desirable.” Service, results, profits, quality, health, and safety are all examples of common values that may be held by a particular individual or group. Values are a primary source of motivation in people’s lives because they are associated with worth, meaning, and desire.
Tremendous energy is generated when individual, group, and organizational values are in synch. Enthusiasm, drive, and commitment are intensified. People have reasons to care about what they are doing and experience less stress and tension.
Shared values are considered to be the foundation of ethics, communities, and culture. When people’s values are met or matched, they feel a sense of satisfaction, harmony, or rapport. When people’s values are not met or matched, they feel incongruent, dissatisfied, or dishonored. There is significant payoff for leaders and their organizations when there is congruence between individual values and organizational values.
The Sabbath School team is part of a worldwide organization that practices an enduring value system. The vision, values, and beliefs of a worldwide program that transforms people’s lives and prepares them to be candidates for heaven is the “glue” that holds the team and community together. Periodically taking the pulse of the organization or team in regard to the clarity and consensus of those values and beliefs is well worthwhile. The group can refocus, renew commitment, and engage in a discussion of values that include a changing constituency.
4. Provide social support. Effective leaders create fellowship opportunities to renew commitment to the core values of the group, a Sabbath School class, or the entire Sabbath School.
Performance and commitment improve when leaders bring people together to rejoice in their achievements and to reinforce principles. Public celebrations and ceremonies can serve as a collective reminder of why we are here, what is the purpose of the organization, and what is the ultimate objective/destiny. By acknowledging the “common unity” that the group shares with one another, leaders create a sense of community and team spirit. Leaders build and maintain the social support the group needs to thrive, especially in the most stressful times.
Whether it’s in honor of an individual, group, or organizational achievement ceremonies and celebration events offer leaders a great opportunity to communicate the actions and behaviors that support the core values of the organization. Celebrations enable members of the Sabbath School to know and care about each other.
Their task is to help people reach mutual goals and to get there with a sense of we did it together under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
What leaders preach and what leaders celebrate should be one and the same. Authenticity makes public ceremonies and celebrations work. Celebrations should be an honest expression of commitment to certain key values and to the dedication and hard work of the people who live out those values. Leadership is not about position or title; it’s about relationships. It’s about ordinary people who’ve gotten extraordinary things done through collaboration and mutual trust.
As the Sabbath School team becomes purposeful and intentional about seeing leadership as a relationship, they discover that their task is to help people reach mutual goals and to get there with a sense of we did it together under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Robert D. Crux
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists