Anyone who has ever worked in ministry has had feelings of “loner-ism” at some point or other. While it’s normal to have seasons of loneliness, they should never result in become the Lone Ranger or the Lone Minister. Here are some possible scenarios: volunteers forget to bring promised items or fail to show up. Kids don’t respond to your lesson or attendance begins to drop. Fellow leaders show little interest in getting to know you or hearing about what’s happening in your ministry. Any of these reasons can trigger a response that you may not even realize — loner-ism.
It’s true that sometimes God calls us to walk alone for a short season, but I would argue that is never His intent for the life of your ministry. When we fail to fellowship with other believers we can become prey to the enemy.
How do you know if you’re a Lone Ranger? Look for these tell-tale signs:
- You’d rather pay for everything than seek funding or assistance from anyone else.
- You have plenty of ideas but never act on them because they involve leading others or supportive ministries.
- You regularly deal with bitterness because you have been burned before.
How can you break out of the loner mentality? Is it possible? Should you?
- Make a detailed list of your specific ministry needs and seek help in those areas. That way you allow limited access to others while you learn to trust again. (I know this one from experience.)
- Prepare to train volunteers. People can’t help you if they don’t know how to help you. Teach them how you do things but also allow them a chance to share ideas.
- Shift your focus to building relationships. Instead of being kid-centric, or lesson-centric, pray about shifting your focus to building relationships. Not just with kids (who are so wonderfully easy to love!) but also parents and grandparents.
- Refuse to feel intimidated by your own voice. Being a Lone Ranger means never having to argue with that voice in your head that says, “You can’t trust him!” or “Why are we doing this again?” Tell that inner doubter that you want to build a team, not go it alone.
- Be honest about your loner struggles. You have to reach up. If you can’t confide in your fellow laborers, find someone you trust. Explain how you feel and demonstrate a willingess to change those methods of ministry.
- Set networking goals. Getting out of your comfort zone and leaving your Lone Ranger mask behind takes some work. Set a goal to attend a networking event once a month. Show up at a ladies or men’s meeting.
Teams make a bigger impact than a solo quarterback. Remember that while David was a mighty king, he also had a group of mighty men that he could depend on. You can do it!