I swam competitively all through middle school and high school, and one of my least favorite strokes was backstroke. It took almost 3 years of swimming before I could even do backstroke in a straight line! Too often, I was trying to see where the wall was and where other people were in the race. I would focus on how they were kicking their legs or holding their head and try to mimic their stroke. I was so focused on what they were doing, I completely messed myself up and ended up swimming in zig zags and coming in last.
But backstroke and swimming taught me an important lesson that I later applied to ministry: stay in your lane.
When you compare yourself to other leaders or try to do it all yourself, you end up moving slower and much less gracefully. So do you, keep to your strengths, and let others do the jobs you can’t do yourself (and even some you can do).
When you stay in your lane and focus on the tasks only you can do, you give others the opportunity to use their spiritual gifts to serve as well. Plus, it helps you prevent burn out because you aren’t trying to do ALL THE THINGS. You balance your time better, and you’re healthier as a leader since you aren’t doing ministry alone.
Staying in your lane doesn’t mean you do the bare minimum or only look out for yourself. But you can best support your ministry and your church by stewarding your piece of the whole well.
If you don’t stay in your lane in swimming or in ministry, you slow down progress, mess up other people too, and end up with some bumps, bruises, and burnout (those lane lines are rough).
One way to help you and your team stay in your lane? Use job descriptions to keep everyone on the same page.