The ‘Marks’ of Leadership
My Visit with Pastor Kim Bobb
Grove City Church of the Nazarene
Grove City, OH
Spotlight on KidsMatter!
Kimborah Bobb grew up in the church where she now leads the children’s ministry full time. She earned a degree in marketing from Olivet Nazarene University and then returned to Grove City in search of a marketing/promotions job. But God had other plans. She ended up turning down a marketing job opportunity because she just felt God telling her that He had something different. The next thing she knew she was answering the phone and Mark Hale, the children’s pastor at her church, was on the other end and he was saying that God had brought her to mind as a possible candidate for an opening for Assistant Children’s Pastor. She took the job and two years later ended up being his replacement when he moved on to become a senior pastor elsewhere. She is now one of two full time children’s pastors (preschool and grade school) in addition to one part time children’s pastor (20 hours) and twenty part time staffers (10 hours) between preschool and grade school for Sunday morning/evening and Wednesday evening programs. It is a church of about 4000 with up to 500 kids on Sunday mornings. Kim is now in her fourth year leading this ministry.
The greatest interest to me during this visit (and throughout this sabbatical) is first, any advice I can gain in leadership principles, but also, how various ministries are attempting to ‘partner with parents’ in the spiritual development of their children.
Kim had much good to say about her previous mentor, Mark, so I asked her, from what she learned and observed from him, what she would say are the “Marks” of leadership she learned from him. Not only did this result in great conversation, but made me want to meet Mark someday!
The ‘Marks’ of Leadership
1. Make your people feel appreciated no matter what they do. Kim has a drawer filled with cards to send for various occasions and loves to plan fun events for her staff. Indeed, we went to the circus with 30 of them while on our visit!
2. Build relationships with the people around you. Kim said that people often ask her how she gets so many people into ministry (and keeps them). Her answer was that they have relationships with each other, they don’t just work together. Her motto is: ‘A staff that works hard together needs to play hard together.’
3. Shepherd your leaders. Know what’s going on in their lives. They need to know you care about them, not just their work. This was obvious as she introduced people to us and she knew a lot about them. It was also obvious from my other conversations that everybody loves Kim and feels like she knows them, even in a church of 4000 everyone I stopped and talked to answered, “Oh, yeah, I know Kim!”
4. Cast vision and carry the torch. It is the leaders job to see not only what ‘IS’- and how to improve it, but to also see what “ISN’T” – what COULD be done, and excite people to make it happen.
5. You must own your ministry. Be the one they go to first when there is a need or issue, whether it is good or bad. Kim said, “I want to celebrate with you, cry with you, struggle with you. We are in this together.”
PARTNERING WITH PARENTS
One of the highlights of Grove City Nazarene is the way they integrate the family into the overall body life of the church. But Kim explains that it had to be gradually implemented over time. They began with “Bring Your Dad/Mom to Kids Church” on Mother’s and Father’s day. Next they started to plan a family event once a quarter, whether it be a family skate night, movie night (with free popcorn!) or even a camp out at the church that filled the entire church with tents! One of the keys to these family events is that they always include a family devotional time where families spend some time alone together going through a guided conversation on the theme/subject of the event. Now they have a Family Worship Service alternating every six weeks – one in the adult service with kids, then one in Kid’s Church with parents. They strive to have something once a month for families. While families are busy, Kim has discovered that wholesome, fun and impactful family events will over time be chosen by families over the many other options available to families today.