There’s nothing wrong with wanting a promotion, but you don’t want to minister with an unsettled spirit that’s always trying to push hard and overdo it. The tone of your action can overshadow the action itself. A secure leader with with lots of responsibility wants to delegate to other secure leaders. They don’t want to give more authority to someone who needs a ministry title to fill a hole in their soul. Let your gospel identity strengthen you here, not your career objectives.
#2 Demonstrate the Ability to Think Globally
Good skills in specialized ministry areas are a dime-a-dozen. Global, holistic thinking is rare. Start making decisions that put the good of the entire church first, not just your ministry area. If you do that once or twice, it will really distinguish both your character as a leader and a competency set unique to the best leaders. It will be impossible to stop your promotion if you keep demonstrating this ability.
#3 Solve the Problems of your Senior Leader
You are paid to the solve the problems unique to your role. So go the extra mile by getting into the mind of your senior pastor (or other supervisor). What problems are keeping them up late at night? What points of tension or aggravation, routinely arise? Think through some creative solutions. Give some extra time. Figure out some way to make life better for the primary leader. Be a problem solver.
#4 Offer Thoughtful Feedback, at the Right Time
There are two primary mistakes when offering unsolicited feedback. The first is always agreeing. A real leader gets tired of the “yes-man.” The second is offering feedback at the wrong time. You should understand the rhythm of your supervisors work and life. Don’t offer feedback when they are under stress or when time is tight. Rather, look for timely insertion points when they have extra time, cheerful days, or have a designated time for evaluation. And always be pre-prepared with thoughtful feedback in case they ask.
#5 Volunteer for More Responsibility
Are you called to do a job or to fulfill a mission? If you are mission minded, look for more ground to take without being recognized for it. Early in my ministry, I noticed that our worship pastor was really distracted with the set-up/tear down routine of our church plant. (We were running over 1000 in attendance in a public school.) He wasn’t really that good at it, but it fell in his territory by default. Because of my background in mobile operations in the oilfield, I volunteered to oversee this hidden ministry (that happened to arrived at 5:30am on Sunday am.) It wasn’t glamorous, but I knew my experience could take this area to another level. It wasn’t exciting, but it was mission critical.
#6 Don’t Expect Affirmation
It’s okay to desire affirmation. We all hope we receive it. But when you expect it or pursue it or demand it (even if you deserve it) you become a headache to your ministry supervisor. In far, you wear an invisible sign around your neck that says, “Get far away from me, because I’m coming and I want something from you.” Your senior pastor is dealing with more than you probably realize. And frankly, most point leaders really struggle with this competency. Therefore, find more of what you need in the perfect leader, Jesus. He can and will minister directly to you. Pray that God would affirm you in his time and his way. And another little secret: Try being affirming yourself in your direct connection with others.