You probably know someone who has done it. The person who rides the coattails of someone else through life. Maybe they have a great boss that carries their entire department and allows some underachievers to coast along noticed. Perhaps it is a gifted pastor who God uses to grow a church, and because the church as a whole is growing the department of the staff leader by default grows along with it. Sometimes this gets noticed and corrected, often it can overlooked.
Obviously, people skating by is not how it is supposed to be. In the book of Acts, which is in the Bible, we read where the early church begin to grow rapidly. The church was growing so quickly in fact that some of the basic things the church was supposed to be doing, like feeding widows, started to fall through the cracks. Realizing that something needed to be done, the apostles called a meeting and decided that they needed to find some new help to take care of the things that had begun to slip. In Acts 6:3 we read how they found their new help, “Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business.”
Take note of what is happening here. The apostles, who were the #1 chair leaders, were choosing their associates, their #2 men, to carry out the day to day operations of the church. In choosing these men they were looking for men with certain qualifications. Those they were choosing had to already be well respected. That is they had to have a reputation of being a hard worker who could things done. Men that could be put in charge of the business and everyone knew that the business would get taken of. They had to be men who were also full of wisdom and could make decisions on their own. They had to be men who were full of the Holy Spirit and had a deep relationship with Christ. In short they had to be men who could stand on their own two feet, who would work both hard and smart, and neither needed or wanted to ride the coattails of the apostles.
I wonder how many church staff members meet these qualifications today. Maybe when they were hired they were known as someone who was respected as a leader, someone who worked hard and could get things done. If you watched them closely at work today, however, you wouldn’t feel the same way about them. I wonder how many could be considered full of wisdom as the apostles helpers were. How many continually develop themselves by reading more, learning more, thinking more, so they can do ministry better. I wonder how many are full of the Holy Spirit. How many have a deep and vibrant relationship with Christ. I also wonder how many are just coasting by unnoticed because they happen to be in a growing church. The outside looks good, but the inside is dry and empty without any real substance.
The reality is that staff riding coattails of their boss doesn’t contribute to growth. Riding coattails doesn’t accomplish the job that someone was hired to do, that of assisting in ministry like the men chosen in Acts 6:3 did. Rather than riding coattails these men amplified the ministry of their leaders and we read in verse 7 “God’s message was preached in ever widening circles.” When you have men and women who are giving it all they got, who are developing themselves, who are pursuing a relationship a vibrant relationship with Christ, then the amount and quality of ministry grows even beyond that of what the senior leader could have ever done on their own.
So are you riding the coattails of your boss? Are you amplifying their leadership so that more is accomplished?