How Accompaniment Transforms Ministry Leadership

Other people are as important as you are.

You likely know that. On the surface, we all know that. But how has this truth substantially changed how you lead?

  • Are other people “important” in the same way background scenery in a play kind of matters to the foreground characters?
  • What if we understood everyone around us has a starring role in an ensemble troupe?

Early in ministry, I couldn’t wait to feel important. After years of prep, I finally stepped into my first full-time role and yearned for everyone to call me “Pastor.” I even introduced myself that way, always including my title.

I wanted others to finish talking so I could share my ideas… the “important” stuff. When invited to things outside of my job description or interests, I’d reply, “Thanks, but that’s not my thing.” Is there a hint or taste of this in your own story?

Eventually a brave soul confronted this entitled attitude in me, and that led to a painful reset in my life. It was embarrassing, but the weight of that confrontation forced a significant pivot… Now I experience the greater joy of serving others in what they’re doing, versus just getting them on board with my thing. When I assist others, what we do together reveals the breadth of Jesus’ creativity and diversity.

The Power of Accompaniment
This is what “accompaniment” means. In music, it refers to any instrumental or vocal backing to a soloist or group. In social settings, it’s one person attending a gathering with  another person for support or encouragement or companionship. In the culinary world, it references any sauces, side dishes, or garnishes that enhance the meal.

What might that look like in your leadership?

Imagine you and everyone around you exists in a circle of individual passions and influence. In this model, we tend to woo others away from their circles to enlarge and strengthen ours… like campaigning for votes. What happens is those people then lose sight of their God-given ideas and gifts. They still have them, but for the sake of unity they embrace uniformity.

The ASSIST Model
Imagine if you flipped the model by loving your neighbors as you love yourself. Instead of getting people behind your idea, could you get behind theirs to overlap circles? Try this by choosing to A.S.S.I.S.T. others as you live out your calling…

  • Ask questions – Be incredibly curious about and fascinated by what excites others. Ush the pause button on your knowledge—instead of bridging from their story into what you know, prod them to go deeper.
  • Sense needs – Notice how the person you’re engaging is doing in all areas of life. You may only be interested in talking about one topic, but that dehumanizes him/her. Invite Jesus to show you what He sees in him/her.
  • Study something – Find a book or a video series to grow through together. This way you’re not the expert—you get to be students together.
  • Invest in their family – Keep up the latest news about their loved ones, and remember to ask about them. It communicates you value the people they value most.
  • Speak life – Offer encouragement and affirmation publicly, pointing out the good they did and the Kingdom win for everyone. Never trash talk, even in jest.
  • Take time to _______ with them – Do they play pickleball? Fish? Game? It may not be your thing, but do it with them every once in a while. You’ll hear what needs to move forward when you do life with people side by side.

Looking for Ways to Say ‘Yes!’
This isn’t a strategy to score points with people… It’s about genuinely supporting the Body of Christ. Look for ways to say “Yes!” to what He’s doing in and through multiple people.

After all, when we assist others Jesus is working in, we accompany Him, too!

If you would like help as you explore what it means to grow in your accompaniment approach to leadership, reach out to connect with a Vibrant Faith Ministry Leadership Coach. Just CLICK HERE for more information. Coaching is an intentional process that moves you forward into the future you long for.  

Tony Myles is a multi-faceted ministry veteran, conference speaker
, and author with a passion for all people and the future of the church. He has a Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. And he’s
been trained as a Coach through Vibrant Faith’s ICFcertified program.





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