5 Church Leadership Lessons From Hamilton
I’m kind of a nerd. I like musical theater. I like obscure historical figures. In other words, the Broadway smash hit Hamilton is my cup of tea. Apparently, it is for everyone else, too. If only it wasn’t so popular, I might actually be able to get a ticket to see the show.
Thankfully, I can still listen to the brilliant music from the Broadway production for free on Spotify. And while I was listening the other day, it dawned on me that there are plenty of leadership lessons that we church communicators can glean from Hamilton.
1. Wait For It
Alexander Hamilton had to bide his time to make a difference in U.S. history. He had to rise from poverty, fight in the American Revolution, and claw his way through our country’s early bureaucracy. He had huge ambitions, but he also had patience to wait for the right opportunity.
Patience is one of the most underrated leadership traits. Waiting isn’t always easy, but it’s worthwhile. Church communications is not the most rewarding career, but it pays off. So when you feel like you’re wasting your time, remember to wait for your opportunity to arrive.
2. Get in the Room Where It Happens
Hamilton had to work his way into a position of influence. People underestimated him because he was an immigrant, an orphan, and poor. But he rose to a place of power and helped shape the course of our infant nation.
Similarly, church communicators can’t make as much difference without influence. Often, church leadership doesn’t value the perspective of marketers. We have to earn our seat at the table. We have to prove our worth in decision making.
3. Don’t Throw Away Your Shot
Alexander Hamilton took advantage of his situation. He lived well beyond his potential. He didn’t let his limitations define him. We should learn from that as church communications.
Don’t waste the opportunity that God gave you. Appreciate the chance to serve. Remember, we don’t have to do this job—we get to do this job. We have the chance to do something great.
The irony is that (spoiler alert) Hamilton’s ambition led him to be literally shot. So just be sure to avoid any duels with your colleagues. Work out your conflicts in a healthier, less fatal way.
4. Stay Alive
Obviously, Hamilton died. He died before his time, while still in his prime. Part of this was because of his frantic, overworked nature. The other part was being shot in that duel. Either way, he missed out on opportunities because he didn’t live long enough to capture them.
Don’t do the same. Take care of yourself. Value your health. Give yourself margin. You can’t do your job if you’re sick. You can’t serve the church if you’re dead. So stay healthy and stay alive.
The American Revolution was a success. The colonist seized independence from the British. But one of the more humorous songs in Hamilton begs the obvious question: what comes next?
“What comes next? You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?”
In your ministry, always consider what comes next. What happens after the next event? What do people do when they’ve joined a small group? Where do people find more information about whatever? What comes next is a question every church communicator must always ask themselves.
Part of the brilliance of Hamilton is telling the story of an underappreciated American legend. Hamilton’s contributions were largely forgotten because not many people lived to tell his story. His legacy was largely overlooked, until Lin Manuel Miranda decided to write a play about him.
Our job as communicators is to tell the stories in our church. We are the stewards of stories. Tell the stories of the people. Don’t let them be overlooked or forgotten. The more stories you tell, the more value you bring. Help to preserve the legacy of your church and its people.
What other lessons can we learn from Broadway musicals?