Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Should Young Leaders Do?

I need your help.

I have the privilege of speaking on the topic of "leadership and student ministry" with some college students who will most likely be youth pastors.

We'll be covering topics like...
* Leading Your Own Soul
* Leading Parents
* Recruiting, Training and Shepherding Adult Leaders
* Student Leadership - Helping Students Discover, Develop and Utilize Their Giftedness

Part of the day we will discuss general leadership, sharing 5 things all young leaders should do.  My desire would be to challenge and inspire them to think through practical leadership habits most in their early 20's wouldn't think about.  I hope these leadership principles will be radically practical.

This is where you come in, if you're involved in leadership, especially ministry leadership, could you share your top 5?  Perhaps thinking about what you wish you knew about basic leadership when you were younger?  Or, if you work with younger leaders, what do you wish they would know and do?

Here are a couple examples.

Leaders should communicate clearly to a variety of audiences.  Example, when planning a mission trip, what should be communicated to which audiences.

Leaders should follow through.  You have to finish what you start.

Thanks for your help.  You may or may not receive a huge prize if I use one of your leadership principles.  It's cool to tap in to your vast wisdom and experience!


  1. Here's my thoughts. I've found these are relevant in business as well as ministry!

    1) Be a person of integrity. Others need to know that they can count on what you say. And you are always leading -- not just in your work but people are watching your personal life as well. There should be no discrepancy.
    2) Be humble (servant leader)
    3) Involve Others - If you're leading like the Lone Ranger you are likely to look around and see no one is following you. You're not leading!
    4) Great communicator - A leader must be able to communicate vision/mission/goals keeping in mind the people/group they are communicating with, and tailoring the message so it can be well understood.
    5) Grow in relationship with Jesus, our ultimate leader and lean on Him to direct you!!

  2. 1) Who you are is more important than what you do. In other words, having an authentic walk with Christ is non-negotiable as you cannot give to others what you don't possess yourself.

    2) Examine your motives. Don't do youth ministry as a stepping stone or as a filler for some other intrinsic need, but because you're using your gifts, talents and passions in this season this way because you're being obedient to Him.

    3) Keep the bar high for your students. Never dumb-down His truth. Let the Word speak boldly and with authority, and keep your mouth shut where it's silent (music, movies, TV, etc.).

    4) Realize that your ministry is no more or less valuable than the other ministries in your congregation. You'll need to understand that everyone feels passionately about their ministry as you feel about yours...and be willing to compromise for the good of the whole body.

    5) Realize youth are not part of the church of the future, they're part of the Body right now. They should be challenged to use their gifts and given opportunities to do so.

    That should get you started...I could go on...

    ...and on...

    and on.

  3. As far as parents: Remember that they love their kids more than you do, and that they don't know what they don't know. So, lovingly serve them rather than judge them.

    Encourage them often one-on-one. Tell them how much you enjoy their teen. They rarely hear that.

    Support the parent's authority in the home even if you disagree with it. So, for example, if a parent says a teen shouldn't wear a nose ring and you think a teen should be allowed to, back up the parent as they are the child's primary spiritual authority.

    Keep parents with multiple children in mind when scheduling. Look big picture at whether or not you'll have kids out of the home 3 consecutive weekends. It's hard to support families when your schedule takes them away from one another.

  4. Great stuff! Very practical about scheduling for multi children homes.

  5. 1. Don't work/minister based on boundaries (hours, giving, family times, etc), rather, each day intentionally listen and do what the Lord wants you to do. It may be long hours or just eight. It might be menial or very hard. It might be with your family or students. It took me a long time to learn I am ALWAYS to be ministering - just different environments (church or home or friendships).

    2. Enjoy and continue learning. It will be years before you are VERY good at what you do (10,000 hours according to the great leadership book OUTLIERS).

    3. Marry well. More is hinging on this than most twenty year olds think.

    4. Choose a leader you want to follow (Sr Pastor).

    5. Become very proficient at theology, Bible teaching and leadership (three ingredients I think Youth Pastors need).

    Bill Winton

  6. 1. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get yourself out of the way. While you are no doubt incredibly capable, make sure that you leave God room to do what He does best (and better than you). God is the One who transforms lives, not you. Try to remember that it's not about your skill but rather about God's power (that also takes pressure off of you).
    2. Hardly ever do things yourself that one or more of your teens can do. This almost always means having patience and accepting that many times the job will not be done perfectly or even well. Many times you could do the job much better yourself, however, giving them the opportunity to complete the task will help them grow more than anything else. It communicates trust and also gives you opportunities to mentor them individually, explaining why they did well or how they could do better the next time. Leaders are not necessarily born. While some have inherit leadership abilities, they will never have a chance to develop those skills if someone in charge is never willing to let them do a job less than perfectly. Make your students full ministry partners.
    3. It's not just about group relationships, it's about individual relationships as well. Yes, you need to develop your group as a whole, but personal relationships is the best way to accomplish that. Spend time with kids individually while being careful not to seem to have favorites. Most ministry/teaching is not done in front of a class. It's done sitting across the table from one or two students.
    4.Your number one responsibility is to make disciples who are capable of making other disciples. As ministers, it is not our job to save all the lost in our city. It is not our job to help all the poor. It is not our job to teach all the non-Christians. Ephesians 4:11-13 makes it clear that our primary role in God's kingdom is equipping and enabling the saints to do those things.
    5. Admit to yourself that you will never be able to be everything to every student. You're one person and unless you have 10 or less in your group, you will not have the time or physical ability to be everywhere. On top of that, your personality and interests may mean that you just won't connect with some students as well as you would like. That's why it's vital to partner with parents and other adults. Since you can't be there for each student every time and since you can't connect as well as you would like with every student, at least make sure that every student has at least one mentor in their lives who can. Don't try to be Superman. Recruit adults to fill in the gaps.

    The best book I can recommend to young pastors is With Christ in the School of Disciple Building by Carl Wilson