Category: In the Trenches

In the Trenches

The Leadership Secret

Unfinished Puzzle
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Can I confess something? Few things frustrate me more than when someone operates with a belief that I know something I do not. 

It happens more often than I care to admit. I get into a conversation and someone has information they think is common knowledge, but they do not realize I have not been informed of the key piece of information, thus losing me before the conversation begins.

Can I confess something else? I wrestle with this in myself all the time. 

Honestly, I do. Am I holding someone else to an expectation they have no way of knowing they are being held to? Am I expecting people around me to live up to my standards because they know what my standards are, or because they should just know. I mean, really, my pet peeves are everyone else’s pet peeves, right?

I think letting ourselves fall into the trap of the leadership secret is one of the hidden roadblocks of effective leadership. 

The leadership secret bases decisions, actions, and attitudes solely on information the people around you have no way of knowing, and then expecting them to respond as if they know.

The leadership secret happens when someone, behind closed doors, behaves in a way we never expected, but in front of others never shows that side. So we begin to think less of people who respect the person, even though they would have never seen the other side.

The leadership secret happens when we know someone is struggling and watch as people mercilessly attack them for something separate, and then work ourselves up to defend them, all the while expecting everyone to know what we know, without us telling them.

I am not advocating gossip, or even being a megaphone for secrets. Instead, I am advocating taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask: “Do they know what I know?” In doing so, maybe we learn to deal with people individually.

There’s another side to the leadership secret, though. There are times in leadership when information needs to be communicated. This is a very delicate line to walk. I am by nature a very private person, so I tend to bristle when someone shares something about me I did not approve. But the truth of the matter is sometimes the battle we (or someone else) is fighting needs to be made known.

As a body of believers, one of our goals is to love and challenge people to grow. Sometimes, this is done by surrounding them and helping them move forward.

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In the Trenches

4 Tips for a Great Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Tips
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With the Super Bowl fast approaching, there are a few things we can count on:

1. Cowboys fans are left thinking next year is our year (finally).

2. Patriots fans getting ready to cheer their team on, or claiming they needed a break from the Super Bowl.

3. Youth Ministers’ mental wheels are turning trying to plan the big party.

I have been in youth ministry long enough that I remember when, as a church, we had to invite people to our “Big Game” party, because we were infringing on the NFL. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore.

But one thing I do know, from having done Super Bowl parties over the years: there are a few key elements that make a great party. Here are my two cents.

  1. Embrace the Variety – I know this may not come as a surprise, but the focus of the game is not always the game. The commercials are a draw for some, whereas you will have other people show up just for the fellowship and time together. That’s okay, embrace the variety. 
  2. Keep the Atmosphere Engaging – I have done parties at a house with a pool table, so we had an 8 Ball tournament running concurrently with the game. We have asked students to predict scores quarter by quarter before the game starts, and given away a candy bar to the student who is the closest after each quarter, and a little bigger prize for the winning prediction. Have some board games at a table toward the back of the room. Whatever you can do to keep the atmosphere engaging is almost always a win.
  3. Great Snacks – What good is a Super Bowl party with out great snacks? I don’t know about you, but there are a few people in our church who do a great job with snacks, so be sure to ask them to join or to just bring a snack. One of my favorite Super Bowl memories is making stuffed jalapeño’s with a kid before everyone showed up. We had a blast prepping food, and even more fun eating it! Don’t forget…Of course creativity counts, but taste matters. Don’t show up with a football shaped platter of vegetables without dip (except this year, as I’m trying to watch what I eat).
  4. Find Resources – Here are two Super Bowl resources I think you should at least be aware of: 
    • Jonathan McKee’s Super Bowl Quiz – this is great for the kids who show up and haven’t watched a snap of football all year. It takes some attention on your part, but something to definitely consider! He will usually post about the week of the big game.
    • Football Sunday – Whether you use this as an alternative to half time, or find another time to show it, it’s worth checking out!

Finally, one of the questions that comes up the most: Do I give a devotion or not? The answer is up to you, but here’s my suggestion: If you do, keep it short and pause the game. You can resume the feed after your devotion, and use the random local car dealer commercials as a chance to make up lost time. But those commercials don’t come until around the end of halftime and the slow part of the 3rd quarter. You’re not going to recover 10 minutes.

The bottom line for all of this, though, is to have fun. Enjoy time together, and be gracious to the kid rooting for the team that’s losing–they’re emotionally invested and that’s okay.

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