Tag: Decisions

Sit Down. Stand Up. Follow Me.

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Leadership is instinctual. I’m at Pre-Teen Camp this week and saw something remarkable one night during worship.

Following the sermon, we started singing again. I was sitting behind a group of boys who were standing and singing. After one song, I watched as one boy sat down. Slowly, and one by one, the other three boys all sat down.

Then, once the next song began, the first boy stood up, and slowly, one by one, the other boys stood back up.

Leadership influence happens with a group of pre teens as much as it does for adults or teenagers.

Our challenge, as people who are looking to develop leaders around us, is to help students (and adults) develop an awareness of the opportunities to lead, and to help them cultivate a willingness to make a difference.

Who can you develop around you? Who are the students who naturally have people follow them? What about the student who just has a great heart and needs some guidance?

Leadership is not reserved for a select group of chosen people. If that were the case, I would never have qualified.

Instead, everyone has leadership influence. My goal, and I’m guessing yours, too, is to teach anyone who is willing how to make the most of their opportunities.

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

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Have you ever seen The Matrix? You know, the Keanu Reeves movies from the late 90s and early 2000s where the world as we know it is all a computer program.

Over the course of the movie Neo (Reeves) discovers he’s been living a lie. Everything he thinks is real is only a computer generated illusion. Through a course of actions he “wakes up” in the real world–a place significantly more hopeless and destitute.

After “waking up”, Neo hacks back into the Matrix for some training. His clothes have changed, his hair has changed, even the ports that were present on his body are no longer there. This is called, if I remember correctly, his residual self image. It’s what he thinks he looks like, or what he chooses to look like.

We all have a similar problem. We have a residual self image we want others to see and believe about us. You have one. I have one.

As we seek to recognize leadership potential in students (or even adults), part of our task is to look past the residual self image a student projects, and discern what lies beneath.

It’s not cool to be a servant leader, but when you see that glimpse of humility, bells should be going off.

For me, those bells are a wonderful thing. I love seeing the potential in a student and learning to navigate the waters of what is currently and what could be in the future.

Are you looking past the residual self image of those around you? Are you starting to notice the potential? Do you know how to start developing that potential? (Click here to read the approach I take.)

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The Simplicity of 3QL

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The genesis of my blogging adventure began with a simple concept: sharing three questions I started teaching students leaders to ask and answer in an attempt to expand their leadership influence.

If you’re new to 3QL, I would encourage you to go check out the Foundation to see a short summary of the namesake for this endeavor. Go ahead, this post will wait for you.

The abbreviated version boils down to this: When you walk into a room (or encounter a situation in general), ask yourself…

  1. What needs to be done? (Awareness)
  2. What can I do? (Willingness)
  3. Who can I get to help? (Leadership)

Lately I’ve been reflecting on the simplicity of the questions. Asking and answering the questions opens doors we could never imagine, but the three questions are also counter intuitive.

One of the easiest lies to buy into is that leadership belongs to those at the front (of the line, of the organization, of the room). But we all have seen the impact someone can have on a room from a seat that’s not the front.

So leadership is not limited to the front. John Maxwell’s second law of leadership is “The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership is Influence – Nothing More, Nothing Less.” When we grow our influence, we grow our leadership.

The same is true in Youth Ministry (and life in general). When we teach students (or anyone) to ask and answer the three questions, what we are doing is preparing them to make an impact where they are.

If you’re reading this today, let me issue a challenge. A student doesn’t have to pay dues before having influence. Granted, there are benefits to life experience, but the gamble we take in Youth Ministry is waiting too long to provide leadership opportunities.

Don’t wait. Develop leaders regardless of their age. You never know what may happen. Pour into your older students, but also be willing to pour into and invest in your younger students as well. When you build a balance, you’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll begin to notice.

And if you’re not sure where to start, get a group of students with hearts of a servant, teach them the three questions, and ask them how they answered the questions. You’ll be amazed at what begins to happen.

Check It Out: A Lesson from a Busy Street

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Leadership development is a journey, to say the least. As we spend this week packing our house to move to a new leadership journey, I thought I would share a post from 2017 about one of the realities of developing leaders around us. Click here to see what we can learn from a student driver trying to parallel park.

Here’s a clip:

Yesterday, after making a hospital visit, I sat in my suburban and watched as a student driver tried to parallel park two spots in front of me. (If it had been the spot directly in front of me, I may not have been as patient.)
The car pulled up, waited for a while, then slowly started backing up. Every passing car on the busy street caused greater hesitation, and I could sense the anxiety of the driver from where I sat.

Go check it out today!

Never Assume

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We have all been there: we make a decision about someone (their willingness or unwillingness to do something), and then are surprised when they contradict our expectations. The surprise can be good or bad, but it is a surprise either way.

The reality is we can rarely know exactly how someone is going to respond, but for people with whom we have experience, we can anticipate a response. (Here’s a post about not letting someone’s character surprise you.)

Today, I want to go a little different route. Sometimes we compare ourselves to people around us as a way to denigrate our own creativity or ability. I have a youth minister friend who feels they are not as experienced or “good” as others in our circle, but the reality is their combination of experience, creativity, and passion makes them perfectly unique!

When we assume the people around us are doing the things we are doing, we are neglecting a simple truth: people are wired differently. What comes naturally to one, may not come naturally to another. But we will never know unless we ask.

There is something you do naturally that few people find easy, and there is something with which you struggle that other people may find easy. This is lived out in my children: one daughter loves to read and has to work in math, while the other has to work in reading and loves math.

I have two suggestions for you today: First, embrace your strength. What makes you, you? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to accomplish?

Second, help someone else discover what they do naturally. There is someone in your list of contacts, who is walking through the day defeated because they do not realize they are naturally gifted at something. Take on a role to help them discover that today (or the rest of this week).

Make a difference in someone else’s life today.

 

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