Leadership in itself can be a stick situation. The temptation is to always think someone else is going to step up, but a strong leader is able to realize when the situation calls for someone to step up who wouldn’t normally be expected to do so.
Think of it like this: when i was a freshman in high school, i was one of the oldest kids in the ministry. As a result, my attitude toward how old a teenager has to be to lead has been altered.
The temptation in youth ministry is to wait until a student is a junior or a senior to give them leadership responsibilities, because they’re older and more mature by that time. And that makes sense.
For me, however, I want a kid who is willing to step up and make a difference, regardless of age. Sometimes this means we have 8th graders on our leadership team, other times it means we have mostly high school.
Part of my role, as a leader who seeks to develop other leaders, leads me to encourage younger students to step up to a role they may not think they fit.
The same idea applies to you: you are going to be presented with opportunities to step into a position for which you may not think you are ready. Too often, however, leadership opportunities arise because we are willing, not because we are ready.
Are you willing to step up? What situation are you facing that feels like you’re on the edge of a cliff trying to build the courage to jump? What’s holding you back? What fear do you need to give up? Why have you not given your fear up yet?
A couple weeks ago we were on the back end of our youth room remodel, and our deadline (Wednesday night) was approaching fast. I was spending the majority of my time that week trying to rearrange, clean up, and reassemble the room. I had both of my daughters with me to help, but that was not working the way I hoped.
Then, a light bulb came on. As my oldest daughter was asking what she needed to do next, I did something I have not done yet: I asked her to answer the first 2 questions (Click here for the explanation of the 3 questions). I helped her as she looked around the room to see what needed to be done, and then helped her see what she could do.
Now, I have said before that I do not sit my daughters down and make them listen to me lecture on the 3 Questions, but earlier this summer I did let my oldest sit in one of my talks on them. She was excited about the idea of it, so our conversation in the youth room was not out of place.
What happened next was great. We were able to accomplish more because she was not interrupting me every time she finished a task. She was learning to trust herself and ask the questions, and I was encouraging her along the way.
The 3 Questions are simple. Some people take to them naturally. Others, it takes a little more effort, but it can happen. The key is in the repetition, the redundancy.
If you are trying to learn to ask the 3 questions personally, hang in there. It takes time, but it can make all the difference in the world.
If you are trying to teach the 3 questions, stick with it. When someone embraces the possibilities, the results are amazing. It will take time, but push through and see what happens.
I’m cheering for you and your leadership today.
On July 10, 2018, the Cleveland Indians had an unfortunate situation arise. The Manager, Terry Francona, walked out to the mound in the 9th inning to call in a relief pitcher for the closer, and the wrong pitcher walked out of the bullpen. You can read more about what happened here.
Yesterday, as I was listening to a podcast interview with Francona, he was asked about the situation. His response was incredible: It was my fault…I felt bad for Otero (the pitcher who came into the game). I feel bad that we put him in that spot.
Here is a Major League manager who admitted his mistake. There was a breakdown in communication (OP and OT do sound remarkably similar), and it cost the team the win.
Francona, however, still takes full responsibility.
So, what can we learn from this? Leadership means we will make decisions which impact those around us. Sometimes, those decisions are the right call at the right time, but others times the decisions we make lead to embarrassment for other people. It was Otero, after all, that stood on the mound and pitched, not Francona.
Is there a situation taking place in your life right now where you are dealing with the fallout of putting the wrong person in the wrong situation? If not, buckle down, because that day is coming.
I have heard interviews with business leaders who talk about how much money making the wrong hire will cost a company, and have seen similar setbacks over my years in ministry.
So, what do you do as a leader when you make a mistake? Check back on Thursday for part 2!
What are you good at? I mean, what are you really good at? What is something you enjoy doing? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to understand?
I enjoy running sound at my church. I may not be really good at the nuts and bolts, ironing out frequencies, but I understand the concepts of running sound.
The same goes for running presentation software on the computer. I know how the programs work, am willing to learn what I do not know, and enjoy doing it.
At camp last week, however, I had a moment. One of my roles at camp was to oversee the sound booth, but we took a different approach. This year, instead of the person in charge of the sound booth doing both parts, I oversaw students who took the responsibilities.
That means, every time we gathered for a service, two high school students were making everything happen.
One student, in charge of the sound board, turned mics on and off, adjusted levels, and made sure what was coming out of the speakers was exactly what needed to be coming out of the speakers.
The other student, in charge of the computer, displayed the lyrics for songs, played videos, and controlled the screen games.
These may not sound like impressive roles, but there are plenty of people who would not know how to do them.
The struggle for me, however, was letting go. In my role overseeing them, it was tempting to step in and take a more active role, but I did not. I kept reminding myself they will never grow if I do everything for them. This does not mean I did not correct or direct. I let them feel the freedom to make choices and I tried to help them understand the reasoning behind things I would do differently.
Now, these two teenagers have experience, and subsequently confidence, because of the time they spent in the sound booth. Next time around, they will be even more willing and equipped.
Leadership means learning to let go. As I stepped back and let these kids (who serve in these roles at their churches already) serve, they grow because of it. As a result, I grow as well.
As I said at the beginning, I enjoy doing those things. But if I want my leadership influence to grow, I have to learn to let go and let others make the most of opportunities. Ultimately, three people grew because of what happened in the sound booth last week, and that’s a win for leadership.
As I mentioned last week, I had the opportunity to direct a leadership camp. The general structure of that leadership camp looks like this: a combination of leadership instruction, relationship investing, and real life leadership experience.
The real life leadership experience comes in the form of leading rec for the camp each day. We had 12 kids who stepped up and did an incredible job all week.
The final day ended with a massive color war. Every kid and sponsor at camp had the opportunity to get a packet of color powder and participate in a massive color battle. It was quite amusing to watch from a distance.
Our leadership principle today, however, comes not from the color war, but from afterwards. We had run some relays prior to the color war, and our supplies were still out. After the commotion had almost completely died down, I saw one of the boys from the leadership camp, covered in a myriad of color powder, walking to the relay stations and picking up supplies.
I never specifically told him we needed to pick up supplies. He did not come to ask if there was anything that needed to be done. He was able to assess the situation and decide what he should do next.
As a result of his picking up supplies, a few other kids saw it and started doing the same. He created a movement simply with his actions.
As a leader, sometimes we need to be reminded that even though we may look like a package of skittles exploded on us, there’s still work to be done.
Take a moment today. Look around and ask yourself what needs to be done, then do it. If possible, invite someone to join you for the task. But never be afraid to step up to take care of that which needs to be done.