Tag: leadership

3 Questions, Leadership Journey

Light Bulb Moments

Light Bulb Moments
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Have you ever had a light bulb moment? Maybe you were driving in your car and a statement from earlier in the day popped into your head, followed by a moment of clarity.

Maybe you’ve been wrestling with an issue for quite some time, then while brushing your teeth, it hit you.

Maybe your light bulb moments come when you exercise, or drive, or shower.

But I think we can all think of a time when we had a breakthrough in our thinking, a moment of unparalleled clarity. From there, you gained clarity, focus, direction, purpose, and possibly even motivation.

I had one of those moments this weekend. Because of a family situation, I ended up taking Sunday off. Normally, when I am going to miss, I make a point to line out the hurdles and get someone to cover all the bases. This weekend, however, I forgot one thing: the sound board.

I am a bit of a sound board nerd. I always tell kids if I wasn’t on staff at a church, I would serve in the sound booth. A few years ago, we were able to upgrade our sound board at church to a really nice board, and I am constantly amazed at the power and capabilities. There is so much to know, and I haven’t gotten around to training someone else to run it. I haven’t brought myself to ask the 3rd question when it comes to the sound booth.

After realizing my shortfall, I sent a text Sunday morning, and then received one right before the service. There was some shuffling, but they were able to get the board to work without a hiccup.

And now my lightbulb moment: Sometimes it’s okay to let go of something I enjoy in order to bring someone alongside and train them to accomplish the same thing. After all, and this is a common mantra here, what if the someone I ask to help actually enjoys it more than me? What if they, and this is hard to fathom because I’m awesome, can do a better job than me?

The question for each of us comes down to this: as a minister, is it my job to do the work of the ministry, or to equip others to do the work of ministry?

Not a minister? Then, the question for you is similar: as a leader, is it your job to accomplish tasks, or to equip those around you to accomplish tasks?

We are better together. It’s okay to ask someone to help.

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Leadership Journey

2 Key Traits for Student Leaders

2 keys
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Have you ever noticed some people look at situations differently than you?

A few years ago, I heard a radio personality talk about how science has proven women and men look at cleanliness differently. Women actually see dirt more easily than men. It’s not that they have some sort of super vision, but their awareness of filth is higher. This means as a husband, I need to adjust my standards of clean in order to be a blessing to my wife.

This happens in developing student leaders as well. So many times, as youth ministers, we fall into the trap of thinking a student has to meet a certain level of leadership ability in order to take on the mantle. But I would disagree.

In fact, as I have been working with student leaders more intensely over the past 3 years, I have noticed 2 criteria which are critical to developing successful student leaders.

1. OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE

I cannot think of a single situation where anyone has led without first making the most of an opportunity. In fact, without opportunity, nothing happens. Where there is no opportunity, there is no movement.

Opportunities are simple, but it may require you changing how you view situations. The old saying goes “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” While the intent behind the saying may be negative, the truth is opportunity opens up when we shift our perception.

Every time you meet with students, there is an opportunity for leadership. My question for you is: are you making the most of the opportunities around you to allow students to grow and develop as leaders.

2. WILLINGNESS TO SERVE

The other part of developing student leaders, and the most critical, is willingness. If a student is not willing to take intentional steps, any effort you exert will be diminished.

A student’s willingness to serve is imperative to their own development. But if you think about it, this concept is a no brainer.

As an adult, if you need to lose weight or cut back on salt, no one else can make that decision for you. It’s a decision you have to make. The people around you can provide opportunities, but it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities.

Students who are willing to serve, are more likely to grow as leaders. Students who are unwilling to serve will hit a ceiling of their own making.

The bottom line is this: if you can find a student who is willing to serve, give them an opportunity to serve and lead, and watch the impact they begin to make!

 

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3 Questions

What if People Want to Help?

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Confession time: I struggle with asking people for help. My biggest hurdle is convincing myself people want to help, even after they are already serving in some capacity.

That’s why I lean on the 3 questions to help me grow as a leader. They serve as a framework and a reminder.

(Side note: if you don’t know what the 3 questions are, please go here and read about them.)

Today, let’s talk about the 3rd question specifically (Who can I get to help?). My thought is simple: What if people actually want to help?

I know not everyone wants to help, and not everyone wants to help with anything you ask (although some may). But in my experience, there are people who are willing to help especially when they are helping in a way that energizes them.

People who love to cook, when asked to cook, are energized by being able to cook.

People who love to build, when asked to build, are energized by being able to build.

People who love to paint, when asked to paint, are energized by being able to paint.

People who love to run sound, when asked to run sound, are energized by running sound.

People who love to work with babies, when asked to serve in the nursery, are energized by serving in the nursery.

Are you starting to see the pattern? It’s there, but it doesn’t stop there. Our role, as ministry leaders, is to find what it is that someone loves to do, and ask them to serve that way. Makes sense, right?

Over the years one of the most defeating things I’ve encountered is having requests for help being met with no. Sometimes, it has been because the person hasn’t wanted to serve, but sometimes it was because I was asking the right question to the wrong person.

So, today, what if people really want to help? Are you asking the right person to accomplish the right thing? Are you asking the right question? Or, is the fear of “no” causing you not to ask at all?

One last thought: for those who work with students. There is incredible value in teaching students to ask and answer the 3 questions, teaching them to grow as leaders early in life by simply exerting influence. But there’s also incredible opportunity to find students who are willing to serve and giving them an opportunity to do just that, because after all, what if students are willing to help?

 

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Big Picture

Take Time to Unwind

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Years ago, I remember traveling over a holiday break with my new wife (the same one I have currently). I remember where we were exactly on the road to my hometown as I shared with her my passion about some ministry ideas I had recently discovered. It was a pivotal moment for me in my early ministry, and a topic about which I was extremely passionate.

This week, as we traveled again, our conversation was slightly different. Okay, not slightly. Instead of ministry theories, I was serenaded by my wife and daughters to the soundtrack of Annie. It is a hard knock life, after all, for our family in our fully functioning gas guzzler, but let’s save that thought for another time. We still talked about life and about ministry, but I wouldn’t trade my in-car-musical for the world.

Instead, my challenge to you this week is simple: unwind.

Not every moment this week has to be filled with a discussion about ministry or next steps or leadership development. Enjoy a conversation about sports, or weather, or life, or anything besides your roles and responsibilities this week.

Thanksgiving is only two days away, so mentally prepare yourself to be present with the people around you. Unplug from distractions and pay attention to those around you this week.

Not to get too agricultural on you, but even the best wheat field needs a break from being grazed to recover. The same is true for you and me.

Take a break this week, even if it’s for one day. It’s worth it, trust me.

 

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Leadership Journey

3 People Who Need a Note From You

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Hey, you there. You reading this. I’m talking to you. Today’s post isn’t a pie in the sky theoretical thing. It’s a nuts and bolts post. Aimed directly at Student Pastors, but applicable to anyone in leadership.

Did you know the most read post on my blog in 2017 was about taking time to say thank you? I think most people resonate with the challenge of thanking people around us, but find it difficult to make it a regular part of our routine.

On Tuesday, I posted about the effectiveness of hand written notes and challenged you to write one note. Well, today, let’s look at three different types of people who need a note from you.

Your Youth Workers and Volunteers

These people are the real heroes of youth ministry. Their role is crucial to any success or growth you may experience. Don’t believe me? Try serving in a church where you cannot pay a volunteer to show up versus a church where you’re able to establish a 1 adult to 3 students ratio–the difference is staggering.

Take time to show your appreciation for these incredible people who work full time jobs and volunteer their time. Write them all a note at one time, or tell yourself you’re going to write one or two each week. Whatever it takes.

Your Students

You may not have continual contact with students, but you can make their day by sending them a note. One story in particular comes to mind: I sent a note to a student when she was in 8th grade, just to let her know I was praying for her. Around five years later, we were visiting while she was home from college, and she told me she still had that note. You never know what a student might need to hear, or just being reminded that you’re praying for them.

Your Family

I alluded to this previously, but if I can make my daughters feel special with a note, why wouldn’t I do that? The same is true for my wife and my family. You may not have children or even a spouse, but I bet you have family of some sort that would love to get a note from you. Write a thank you or a “thinking of you” note to an aunt or uncle who played a significant role in your life and you’ll have the chance to be a blessing to them.

 

So, there you go. Pick a category, and write another note today. It’s worth the time it will take to write, trust me!

 


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