Teaching Student Leaders

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Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting a Student Leadership Workshop. We had three churches come together, with a total of 21 students, and we spent a good part of the day equipping students to become better leaders.

To close the workshop, I borrowed a Habitude from Tim Elmore (click here to read about him). I asked students if they were a thermostat or thermometer.

Thermometers take the temperature of the room and reflect it. They do not control how hot or cold something is, but instead passively reveal the current state.

Thermostats set the temperature of the room. They determine how hot or cold a room is at the moment, and what it will be in the future.

My dream for student leaders is that they realize they have the potential to become a thermostat and set the temperature of the room through their actions, their behaviors, and their interactions with other people.

I love watching student leaders step up and lead. Few things compare with watching teenagers begin to realize they’re not too young to make a difference.

In my own life, I personally would like to become more of a thermostat than a thermometer. What about you?

It’s Okay to Hope

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Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever chosen not to set a New Year’s Resolution?

Have you ever claimed “My New Year’s Resolution is to not have any New Year’s Resolutions”?

A few years ago, I felt guilty for ever getting excited and setting some goals for the new year. It seemed every conversation covering resolutions took on a significantly negative tone. And I bought into it.

Then, I read a blog where someone said they always looked forward to the new year and the hope that it brings.

So, today, I want to take a stab at doing that for you. You may find yourself having given up hope for 2018 based on 2017 as a whole, or in part. Well, it is not too late to change your approach. It is okay to hope.

What if 2018 becomes the year you do something great? What if 2018 becomes the year you accomplish that goal you’ve never seemed to achieve before? What if you have matured as a person to the point where the mistakes you made in your younger days will no longer provide as much resistance as you remember?

Let yourself, for just a moment, find hope and refreshing in the changing of the calendar, even if we are a few days behind.

Pick one thing you’d like to accomplish this year and write it in a place where it will serve as a reminder for you. Stick with it. Keep it in front of you. Pursue it. Achieve it.

Who knows, maybe 2018 will be the best year yet for both of us. I look forward to taking this journey with you.

Lessons Learned about Blogging, Pt. 3

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*This will be my final post for 2017. I look forward to sharing with you even more in 2018!*

I have learned quite a bit about blogging over the past 11 months. Today, I want to share the most important part of what I do.

My blog would not be what it is without you. Whether you just click over and read, or you have commented or sent me an encouraging word: Thank you!

I am always thrilled when someone likes, shares, comments, or even gets in touch with me about anything I’ve written. Hitting “publish” can be a very scary proposition, so all feedback is appreciated.

But most importantly, thank you for reading. Whenever you joined me on this journey, thank you. I plan to keep it up for another 12 months and see where we are next year, but until then…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Confusion Breeds Chaos

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When I was an 8th grader, we didn’t have enough boys in 7th and 8th grade to field a football team, so the school decided to let 6th graders play. This was both good and bad.

It was good because we had enough kids to be able to play football that year, but it was bad because only one of the 6th graders had hit puberty. As a result, we had a historic season, and didn’t win a game.

Towards the end of the season our coach decided to work in a couple trick plays. One play involved some yelling from the sideline that we were using the wrong football, which would result in the center handing the quarterback the football (a legal exchange), the quarterback running toward the sideline as though he were going to trade the football. Just before getting to the coach on the sideline, the quarterback would run up field for what would hopefully be a touchdown and a win.

It didn’t work. The referees said the coach couldn’t yell that from the sideline. But the premise was true: confusion breeds chaos.

If we could get the other team questioning what they knew to be reality, then we could take advantage of the moment and surprise them.

In leadership, the principle applies as well. If the people we lead are unclear as to next steps, or even what we are trying to do, the result is chaos.

As a minister, if the adults who volunteer in my ministry don’t understand the long term goal and vision I set, then we have a team of volunteers who set their own long term goal and vision.

If student leaders don’t understand their role, then they set their own guidelines.

This isn’t master level manipulating. This is learning to sail the ship and getting everyone moving in the same direction.

What part of your leadership is suffering due to confusion? What steps can you take to add some clarity this week?

The Leadership Struggle

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I took a Sunday off last week for the first time in longer than I care to admit. But in so doing, I realized I am not doing a good job of answering the 3rd question (click here to read about the 3 questions–a framework for growing as a leader).

You see, I’m great at understanding what needs to be done and what I can do, but I struggle with inviting others to help along the way.

Thankfully, there were enough people willing to pick up the slack and learn before we left that everything went smoothly (life goes on with or without us!). But, I’m still left with a clear step moving forward: train others. Answer the 3rd question.

I’m actually pretty consistent with asking the 3rd question when it comes to things I struggle with doing, but something I really enjoy, like running the sound board, it’s a lot harder to hand off.

But if I want to allow other people to serve, if I want to develop people who are willing and capable of stepping up, then I have to learn to let go, even of the things I may enjoy doing. Who knows, I may find someone who has more passion than me and can do a better job!

What about you? How are you doing at answering the 3rd question? Are you able to put aside your personal enjoyment for the betterment of other people? What steps do you need to take to let go of something close to you to allow someone else to explore their calling?